The Chinese have very long memories, and with Japanese Ministers publicly visiting this shrine, the Japanese make it harder for anyone to forget some of the things they did during the Rape of Nanjing, when 550,000 of the inhabitants were put to death by the Japanese Imperial Army.
There are people still alive today, in this country, who can recall the horrors of the Bataan march and what was done in the prisoner of war camps to people who should have been at least protected by the Geneva Convention.
The Japanese were brought into the Second World War by an American oil embargo with the connivance of the UK and Holland, so indirectly there is shared responsibility for what subsequently followed even though that aspect of history is airbrushed out of what is taught in schools in the West.
Pearl Harbour was not the surprise it is still made out to be because for years before, at West Point, budding American generals and lower ranking officers were given exercises in which they had to think up America’s defensive position in the event of just such an attack.
Since Japan has to import oil because it has none of its own, the oil embargo was an act of war and from that point on Japan invoked its Bushido spirit and proceeded to expand its Empire and commit terrible atrocities in the process.
With the global population at 7 billion and rising and with most of us living in cities, we cannot afford a 3rd World War, and by constantly inflaming tensions in this way a war could easily begin in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the Spratleys where there is oil and in any number of other places.
The Chinese hold much of America’s debt and it is essential for all of us that China remains open to trade and open to dialogue.
“Tweaking the dragon’s tail” is not wise and the Japanese by doing so are creating hostages to fortune, not only for themselves but for the rest of us.
In the same way, we should not encourage groups of former SS men to go to shrines of their own in Europe and parade about in their uniforms, America needs to lean heavily on the Japanese in private and get them to stop these needless provocations, concentrate on economic development and trade.
Modern Japan probably needs to leave Imperial Japan to the history books.
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