Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Words cannot see - Abe's Pearl Harbor

Kazuhiko Kuwata 
Views Of War Museum Directors Split Over Abe's Pearl Harbor Visit

Tokyo, Dec. 29 (Jiji Press)--The directors of three museums focusing on war history in Japan expressed different views on Wednesday about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday.

Kazushige Todaka, the 68-year-old director of the Kure Maritime Museum, better known as Yamato Museum, in the western prefecture of Hiroshima, described Abe's visit as "very good." "It was meaningful that the leaders of Japan and the United States together mourned for the victims" of the 1941 Japanese attack on the Hawaiian harbor, Todaka said.

He supported the absence of an apology for the attack in Abe's speech delivered in Pearl Harbor, saying that "people can't blame one side or the other for a war that requires reflection, not apology." Abe's Pearl Harbor visit was "remarkable in terms of history," Todaka said.

Katsumoto Saotome, the 84-year-old director of the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage, in Japan's capital, expressed concerns over the emphasis on the Japan-U.S. alliance in Abe's speech, terming it "a military alliance." The words "tolerance" and "reconciliation," both used in Abe's speech, sounded "hollow," Saotome said, referring to the Japanese government's resumption on Tuesday of work to build a new military facility in Okinawa Prefecture to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station there.

"I think apologies to people in China and the Korean Peninsula, which Japan invaded and colonized, should be made first," added Saotome, who also works as a novelist.

"I felt (Abe's visit) was like a ceremony, themed 'reconciliation without apology,' jointly organized by Japan and the United States," said Seiichiro Kuboshima, the 75-year-old director of a gallery that collects artworks by students who died in war, in Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, central Japan[Mugonkan or Silent Museum]

"The fundamental contradiction of avoiding an apology led to words with no power," Kuboshima said, referring to Abe's Pearl Harbor speech.

"Japan could join a war for the United States," he warned. Abe "lacked a humble attitude" after Japan made the mistake of supporting World War II in the past, he added.

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