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[P]
Could Japan raise a signifigant military again?

By wmage in News
Wed May 02, 2001 at 08:39:36 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's new Prime Minister wants to make major changes to rejuvenate a stagnant Japan. Among the changes his allies propose is a rewrite of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, the article that restricts the size of the Japanese military and prevents Japan from declaring war.


This story is mostly about political turbulence that exists in Japan now, but the possibility that Japan could reinstate its military could be conservatively described as an interesting new variable in the world dynamic.

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Poll
A rewrite of Article 9 of Japan's Constitution:
o Is the right thing for Japan 33%
o Is the wrong thing for Japan 26%
o Scares me 30%
o Huh? 8%

Votes: 71
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Could Japan raise a signifigant military again? | 121 comments (113 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
I like that article... (4.28 / 7) (#1)
by skim123 on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:02:36 AM EST

Don't know if it's the Engrish or what, exactly, but the article reads like Japan's political system is controlled by ... how shall I put it ... the mob, or the military, or something of that nature. Granted, perhaps their jargon is just different - what we call the House Minority Leader, they call a "faction boss," but still... After all, for all his upcoming challenges, Mr. Koizumi is admittedly ready to "grit [his] teeth and face it." Some quotes:

"[Mr. Koizumi] offered the job to Mr. Hiranuma, without first seeking the permission of his faction bosses..."

"... his enemies do not dare do anything too obvious to thwart him and they are under as much scrutiny as he is."

"Still, the faction leaders have been left with little if any means of avenging themselves..."

Mr. Koizumi himself is preparing for a fight. 'There may be fierce resistance,' he acknowledged last week. 'But I must grit my teeth and face it.'"

Sorta like being gay: you're walking around, you know something's up, you just don't know what it is yet.

LDP Politics (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by Austin Ku on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:21:29 AM EST

Well, in this case it's not the Engrish, the Jargon and political structure are slightly different. The Liberal Democratic Party(LDP) (currently in a 3 party coalition), is split up into various "factions" grouped around various politicians. The Japanese word for this is "habatsu" and this structure has been drawing some fire from the press these days.

The factions have influence in inernal party politics, for example the candidates that ran against Mr. Koizumi in the recent election for the head spot in the LDP, and consiquently the Prime Minister, all came from different factions.


"Never frighten a small man. He'll kill you." --Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]

They have one (4.33 / 9) (#2)
by onyxruby on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:09:44 AM EST

Japan already has a significant military. They spend a rather large amount on their military and train religiously to maintain peak readiness. For 98/99 they spent $42.9 Billion on their military.

The question isn't if they could raise a significant military, the question is if they could ever get their constitution changed. I would feel more comfortable if they had ever apologized for WWII. (Comment not meant as Japan bashing - I intend to learn their language, find their culture fascinating, and want to work their someday.)

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

never happen (4.28 / 7) (#7)
by Seumas on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:27:31 AM EST

Japan would never apologize for WWII. Why should they? We Americans are all too eager to blubber and cry and sacrifice our newborn children for their forgiveness over Hiroshima to bother even proposing the laying of guilt or responsibility for them drawing us into the war.

However, whether or not they apologize has little bearing on what they'll do militarily. They could just as easily apologize today and bomb the hell out of us tomorrow as they could not apologize today and never declare war as any act of aggression again.

It would be very much against their own interest to enter a major war with any power in the world. They are dependant far too much on the global economy -- as we are upon theirs.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

apologise? (3.35 / 14) (#8)
by enterfornone on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:28:52 AM EST

i'm sure they'll do that around the same time the US apologise for killing hundreds of thousands of japanese civilians.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Not to turn this into a childish game, but (3.57 / 7) (#9)
by finkployd on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:38:43 AM EST

They started it

:)

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
well.. (4.77 / 9) (#21)
by tokage on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:30:54 AM EST

It's not like -all- of Japan, or all of Germany wanted to be at war. You can't always group the policies of dictators and warmongers with that desired by the general populace. It seems to just escalate up somehow, before you know it the whole nation has no choice but to go along with the program. I guess it's mostly due to fear, fear of what'll happen to you if you don't take part in what's going on, fear of punishment etc. We truly are a civilization ruled by fear, it would seem. Even in America and other more 'civlized' countries, we conform to the rules by fear of punishment, fear of being ostracized.

Anyway, getting back to my original thought, it is a horrible thing to launch a device which causes such devastation, regardless of the rationale. Sure, in theory launching the bomb may have ended the war earlier and saved more lives than were lost. Tell that to the men, women, children who spent months slowly dying from radiation sickness, their hair falling out in clumps, their bodies slowly decaying in the most painful manner. We do the most horrible things to ourselves, for the most inane reasons. The illusion of power, control, the arrogance to believe you can decide for an entire nation's populace, force them into a war, or even a way of thinking and hold them in check by fear. If there is a Hell, may all the leaders who make these decisions go.

It's almost ironic, petty dictators seizing power, controlling their denizens by fear and violence, yet they themselves are always full of fear. Scared to have power, scared to lose power, scared of someone wresting it from them by force. It's a damnable trait of human nature, that when amoral people rise up to rule, others will cower under their reign. Of course, benevolent leadership also goes astray for various reasons. Part of the whole package of being social creatures, perhaps, something of a herd mentality. In any event, it is the political and martial leaders who owe the people they caused to suffer an apology, not the civilians who died because of their leaders' decisions. Read Sadako and the Thousand Cranes, then tell me who owes the world an apology. Examples of this behavior are rampant, even currently. The nations in Africa, various countries in the Middle East, Asia still experience grave injustices on a daily basis. Ignorant, short sighted dictators ruling and they are allowed to reign by their own people, controlled by fear and violence.


I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red
[ Parent ]

Weapons of Mass Destruction. (4.50 / 4) (#45)
by Alarmist on Tue May 01, 2001 at 09:52:39 AM EST

Anyway, getting back to my original thought, it is a horrible thing to launch a device which causes such devastation, regardless of the rationale. Sure, in theory launching the bomb may have ended the war earlier and saved more lives than were lost. Tell that to the men, women, children who spent months slowly dying from radiation sickness, their hair falling out in clumps, their bodies slowly decaying in the most painful manner.

Yes, it is a horrible thing. Another horrible thing is infecting thousands of innocent civilians with a disease and watching them die, all in the name of an experiment. There is also the matter of the wholesale rape and pillage of cities, which is something that no one should ever have to endure.

I'm not happy that we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but let's not forget the Japanese biological warfare experiments or the Rape of Nanking. Both sides had their victims.


[ Parent ]

Yea (4.33 / 3) (#49)
by tokage on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:24:24 AM EST

I agree, but that specific instance isn't my point. All throughout history there's been a concurring vein of tyranny and rule by violence, reprehensible experiments, etc. I was talking about how we always seem to end up reaping misery upon ourselves, when we as intelligent beings have the option to not do so. There's no question in my mind the Axis was responsible for creating the situation which allowed these atrocities to exist. My point partly was, not every citizen living in those countries was backing the war, or condoned the behavior of the soldiers, decisions of the political leaders influencing the direction the respective countries war machines took.

