The world is changing and the balance of power in that part of the world is moving in the direction of China. I don’t have a problem with Japan changing the constitution as long as the people are more willing to take a stand against their leaders when neccessary.
I think the Japanese people of today are much more advanced in their thinking than their grandparents. They must be, otherwise Mishima would have succeeded, but noone wanted to follow him. Things have changed to some extent.
At the same time there are power structures in Japan that never were dismantled, because of the cold war. Like Otoko said Abe’s grandson of a war criminal.
I remember a couple of years ago a Japanese politician questioned the of correctness of calling “the rape of Nanking” a rape. He said it was perhaps too harsh of a term. He was actually starting to get support for his view. Until the emporers cousin stepped up and said words to the effect of, hold on, I was a soldier in the army that went into Nanking, I participated in what happened, to call it a rape is an understatement.
I see the renaming of Iwo Jima as part of a trend to rename aspects of the war (like the rape of Nanking)that show the Japanese political leadership in a bad light. For people to blame Clint Eastwood or John Wayne for Iwo Jima becoming known shows a complete lack of understanding of Japans conduct in the war.
It also shows that people in japan are thinking that since a lot of time has passed and peoples memories aren’t what they used to becase a lot of the veterans are dying, maybe they can start rewriting history.
This is very dangerous, the Chinese certainly haven’t forgotten. In China they still have outbreaks of extremely virilant plague that was developed and used as a weapon by the Imperial army, in world war two.
With people in China still being killed today by the Japanese armies actions, hatred of the Japanese is a major nationalist rallying point. Stirring up nationalism is a way for the communists to hang onto power.
If China were to invade Taiwan they would be killing other Chinese so it might not play so well domestically. Japan on the other hand would be payback.
There is a difference in how the history of how the war is taught between America and Japan. Old Japanese war veterans don’t talk much about what they did in the war, which is understandable.
In the community I grew up in one of the local veterans was the captain of the Enola Gay. For a long time he would to go into the local high school and talk about what happened.
I am sure that there is a disconnect between what the average Japanese thinks and the politicians. We have that here in America also. At the same time however there are cultural differences which are worrying.
The American founding fathers considered it a citizens duty to be outspoken and to protest against governmental abuse of power. In Japan people are so polite that they will just go along with what their government says, I’ll give you an example.
In Japan the police have over a ninety nine percent conviction rate on people they arrest. People in America are impressed when they hear that figure. They wonder what are the Japanese police doing that to get that high a conviction rate when the American figure is so much lower.
A reporter went over to Japan and investigated to see what lessons could be learned and bring some of them back here because American police don’t have anywhere near that kind of conviction rate.
What they learned is this. In Japan when someone is arrested by the police one of the first things the accused is expected to do is sign a written, formal apology. When the case comes to court the police are allowed to use the apology as evidence of guilt. Quite often this the only evidence the police have.
If someone doesn’t sign an apology the police are allowed to hold them until they do. The reporters showed one man who had spent seventeen years in a holding cell because he said “I didn’t do the crime so I refuse to apologize”. With a reporter there asking the police do you have any evidence they were so embarassed to admit that they didn’t, they let the guy go.
You have got to love the Japansese, they are such polite, respectful orderly people. But damn there is a limit to what people should put up with from their government.
It’s unforunate, but the Japanese do have an extreme amount of patience and forgiveness for bad leadership.