© The Japan Times
Troubling memories of the
I am troubled by some of the stories in the
press recently about the atomic bombings of Japan at the end of World War II,
and I worry that the further World War II fades into the mist of history, the
more the voices that portray Japan as a victim of that war and the United States
as a "war criminal" will drown out the truth.
Though the U.S.
is often looked at as a villain for using nuclear weapons, Japan and Germany
were also trying to develop nuclear weapons during the war – to use against the
U.S. For better or worse, the U.S. won that nuclear-weapons
Before an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the
Japanese were clearly warned by the U.S. that if they did not stop fighting the
war Japan was liable to face complete destruction. Rather than surrendering
though, an army of 28 million Japanese was training to stop an allied invasion
with nothing but bamboo spears.
Many people suggest the U.S.
should have blockaded Japan instead of using nuclear weapons, but many Japanese
were already starving at the time, and a blockade would have only caused more
Despite the fact that a good argument can be made
for the U.S. using nuclear weapons on Japan, Americans tend to be quick to
express remorse about the atomic bombings (as well as the internment of Japanese
Americans during the war). The Japanese, however, tend to cover up their
responsibility for atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking and the Bataan Death
March. With the foreign apologists for Japanese aggression and critics of U.S.
bombing to stop it growing stronger in recent years, Japan's denial of reality
is becoming more and more contagious.
I am worried about how
future generations will examine the past.