It's a strange duality of our nature, allowing a soldier to pillage, rape, maim without a second thought, then go home to their wives and families, be loving fathers and husbands. Of course, not all soldiers behave that way, but in corrupt and basically lawless countries which are ruled by petty thugs and violent criminals, this behavior is a daily reality for many people. Partly what I was trying to point out is the fact that we seem to so often give in to our most base, loathful instincts when given the choice in situations where less 'civilized' laws are practiced. We end up creating this hateful global society of people living in fear, piling misery upon misery, confusion. Anyway, in armed conflict, all sides have their casualties, civilians often suffer atrocities beyond the killing of other human beings simply because they wear an army uniform. That is not to say that I am diametrically opposed to -all- conflicts, given our current situation. I believe it's the duty of the strong to protect the weak from the ignorant, small minded people who would seek to rule by violence and fear. The problem is, there are so many of the latter, the former cannot extend enough resources to help everyone, as well as the help often being seen as 'interference' by the cultures(Vietnam for instance). One could argue that it is the duty of the people who are being ruled to stand up for themselves, but that rarely happens and is difficult once the situation escalates to the ruling party having enough power to quell most uprisings violently.

I keep getting off on these long winded rants when I just want to make a simple point:) sorry about that.


I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red
[ Parent ]

Passivity (none / 0) (#113)
by exotherm on Sat May 05, 2001 at 02:25:45 PM EST

All throughout history there's been a concurring vein of tyranny and rule by violence, reprehensible experiments, etc. I was talking about how we always seem to end up reaping misery upon ourselves, when we as intelligent beings have the option to not do so.

Yes, it does seem natural that human beings would do this. But, then again, who says that we should simply sit by and do nothing about it? For instance, we know pedophillia isn't likely to go away. Does that mean we should tolerate it? I sure as heil hope not. I think it was Winston Churchill who said something like "evil succeeds when good men do nothing."
Those who can are driven mad by those who can't.
[ Parent ]

The Japanese Military is Pitiful and Weak (4.69 / 13) (#13)
by Anonymous 6522 on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:02:16 AM EST

They can't do a damn thing to stop Godzilla when he attacks. While they're having their tanks thrown around like little toys by that giant lizard, it's always some crazy scientist that saves the day.

Japan should just scrap the idea of raising a decent military. All they need to do is invest in some good crazy scientists, and maybe a gaint robot lizard or two. Then their country would be safe.

[sarcasm mode turn off]

[ Parent ]

wow, funny funny (2.00 / 10) (#28)
by psctsh on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:13:19 AM EST

[sarcasm mode turn off]

what--you weren't being serious? Thank god you put that disclaimer in there, I was getting worked up over your apparent idiocy. Of course you weren't serious though, I see that now. However, had you not spelled it out so clearly, I would have already submitted a response oulining my [foolish] disgust with your witty witty post (and whose face would have been red then?...ha ha). As it is, you warned me (thank god) just in time, so I decided to give you a +5. Except I didn't.

[ Parent ]
Looks like.... (3.66 / 3) (#40)
by deaddrunk on Tue May 01, 2001 at 08:50:26 AM EST

He's been spending too much time on Slashdot if he has to put a disclaimer on a post like that.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (3.50 / 4) (#65)
by Anonymous 6522 on Tue May 01, 2001 at 04:17:46 PM EST

I spend hardly any time at Slashdot. Usually, when I'm being sarcastic, it isn't as obvious as this. Hence the disclaimer.

[ Parent ]
Who should apologize? (3.33 / 12) (#26)
by Carnage4Life on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:03:24 AM EST

Even though they weep at the thought of Hiroshima but almost forget about the entire massacre they started at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Total Death Toll: 2403

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Total Death Tolls: 210,000

Now who did you say should be doing the apologizing again?

[ Parent ]
It's the difference... (4.00 / 9) (#39)
by Armaphine on Tue May 01, 2001 at 07:58:16 AM EST

...between starting the fight and ending it. The attack against Pearl Harbor was one that had been performed without any declaration of war having been issued, thereby constituting an unprovoked attack. The attack on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, however, were part of a military campaign, well after war had been declared.

Also, before anyone gets up on any high horses, may we also consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the devastation of Hiroshima & Nagasaki helped end the war with far fewer deaths than might have been. In case you didn't realize, the Marines were having to take each island by force, making their way to the main body of Japan, and at considerable cost of American and Japanese lives. Now, considering that, along with the fact that the Japanese were preparing their own civilians to defend the homeland with bamboo sticks... do you think that maybe, just maybe, there may be some good reasons why the atomic bombs may have been a good idea?

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

Exactly (4.20 / 5) (#56)
by John Milton on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:35:51 AM EST

Lots of people would have died. The Japanese believed that it was better to commit suicide than to surrender. We have videos of mothers throwing their babies off of cliffs and then jumping after them. Also, japan wasn't exactly Hitler's lesser partner. They were carrying out their own asian genocide at the time. Sadly, that is usually forgotten.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Bomb, not bombs (4.00 / 2) (#84)
by vastor on Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:09:32 AM EST

It's been largely accepted in historical circles (here atleast) that while the first bomb might have been useful in getting the japanese to surrender, the second was largely intended as a show for the russians.

As for starting the war, the trade sanctions placed on Japan before the start of WW2 were such that they either had to have a major back down or go to war. Japan was largely forced to the war, though it doesn't excuse the cruelty of how they treated POWs (though Germany didn't exactly treat eastern europeans/russians all that well either).

From what I can remember, the second bomb was supposed to stop russia from going ahead and occupying some of the japanese islands, but they did anyway so the second bomb achieved little except perhaps to suggest that the USA was a ruthless nation (since the russians no doubt knew that Japan was ready to surrender).

Very vaguely I also think there were concerns that by not ending it swiftly there might be negotiations made between Japan and the USSR if it wasn't wrapped up swiftly (and the longer it dragged on the more territory the soviets might occupy like occured in europe). The bombs were about getting things done swiftly - they didn't do anything that severe carpet bombing by regular means couldn't do, they just did it quickly for political reasons and as part of the global power games.

The saving US/allied forces lives arguement is pretty meaningless by itself, total isolation and bombardment by regular forces could have rendered japan willing to surrender in a matter of months without anyone setting foot on the main islands. Maybe a few allied planes might have been shot down and accidents occured if that leg had been followed, but the non-nuclear option was perfectly viable except for the US needed a swift end to the war to stop the soviets.

