17 August 2015

A few things to remember…

… in light of the recent careful non-apology by one Mr. Shinzo Abe, and the resulting whataboutery which will inevitably be aimed at China (which was, at the time of the Japanese war crimes in question, led by Jiang Jieshi and not by Mao Zedong).

A few hard facts about Japan during and after the Second World War:
  • According to Werner Gruhl’s recent estimates (2007), Japan slaughtered over 20 million civilians in the Pacific Theatre of WWII, including 13 million Chinese people, 1.5 million Indochinese, 500,000 Koreans, 3 million Dutch East Indians, 500,000 Filipinos, 170,000 Burmese and 100,000 Malays. Unlike Rummel’s estimates of the same, Gruhl’s exhaustive statistical analysis takes into account civilian deaths from the beginnings of the Manchukuo puppet government in 1931 to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, as well as those which occurred during the war itself.
  • Among other Japanese war crimes were abduction into sex slavery, mass rape, forced labour in concentration camps, grotesque human experimentation, torture and numerous other heinous crimes. (Links contain graphic content; you have been warned, gentle readers.)
  • The vast majority of the Japanese military men who were suspected of carrying out war crimes were either not brought to trial or were pardoned by the occupying American forces. General MacArthur refused to prosecute the men responsible for Unit 731 because he wanted their biological and chemical weapons research, much of which turned out to be useless. Other Japanese war criminals were granted a presidential pardon from Harry S. Truman himself in 1952.
  • Kishi Nobusuke was one of those pardoned in 1952, being one of Tojo’s closest deputies, a notorious drug lord and money launderer in China and a suspect of Class-A war crimes. He went on to found the Liberal Democratic Party, an unbelievably corrupt corporatist political machine whose ideology since its origins has been focussed on rearmament and reassertion of an ‘autonomous foreign policy’.
In light of these facts, the entire prime ministry of Shinzo Abe, and in particular the emphasis on rearmament, coming out of a party founded by a war-crimes suspect which housed a significant number of acquitted war criminals, is very rightly a cause of major concern for those people in East Asia (particularly China and South Korea) who don’t want to see another bloody war break out.

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