Ja­pan must apol­o­gize for World War II un­til it is for­given: nov­el­ist Mu­rakami

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Ja­pan must re­peat­edly say sorry to China, Korea and the other coun­tries it in­vaded in the 20th cen­tury un­til its for­mer vic­tims have heard the apol­ogy enough, nov­el­ist Haruki Mu­rakami has said.

“The is­sue of his­tor­i­cal un­der­stand­ing car­ries great sig­nif­i­cance, and I be­lieve it is im­por­tant that Ja­pan makes straight­for­ward apolo­gies,” he told Ky­odo News in an in­ter­view in Tokyo ear­lier this month.

“I think that is all Ja­pan can do — apol­o­gize un­til the coun­tries say: ‘We don’t nec­es­sar­ily get over it com­pletely, but you have apol­o­gized enough. Al- right, let’s leave it now.’”

Mu­rakami, one of Ja­pan’s best known writ­ers who has re­peat­edly been tipped as a fu­ture No­bel Lit­er­a­ture lau­re­ate, has of­ten chided his coun­try for shirk­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for its World War II ag­gres­sion.

His re­marks come as the world watches what Ja­pan’s con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe will say in a state­ment ex­pected to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the end of WWII this sum­mer.

Ob­servers are fo­cus­ing on whether Abe will make di­rect ref­er­ence to Ja­pan’s “colo­nial rule and ag­gres­sion” and ex­press an “apol­ogy,” as pre­vi­ous premiers did on the 50th and 60th an­niver­saries.

Abe, a stri­dent na­tion­al­ist, wants Ja­pan to have what he says is a less masochis­tic view of its his­tory, but has caused waves by quib­bling over the def­i­ni­tion of “in­vade” and has pro­voked ire by down­play­ing wartime sex slav­ery.

While many of its for­mer foes have moved past the en­mity of last cen­tury, Ja­pan is reg­u­larly lam­basted by Bei­jing and Seoul for a per­ceived fail­ure to atone for the past, and for be­ing un­will­ing to “face his­tory squarely.”

With­out re­fer­ring di­rectly to Abe or his up­com­ing state­ment, Mu­rakami said: “Apol­o­giz­ing is noth­ing to feel em­bar­rassed about.”

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