Quite frankly I think the mood in the allied nations after seeing the mistreated POWs coming back was probably such that they'd have been content to have millions of japanese starve to death in order to force a surrender without needing to take heavy casualties (and the japanese weren't stupid, it'd never have reached that stage IMO). Expediency and trying to intimidate the soviets were the real reasons for using the nuclear weapons - there was never a need for massive land invasions of the main islands that'd cause the kind of casualties people point to as the excuse behind the bombs (unless they had decided the expediency was that important, but I'd hope they weren't that foolish).

Arming civilians with bamboo sticks was probably more about local morale. Like during the cold war telling people to duck down or whatever in the event of a nuclear attack/detonation - it'd have been pretty futile really and was probably more about empowering people to believe they weren't entirely helpless/giving them hope for worst case scenarios.

In the end it's all history - I'm not hugely fussed about apologies, it'd just be nice to have accurate histories in all the countries concerned so hopefully that kind of thing won't ever happen again. Learning from mistakes rather than hiding from them.


[ Parent ]
Other apologies. (4.00 / 8) (#46)
by Alarmist on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:01:14 AM EST

The Rape of Nanking: 200,000-300,000.

Who owes apologies indeed?


[ Parent ]

He who is without sin should cast the first stone (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by Carnage4Life on Tue May 01, 2001 at 04:55:32 PM EST

The Rape of Nanking: 200,000-300,000.

Who owes apologies indeed?

It's interesting how this has devolved into some sort of atrocity one-upmanship, I guess this is where I point out massive death tolls caused by ruling parties in China. Thanks but I'll pass.

The point of my post was that the USians need to stop getting on their high horse about 2400 civilains and military people being bombed at home when they did the same thing to a hundred times that number of people. Where you somehow saw a defence of the Japanese atrocities in China is beyond me. Do you usually jump to such conclusions when discussing about other topics or is it the fact that we are discussing the Japanese that has made you infer meaning where there was none?

[ Parent ]
Missing the point. (4.00 / 2) (#86)
by Alarmist on Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:35:38 AM EST

Maybe we both missed the point.

In any case, mine was that Japan is certainly no paragon of innocense or virtue with regards to the Second World War. I feel bad that we killed civilians, but I'm not convinced that there was any other way to force the Japanese to back down other than to invade the home islands--which would have resulted in even more deaths on both sides.

I don't think we owe the Japanese an apology for bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If anyone owes anyone else an apology, the Japanese should be apologizing to the Chinese, the Filipinos, and everyone else who had atrocities visited on them by the Japanese during the war. Those apologies have not been forthcoming, and I doubt that they will be any time soon.


[ Parent ]

The U.S. was not virtuous either... (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by meldroc on Wed May 02, 2001 at 10:35:43 PM EST

If the Japanese owe apologies for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the mistreatment of American POWs, the killing and raping of millions of Chinese, Koreans, Philipinos, etc., then the U.S. owes apologies for the detainment of Japanese Americans (especially racist since German Americans weren't similarly detained,) the firebombings of cities such as Dresden - which did nothing to expidite Germany's surrender and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of civilian refugees. (The U.S. & Britain deliberately left Dresden alone for a while, letting refugees from other bombed cities and the fronts gather there, then firebombed them when they were most vulnerable).

I'd rather just say that that was all in the past, and there's no point to continuing a pissing contest that should have been over half a century ago.

[ Parent ]

The US *did* apologize (none / 0) (#119)
by Eccles on Mon May 07, 2001 at 04:58:19 PM EST

the U.S. owes apologies for the detainment of Japanese Americans

In 1988, the U.S. paid $1.6 billion in reparations to formerly interned Japanese Americans. We did apologize, and we have established at least one historical site (Manzanar) preserving one of the camps (referred to as "Sites of Shame" on a U.S. government website.)

Far, far more disturbing than the attack itself is Japan's long-standing denial of wrongdoing. I know all about the U.S. history of slavery and segregation, treatment of Native Americans, internment camps, support for dictators who were on "our side" of the Cold War, My Lai, etc. We know we're capable of wrong-doing, and thus face a perpetual re-examination of our motives and the consequences of our actions.

[ Parent ]

Um... (4.37 / 8) (#55)
by trhurler on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:35:40 AM EST

I have nothing against modern day Japan; I don't have the Japan fetish that many people in the US have, but I'm sure it is a nice country and the people I've met from Japan are good people. However, whitewashing their history in order to make the US look like the bad guy in WWII is not something I will stand for. How many Chinese did they kill? How many US marine, army, and navy personnel had to die so that Japan would be unable to continue its romp through Asia and the Pacific, slaughtering anyone who stood in their way? How many of their own people were marching in the streets and working extra shifts in factories to make sure they'd be able to do all this? We're talking about people who enthusiastically supported the second bloodiest and most atrocity-prone military of WWII, after Germany.

Yes, I know they deny this. However, their denials mean little in the face of the existing historical evidence. Go read it for yourself if you like; the kindest thing we ever did was nuke them instead of invading; they'd have lost a million then. This is not to mention the fact that we could have hit their major cities, and we didn't. If all they lost is 210,000 in that bombing, they should be grateful; in all likelihood, no people will ever again get off so easy for having done something so horrible. The slaughter in China, btw, was truly something you should investigate. The numbers aren't as huge as Germany's Holocaust, but the methods employed make Germany look like a scared child by comparison.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Who's whitewashing their history? (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by Carnage4Life on Tue May 01, 2001 at 05:04:38 PM EST

I have nothing against modern day Japan; I don't have the Japan fetish that many people in the US have, but I'm sure it is a nice country and the people I've met from Japan are good people. However, whitewashing their history in order to make the US look like the bad guy in WWII is not something I will stand for.

Who's whitewashing their history? Someone claimed that they owe the U.S. an apology for killing 2400 civilians and military while at home and I pointed out the hypocrisy of such thinking when the U.S. did the same thing to almost a hundred times that number of people.

The fact of the matter is that in a war, there are never truly any good or bad guys just shades of less and more evil. The U.S. has atrocities on its hands from Native Americans to Vietnam as do the Japanese and the Chinese. For one group to suddenly get on a high horse and claim they deserve an apology (what's next a lawsuit?) is the height of hypocrisy and absurdity. The Japanese ruling class have caused atrocious deaths as have the American, Spanish, English, Chinese, Rwandan, Russian, Yugoslavian, Liberian and more in situations of war. For any one of these groups to suddenly act like their sins are somewhat less than those of others and that the blood on their hands is non-existent is wrong and should be exposed for the farce that it is.

[ Parent ]
A slight difference... (4.00 / 3) (#68)
by trhurler on Tue May 01, 2001 at 05:17:10 PM EST

Yes, there were US atrocities. However, to my knowledge, the US has never, ever, suddenly, with no warning or provocation, destroyed a military base belonging to a foriegn power with which it was supposedly at peace in order to try to take a potential enemy out in support of a massive imperial land grab. We aren't just talking count of lives here; we're also talking culpability. There was absolutely no excuse for Pearl Harbor; one could argue that the nukes saved about 800,000 Japanese lives that would have been lost in an invasion, among other benefits they produced for us, the Japanese, and others.

Ever notice that when the US is accused of an atrocity, usually it is some lieutenant somewhere who acted against orders and killed a dozen innocents deliberately or shot a POW, whereas when our enemies do this, it is usually the mass slaughter of a population center or something like that? Interesting, if you ask me. We're currently hearing about how Bob Kerrey is alleged by two people with a vested interest whose stories keep changing to have killed a couple of dozen civilians deliberately; this is a big deal. Now, if it were true, I'd agree, but it probably isn't, and furthermore, we're talking a couple of dozen people. Compare to what the Japanese did to anyone and everyone they got ahold of in WWII. They tortured and murdered prisoners, forced them to work in camps, and so on. The best thing you could do if you were about to be overrun by the imperial Japanese military was kill yourself. Compare that to what you can reasonably expect, and could have at the time, from the US.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
What does this have to do with who should apologiz (3.33 / 3) (#80)
by Carnage4Life on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:56:00 PM EST

< snip comment about the Japanese being more vicious than the Americans in war >

The fact that the cruelty of Japanese soldiers surpasses that of American soldiers in war is besides the point in the context of the original question that started this thread. Explain to me why the Japanese should apologize for bombing 2400 civilians at home when the U.S. government did the same thing to almost a hundred times that amount of people.

Answer that question instead of your repeated pleas of Americans are good and the Nippon are evil.

Ever notice that when the US is accused of an atrocity, usually it is some lieutenant somewhere who acted against orders and killed a dozen innocents deliberately or shot a POW, whereas when our enemies do this, it is usually the mass slaughter of a population center or something like that?

I'm sure there are many historians who know something about the genocide of the Native American populations in the 19th century who will disagree with you.

[ Parent ]
The difference.. (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by ajduk on Wed May 02, 2001 at 05:07:10 AM EST

After the Marianas campaign in mid-1944, Japan was in a hopeless military situation. Surrender could have avoided the bombing, or stopped the bombing at any time after it started.

Japan was the aggressor and as such had a choice; war or peace. The US was attacked, and so had no choice. By choosing war, Japan had also to accept the consequences of waging war, and the chance of losing that war.

[ Parent ]
here's your answer (4.66 / 3) (#87)
by yannick on Wed May 02, 2001 at 10:27:13 AM EST

Explain to me why the Japanese should apologize for bombing 2400 civilians at home when the U.S. government did the same thing to almost a hundred times that amount of people.

The United States was primarily justified in its deployment of atomic weapons because the Japanese would not have otherwise capitulated. Anyone familiar with the Japanese mentality, especially during the war years but also to a lesser degree today, will attest to the fact that the Japanese do not easily surrender.

In the final months of the war, Japanese soldiers began mounting suicide runs to avoid capture. I quote from John W. Dower, Elting E. Morrison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT to the rest of us):

In the desperate final stages of the war, Japan´s top leaders including the emperor had chosen to sacrifice Okinawa in a futile but devastatingly brutal battle that, it was hoped, would dissuade the Allies from attempting to invade the home islands. More than ten thousand Americans died in that battle... [while] Imperial forces numbering over 110 000 men were virtually wiped out, and approximately one-third of the civilian population -- possibly as many as 150 000 men, women and children -- were killed.

He goes on to say that

"Long after it had become obvious that Japan was doomed, its leaders all the way up to the emperor remained unable to contemplate surrender They were psychologically blocked, capable only of stumbling forward."

The United States was faced with a dilemma. Unconditional surrender was required to ensure that Japan should never consider, let alone implement, an aggressive foreign policy. Such a surrender would not have been possible without either completely conquering Japan, meter by bloody meter, at tremendous cost to both US soldiers and Japanese civilians (who were almost all willing to die for their emperor). The only way to avoid such monumental loss of life was to deliver a clear and unambiguous message to the Emperor and his top military brass.

The Japanese engaged in an unprovoked, unjustified and undoubtedly belligerent act of war in bombing Pearl Harbour. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were none of these things. Trying to equate these two is dishonouring those who died in both places.
---
Pretend that this sig contains something deep, witty and profound.
[ Parent ]

Well, (3.50 / 2) (#91)
by trhurler on Wed May 02, 2001 at 12:08:48 PM EST

As you may recall, I haven't mentioned apologies. My opinion is that the best resolution to things like WWII is for both sides to admit what happened, agree that it was very bad, and then proceed onward with their lives. However, I have a real problem with the idea that dropping those two nukes on some outlying towns was some undeserved horror we perpetrated on Japan; first of all, Japan DID deserve it, and secondly, it was the absolute least damaging action among our military options at the time.

Why do people have such a hard time with the idea that war is not fair, or nice, or even ethical? War itself is evil; the only justifiable reason to be in one is survival. There is no way to fight a war without resorting to cruelty and destruction of innocents and their property. This is not a matter of choice; it is a fact.

Also, why do so many people who can easily see the horror in bombing 210,000 people into oblivion not see the fact that it is just as horrible to have slaughtered many times that over the course of several years, or to have supported the people who would do it? Just the fact that it wasn't sudden and overwhelming doesn't mean it didn't happen. Sure, the Japanese may have covered up a couple of massacres, but they made no secret of their overall actions, which were those of an animal. They attacked, killed, and enslaved their neighbors for fun and profit. Their people SUPPORTED that.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
So, I have a question for you: (4.33 / 3) (#93)
by Canthros on Wed May 02, 2001 at 12:42:51 PM EST

Are you playing devil's advocate, or are you just a jackass? 'Cause I can't tell.

The question, as you asserted, isn't who's good or evil. I don't think that's what anyone was attempting to address. It's that you continually equate an unprovoked action against an (ostensibly) neutral party (the U.S. wasn't in the war when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, particularly as regards the Pacific theatre, even if they were selling arms to the Allies) with actions made against an aggressor during wartime. The Japan of 1945 was not a victim, unless it was of their own militaristic, nationalistic agenda.

Not that this whole conversation isn't completely asinine: apologies should be made on both sides of the conflict, what the hell does it matter as to who's more 'guilty'? You can't measure guilt in terms of the physical results of an action. An atrocity is an atrocity, whether it's big or small. It can be justified, ethically and morally, but it becomes no less an atrocity as a result, neither is it more or less 'wrong' because it was an atrocity.

War, conflict, force, and death are sometimes necessary, even moral, means to moral ends. A war is not immoral because it is a war. A war is immoral if the goals it is intended to accomplish are immoral.

The long and short is this: good and evil (and, consequently, right and wrong) are complicated concepts, they cannot be boiled down to who was the aggressor or who killed the most people the fastest or any other single criteria, especially without taking into account the motivations of those behind the actions being judged.

And just so you don't feel like I'm bypassing the original question: Japan, as a country, has never accepted responsibility for the actions of their military during WW2. It's not just that there's some feeling that they should apologize: it's that they haven't stated that the actions of their country were wrong. I'm not going to attempt to make that judgement here, I'm sure you're capable on your own. But, consider this: would you feel comfortable about letting a convicted murderer out of prison and reinstating normal rights (like the right to bear arms) for him if he demonstrates no remorse for his actions, even if he did surrender to the police when he had two broken legs, a busted arm and no ammunition?

--
It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
RyoCokey
[ Parent ]

Robert Heinlein anyone? (none / 0) (#85)
by Vulch on Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:18:46 AM EST

Ever notice that when the US is accused of an atrocity, usually it is some lieutenant somewhere who acted against orders and killed a dozen innocents deliberately or shot a POW, whereas when our enemies do this, it is usually the mass slaughter of a population center or something like that?

There's always the Robert Heinlein solution for problems like this. If shooting one POW is a minor detail, but mass slaughter in a city is a big deal, where is your dividing line? 99 is OK, but 100 is genocide? 999 and 1000? The only defensible limit is the one between zero and one, and the only difference between the Japanese in WW2 and the USA in Vietnam is that you might be able to get some disciplinary action taken by the USA against those troops responsible.

[ Parent ]

Why a strict cutoff? (none / 0) (#104)
by brion on Thu May 03, 2001 at 02:35:38 AM EST

If shooting one POW is a minor detail, but mass slaughter in a city is a big deal, where is your dividing line? 99 is OK, but 100 is genocide?

Why a strict cutoff? Why not a smooth continuum from regrettable to bad to very bad to horrible to unconscienable to unthinkably evil? With a strict dichotomy, you end up in a situation where someone who has tripped the boundary has nothing to lose by going farther down the dark path - organizing the mass slaughter of millions of "undesirable" civilians doesn't get you any more severely punished than murdering one Texan, yet I think we would all agree that the former is more reprehensible than the latter.



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Uhhhh... mm'kay. What about...? (none / 0) (#107)
by Ezekiel on Thu May 03, 2001 at 12:25:51 PM EST

Speaking of atrocities and Germans, can anybody tell me about U.S. atrocities on the Germans both during *and* *after* WWII?

Like the firebombing of Dresden, which was a hospital city with no military armament or significance?

Like the rape and plunder that the U.S. and Soviet armies inflicted upon their defeated victims?

Like how the Soviet army was specifically instructed to humiliate the German women?

Hm. And let's not go into the thousands of German officers that both Stalin and Roosevelt pledged to kill after the war (a plot that Churchill for once had the honor to refuse).

Anything else major that I don't know about?

(oh yeah, one more thing. Aside from the Jewish issue, the Germans had done nothing to the U.S. to deserve this. Roosevelt brought the U.S. into the war against the will of the U.S. people, using a trick of propaganda to convince them. The U.S. was the aggressor in Europe, not the defender.)

And, back the real subject: the Japanese. The Chinese would *love* to get their hands on Japan, and that whole area of the world seems to be revving up (piracy, saber-rattling, hostility, etc). It's quite possible that the U.S., with its hands tied in the Middle East, might be forced to watch as Japan & co. go to war. And we've provided them with the tech and money to do it.

The Japanese were not on good behavior (putting it nicely) in WWII, to the best of my knowledge. Whenever you have a race war, you have a whole system of cruelty that comes into play that usually doesn't, and Japan vs the U.S. was no different. I would not look forward to another war with Japan.

-Ezekiel
The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]
Invasions (none / 0) (#114)
by exotherm on Sat May 05, 2001 at 02:47:57 PM EST

And, back the real subject: the Japanese. The Chinese would *love* to get their hands on Japan,

It's funny how I constantly seem stuff like this. I don't know the logic behind your reasoning that China wants Japan (are you insinuating that China's expansionist? And no, Tibet isn't a stepping stone; there actually are instances where Tibet and China were tied together through arranged marriages between royal families in the past). If you are suggesting that China is expansionist, then they would have invaded some of their smaller neighbors to the south (much like how India conquered small, neighboring kingdoms after their independence). Btw, Tibet isn't well liked either; they tried invading Bhutan many times in the past. Then there's the case of Communist Vietnam invading Cambodia in around 1979? which displaced power from the Khmer Rouge (a rival communist force) and effectively stopped Pol Pot's genocidal progrom.
Those who can are driven mad by those who can't.
[ Parent ]

Agreed (3.50 / 2) (#78)
by dzeroo on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:15:02 PM EST

The US (and therefore most of Western civilization) is still trying to create a historical narrative that originates from some bullshit anti-communist tendency. It is no secret that none of the history books in American schools speak of the massacres against native Americans - albeit that this does concerns 'domestic' problems.

Whitewashing history is practized by any country and no one will every say that that's a good thing. Nevertheless, there are more reasons to re-write history than to maintain a dominant position within society. Think of cultural imperialism: a far greater crime than white-washing your OWN history is to tell OTHER civilizations that they cannot practice their culture.

I realize this might be getting a little off-topic but I do not think that this new free world that most people speak of lately will consist of nations bitching at eachother about who did what. Freedom in essence lies in the fact that you do not have to deal with or consider many factors other than your own opinions and convictions. As mentioned "what's next? a lawsuit?", this is not the way to go about things - especially being judgemental will prove disasterous.


== chicks are for fags ==


[ Parent ]
Re: Who should apologize? (none / 0) (#110)
by a clockwork llama on Thu May 03, 2001 at 10:32:31 PM EST

> Pearl Harbor Total Death Toll: 2403

> Hiroshima and Nagasaki Total Death Tolls: 210,000

Just for completeness:

Estimated death tolls at the Rape of Nanking: 300,000.

You don't need the Bomb to kill hundreds of thousands of civillians. More down-to-earth methods - machine-gunning, bayonetting, gasoline, and so forth - work just fine.



[ Parent ]
Absolutely (3.69 / 13) (#4)
by decaf_dude on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:18:59 AM EST

Looking at the record of different countries, Japan should be the last to have restrictions on military. I'd say better candidates are USA, Israel, Iraq, Yugoslavia... These countries proved to be far more agressive and more vicious in their military adventures, and in more recent years as well. Perhaps our German readers could describe the restrictions imposed on Germans due to their past (in public they're banned from waving German flags, declaring pride in their nationality, etc.).

WWII ended 56 years ago, deal with it!


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


Better candidates my left foot (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by briandunbar on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:04:28 AM EST

Are you trolling? You can't seriously imply that the United States' 'military adventures' are more viscous than the Imperial Japanese before 1945?


Feed the poor, eat the rich!
[ Parent ]

I think (3.00 / 5) (#19)
by enterfornone on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:18:29 AM EST

the key is that WW2 ended 56 years ago, but the US are still on the offensive.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
yeah, but... (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by cory on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:36:43 AM EST

The Cold War only ended about 12 years ago. You can't really expect a country to go from a good fifty years of constant military readiness to peace loving hippies overnight. Add to that that Americans can't seem to decide if we should stay a Republic or morph into an Empire, and it's gonna be a *looong* time before our military gets to the size it was before Pearl Harbor, if it ever does.

My money's on the Empire. Not that I want that, it just seems inevitable at this point.

Cory


[ Parent ]
Ask Mexico. (4.50 / 4) (#38)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue May 01, 2001 at 07:04:56 AM EST

Just remember which country used to posses California, New Mexico, Arizona,etc.

If anexation by sheer force of such huge area is not a "military adventure" (not viscious perhaps, but in escence is the same) then my dictionary should be replaced.



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Uh (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by Woundweavr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 01:39:36 PM EST

Spain? The Native Americans?

Oh we go back, just only to a certain level. I got the rules now.

[ Parent ]

That is the point. (3.00 / 1) (#105)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu May 03, 2001 at 06:31:55 AM EST

It is just hypocratic from anybody in this World of us to talk about others being militar adventurers and so on and so forth. If we analyze history (that means no more than 3000 or 4000 years) no single people can claim pure innocence and a higher moral ground. Thus an American complaining about Japan or China's adventurism seemes pretty ironic when the US imperialistic background is brought into the picture.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Depends on which ones (4.00 / 3) (#50)
by trhurler on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:56:03 AM EST

If you mean the little romps through places like Serbia, then you're right. On the other hand, if you mean that little deal in Iraq where we killed upwards of 50,000 people, many of them cowering in their positions, afraid to run away for fear of being killed by their own side and afraid to surrender because they don't want to spend eternity apart from their deity, then maybe. I'm not saying it wasn't justified to do that; I'm not at all interested in the totally distinct topic of justification right at the moment - viciousness can be justified in some cases. That said, what did the Japanese do that ever killed 50,000 of us and in which we basically had no power to fight back? Yes, they had Pearl Harbor and a few other outright atrocities, but what we did to Iraq would be akin to some mythical power coming into the US and killing about a quarter of a million people, but losing only 500 or so in the process. To put that in perspective, all of Vietnam "only" cost us 58,000.

(Yes, actually, I do think it was justified on the grounds that, quite simply, you do not just go invading your neighbor to take his wealth. This principle needs to stand firm, and for all that people whine about how the leaders are the ones responsible, the fact is, it isn't the leaders who rolled into Kuwait and killed people until they got their way. My main point here was that you can be both extremely vicious and completely justified in some circumstances. Now, I do NOT think it was a good way to spend US money and lives, but that's another issue - I do not see any ethical problem with the violence we engaged in, but I do see a problem with the fact that we did it despite much of a real self-interest at stake.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Not against us no... (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by MrAcheson on Wed May 02, 2001 at 01:24:39 PM EST

Japan didn't really do anything like that to the US. They never had the superiority which is necessary to do it. However Japan did basically do awful things like this to China when they invaded there. Even worse, they were the aggressors in these situations as well. Japan did to the East what Germany did to Europe after all.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
Falsehoods (3.00 / 1) (#98)
by Woundweavr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 01:54:33 PM EST

For one thing, its not like they had no power to fight back. They had guns and fought back but were outnumbered. It wasn't fair but it also wasnt fair when they invaded Kuwait.

Also Japan did much worse things, both to soldiers and civilians and a comparison is pretty weak. Look up The Rape of Nanking(and its counterparts in other countries such as Korea) and The Bataan Death March if you want atrocities.

There's a big difference between stopping genocide (some of the Balkan issues) and defeating weaker opponents and mass murdering and commiting genocide and murdering POWs.

[ Parent ]

hrm (4.00 / 4) (#17)
by delmoi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:15:25 AM EST

Well, first of all a country needs to get taken over and forced into restrictions. They don't just happen.

Looking at the record of different countries, Japan should be the last to have restrictions on military. I'd say better candidates are USA, Israel, Iraq, Yugoslavia...

It might be better for the world if the USA wasn't such a concentrated power... Israel and imperial Japan didn't even exist at the same time, but I don't think it's any stretch to call the Israelis less violent in general then the Japanese in WWII. Iraq? Well, were trying. Yugoslavia, again we're trying. Of course, restricting the US would make restricting those countries much more difficult.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Oh, it's a stretch! (4.37 / 8) (#33)
by decaf_dude on Tue May 01, 2001 at 03:42:02 AM EST

I don't think it's any stretch to call the Israelis less violent in general then [sic] the Japanese in WWII...

OK, I'll bite!

You don't watch news much, do you? Have a look at what's happening in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories these days and you'll see how much of a stretch it would be. Not to mention Israel's dirty deeds in South Lebanon, Syria's Golan Heights (still occupied by Israel despite UN condemnation and a Security Council resolution ordering Israel to withdraw), etc.

Now, don't get me wrong: Palestinians are no saints either, but hey - it's called resistance to occupying force, something we in Europe know about and appreciate. Not that we would ever speak up, of course, for that would upset our "friends" accross the pond, who need a puppet state among Arabs to make sure they follow the instructions and fill-up their arms orders on time.

Violence may have changed the packaging in the last few decades, but it sure as hell hasn't changed the outcome. Sadly, it's the victims of past violence that are the today's perpetrators.

As far as Iraq goes, if we really wanted to take Saddam out of the equation, I don't think German Border Police commandos, SAS, or Corsican Regiment of French Foreign Legion (aka The Tough MotherfuckersTM®©) would have a problem doing that. No, I believe West's policy (or lack thereof) towards Iraq has more to it than meets the eye, but that's a material for an article (book?) of its own.

Yugoslavia? Please, are you seriously suggesting that, despite clear UN mandates, we can't get an extradition of an ousted president of a piss-on-the-floor country somewhere on the friggin' Balkans? I'd like to think that k5 is frequented by intelligent people...


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
Dude (3.33 / 3) (#72)
by delmoi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 06:41:17 PM EST

You don't see Israelites slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Palestinian men and women and turning the surviving women into sex slaves, do you? Yeh, I'm not saying that Israel is perfect, but there is a clear scale. 1940's Japan was a lot worse then Israel is now
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
You didn't read my post, did you? (3.50 / 2) (#83)
by decaf_dude on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:13:03 AM EST

First of all, it's "Israelis", not "Israelites" - former is the nationality while latter refers to a Biblical term.

Second, what do you think Israeli army and paramilitaries (Jewish settlers are probably better armed than militias in Montana) have been doing since 1948? They started off the 1948 war with a massacre of a complete village, and have expelled 800,000 Palestinians (thus creating the biggest refugee problem in the world), and these people are not allowed to return to their homes today despite guarantees in UN charters (for which you and I, the taxpayers in industrial countries, have to foot the bill for due to asylum seekers and immigration of "stateless" people, btw).

Having spent some time in Israel, I was disgusted by the treatment of Arabs there (let's just say that blacks in apartheid-era South Africa were privileged in comparison), I got interested in the whole Middle East issue so I read up on the problems. I'm not going to try to educate you in depth, but suffice to say that Israeli army/paramilitaries have consistently used what I consider state-sponsored terrorism to intimidate and terrorise the Palestinian population, with unlawful arrests and torture, extra-judicial killings, invasions of surrounding countries, etc. I'm not aware of systematic rape being employed (the likes of which we've seen in Bosnia, where Serbian leaders practically ordered mass rape and murder as means of "ethnic cleansing", or Japanese sex slaves from Korea, Phillipinnes, etc.), but torture, murder, confiscation and destruction of private property (including farms, on which sometimes livelyhood of dozens of families depend) are literally everyday occurence.

Palestinians are no saints either, and there are several terrorist groups active in Palestinian territories (what's left of them anyway), who routinely fire rockets at Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories. The fact that those settlements are condemned by the UN and whose removal has been specifically ordered by the Security Council is, once again, ignored by the Israeli government, and I believe that the settlements are actually being expanded everyday.

However, while I strongly disapprove the use of violence for political gains, I have no doubt that Germans considered French Resistance a terrorist organisation. It's scary to actually be able to draw *many* parallels between 3rd Reich and modern Israel when it comes to treatment of "others". Yeah, I know, Godwin's Law and all, please spare me...

American administrations have historically been very pro-Israeli oriented due to strong Jewish lobby in USA, and Europeans keep a low profile on the whole issue to avoid conflict with USA, despite clear historic interests in the region, particularly the British and the Balfour Agreement, which many point to as an "official" cause of "the troubles" - latter term borrowed from the Norther Ireland conflict :).

Hence I can't see the difference between what Japan was doing to the South East Asia 60 years ago and what Israel is doing to the Middle East today. Japanese believed that their Emperor was G*d or some such (in fact, only after WWII did the Japanese Emperor "admit" that he is not in fact G*d but just a man lucky to be born to the right parents), while the Israelis place the claim on the region "as promised by G*d in the Bible" (ask any Israeli what claim Israel has on, for instance, Jerusalem or the Golan Heights - both illegally occupied inspite of UN resolutions - and all will be clear).


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
The U.N., etc. (3.00 / 1) (#89)
by beergut on Wed May 02, 2001 at 11:00:37 AM EST

I, personally, am glad that Israel does not follow "orders" and "mandates" from the U.N.

Why?

Because they are, rightfully or not, a sovereign nation. If the Arab states are so pissed at Israel, let them all invade and have done with it. I don't think the U.S. should be involved at all. I don't think the existence of the nation is legitimate, but an artifact of World War II. There is no historical reason for the existence of Israel except for an imposition of said existence by the rest of the world.

I'm all in favor of handing Jerusalem, etc., over to a group of Buddhists, though, with the agreement that they will allow Christians, Jews, and Muslims to visit their holy places without hindrance.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Come On (1.00 / 3) (#43)
by Ratnik on Tue May 01, 2001 at 09:14:08 AM EST

< It might be better for the world if the USA wasn't such a concentrated power.

Come take it away....

[ Parent ]
As a German citizen living in the US (4.90 / 11) (#29)
by belgarath on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:40:13 AM EST

Before I start: I've lived in the US most of my life, but I speak German fluently and visit back often, and my mom's from there, and I have family there, so I'm familiar with the political situation. I'm in high school, so I haven't been around for as many years as some have.

With all of those disclosures out of the way, I'd like to say that I find German non-nationalism very refreshing. Germans are still proud of the way that they do things, but it's not expressed very loudly or with an anti-everyone-else sentiment.

In my high school here in Oregon, we sometimes have assemblies in which everyone chants for the football team to kill/crush/destroy/etc the enemy team. I'm certain that in Germany, no such thing would ever happen. It's just too similar to the crowd rallying tactics used by the Nazis. No one here understands that - everyone thinks I'm nuts and too uptight for not enjoying myself at such assemblies - but I must say that I think that legal restrictions on nationalism have helped Germany develop culturally in the past fifty years.

As far as the Japanese go, I think that Japan should keep it's restrictions. Why? Whereas Germany has gone through a process of extreme national guilt (in West Germany, anyway), Japan has gone through a process of both external and internal denial.

Don't misunderstand me - I have nothing against the Japanese, and I think that the decision to drop the atom bombs was entirely targetted at scaring the Soviets. However, Japan has yet to accept guilt for the massive deaths that they caused in China, which are every bit as atrocious (if somewhat lesser in scale) than what the Germans did in Europe.



[ Parent ]
Bombs... (3.50 / 4) (#53)
by trhurler on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:20:08 AM EST

All things considered, the Japanese have no right to complain about 200,000 nuked people; the Japanese population during WWII eagerly supported Japan's assorted sneak attacks, conquests, slaughters of civilians and prisoners of war, and so on. Granted, they pretend this isn't true, but that's not relevant in the face of overwhelming historical evidence of the common Japanese complicity in the actions of their country at the time. They're lucky we didn't decide to hit them where it would really have hurt; fortunately for all involved, our leadership had enough sense to know that wiping out major population and government centers would not be productive in the long term.

I've talked to many Japanese on this topic, and frankly, it is the only thing I've ever talked to them about where I was inclined to spit in their faces; they seem to have no willingness to admit that there was a reason we were at war with them, no willingness to recognize the fact that they were the second bloodiest murderers of WWII hands down, and no conception of the fact that the West rebuilt their society for them after the war - they act as though they've earned everything they have and their country never did anything wrong.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
nanking (4.75 / 4) (#62)
by alprazolam on Tue May 01, 2001 at 03:38:23 PM EST

the common japanese citizen was unaware of the rape of nanking as it was covered up by the government. because the citizens knew it was wrong. the government didn't order it from above, its a case of a smaller part of the military committing atrocities. just like you can't blame the average american for the bomb, you can't blame the average japanes citizen for nanking. both were terribly wrong and inhumane. war tends to be that way.

[ Parent ]
Bomb Placement (none / 0) (#111)
by bored on Fri May 04, 2001 at 04:56:00 PM EST

"They're lucky we didn't decide to hit them where it would really have hurt; fortunately for all involved, our leadership had enough sense to know that wiping out major population and government centers would not be productive in the long term."

Actually, the way I understand it didn't directly have anything to do with 'major' population centers or military targets. Where the US dropped the bomb was almost directly due to where we thought we would have the best chance of successfully dropping it. Think about it! If you have 2 bombs, and the next one is at least a year in development, do you want to run the risk of the bomber being shot down before it can drop its bomb? I recently read a book on game theory which said that Von Neumann used game theory to help the military decide which targets had the greatest chance of successfully being bombed yet still provided for enough damage to demonstrate the technology. The way the author made it sound was that where it was dropped was insignificant in comparison to the political and military advantage of a successful demonstration.



[ Parent ]
Extreme national guilt ? (4.00 / 2) (#79)
by mami on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:32:18 PM EST

As far as the Japanese go, I think that Japan should keep it's restrictions. Why? Whereas Germany has gone through a process of extreme national guilt (in West Germany, anyway), Japan has gone through a process of both external and internal denial.

Not answering to the subject at stake, I just think you make it a little bit too easy on the Germans (I am German and your mother's age range). I haven't seen "extreme national guilt".

How do you explain the revival of rightwing neo-nazis in Germany, the fact that they promote without shame nor any repercussions the Holocaust as being the"Auschwitzluege" ? Where is their feeling of "extreme guilt" ??? You think that today's clashes between neo-nazis and so-called leftist groups in Germany are any different from similar clashes going on during the 1920's in Berlin ?

I really don't think that lip services of the today's generations (be it mine or yours) with regards to feeling "guilty and sorry" about the atrocities of WWI are a valid basis to make a decision or judgement about today's political issues. I think it would be better to judge people on what they *DO NOW* and not on what their fathers did fifty years ago, and not how well their kids and grandkids coped and expressed their feelings of guilt or not.

If you don't care to give each generation its own new beginnings and don't hold them responsible only to their own *current* decisions they make, then you end up always dragging old animosities of former generations into the present and reviving long forgotten hatred into new current conflicts.

[ Parent ]

Ist's still a bad idea... (none / 0) (#88)
by Slyh on Wed May 02, 2001 at 10:53:10 AM EST

I do not know much about the situation in Japan (i.e. their position toward WWII), but I agree that this should not be overemphasized. Today Japan ist a very powerful economy and has quite a lot of influence - there's no point in other countries trying to force restrictions on Japanese military.

But on the other hand I think it will be better if they do not become a military power.
After all they cannot complain: They have a decent army to defend themselves, the USA as an ally and a strong economy.
A strong military would only help nationalism and could lead to further conflicts in the pacific region (eg. they could try to engage in the China-Taiwan-conflict).

I also see the situation in Germany. Germany just fought its first war since 1945 and has ambitions to become a new military force (at least in eastern Europe). IMHO this is a very dangerous developement because it only strengthens nationalism and militarism, so I hope that Japan will not follow this path.


[ Parent ]
within reason (3.55 / 9) (#6)
by Seumas on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:23:20 AM EST

It only seems reasonable to not restrict your own country from having the right to declare war or raise a significant army. It should be every nation's right to defend itself and its citizens. Japan, of course, is a special case because of their attrocious history. Even though they weep at the thought of Hiroshima but almost forget about the entire massacre they started at Pearl Harbor, I don't see that they should avoid building a bigger and better military. What are they going to do -- attack the United States? Invade Germany? Nuke the French?

Thirty years ago, this would be a worrisome prospect -- but we just don't live under the same threats anymore.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

pearl harbour (4.00 / 9) (#10)
by enterfornone on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:42:30 AM EST

Pearl Harbour was a fairly minor conflict when you look at what happened in World War II. It certainly pales in comparasin to Hiroshima and everything that was going on in Europe.

The US try to pretend that Pearl Harbour was some great act of agression in order to hide the fact that they completely ignored the war until it started affecting them.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
not exactly comparable (2.50 / 6) (#12)
by Seumas on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:52:56 AM EST

I'm not sure I get the point.

So Hiroshima is worse than Pearl Harbor? The Japanese were unprovoked. Whether or not we should have entered the war before that is far from the issue. Whether or not we retaliated or at any point durin the war nuked the hell out of them is beside the point. The Japanese nuked quite a few war ships with a relatively uninvolved country killing a large number of unprepared men on who were docked. If you punch me and draw some blood and I punch you back and knock you out -- you're still the one in the wrong.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

the difference (3.77 / 9) (#14)
by enterfornone on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:04:23 AM EST

Pearl Harbour was a military target of a country Japan had a good reason to be threatened by. Hiroshima was a civilian target with hundreds of thousands more people.

If I punch you and you murder my family and everyone I know am I still the one in the wrong?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Two ships... (4.25 / 8) (#22)
by jasonab on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:32:53 AM EST

Actually, you're both wrong. Pearl Harbor was a legitimate military target. So was Hiroshima (major army base, large manufacturing base). Japan committed plenty of war crimes, including the Korean comfort women, the Bataan Death March, and POW camps that starved prisoners. The US had conduced economic warfare (in the form of embargos) against Japan. This was mostly because of the Japanese war in China and their ambitions in Asia.

Don't apologize for WWII Japan, enter. It's a losing argument.

[ Parent ]

not apologising (3.50 / 6) (#23)
by enterfornone on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:36:40 AM EST

I'm just pointing out that it's not as clear cut as Japan being the baddies and the US being the goodies.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
no, actually, it is (3.66 / 6) (#25)
by cory on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:45:38 AM EST

Japan had no good reason to bomb Pearl Harbor. Hell, Germany had better reason to attack the US first because we were actively supplying Britain with arms (jeez, that's a bad habit, giving Brits guns gets us into more wars with Germany...)

As for nuking Hiroshima (and it's apparently forgotten sister, Nagasaki), would you have rather we invaded the home islands? Do you have even the slightest idea how much carnage that would've caused??? Look at Okinawa, where people were literally jumping off cliffs and killing their own children. And that was a relatively backwards provence, as far as the Japanese were concerned (no offense to any Okinawans on the board). I don't have the figures for how many people died in those two blasts, but I'm pretty sure it was lower than the firestorm bombing of either Tokyo or Dresden, and orders of magnitude lower than an invasion would've caused (one figure that was bandied about was over a million US casualties just in the first month of so of an invasion, with at least 10 times that in Japanese dead).

Cory


[ Parent ]
Firebomb.. (4.25 / 4) (#36)
by ajduk on Tue May 01, 2001 at 05:34:48 AM EST

Yes - the tokyo firebomb attack still holds the record for the most casualties in a single air raid. Japanese Industry was traditionally spread out in small workshops, which meant that area bombing was, unfortunately for the locals, the only way to destroy it.

In a purely military sense, the japanese HAD to launch a sneak attack to have even a chance of beating the US. Even this was a very long shot - japanese strategy was based on the US giving up after a few defeats. The thought that the US may be a bit annoyed didn't seem to enter into the calculations of the japanese military.

With regards to supplying the UK with arms.. it's worth studying a bit of history. If the UK had fallen in 1940, then the whole of North Africa and the middle east (i.e. oil) would be German. The whole German army would have been avaliable to invade Russia, which would probably have fallen in 1941/42.

This would have left the U.S. and Canada against the rest of the world. The Nazis had a stated intention of dealing 'severely' with the U.S.

By supporting the UK and USSR, the USA minimised its own casualties in a war it had to fight.


[ Parent ]
But (2.00 / 1) (#71)
by delmoi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 06:36:42 PM EST

We had all the Helium!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Not just North America (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by davidduncanscott on Wed May 02, 2001 at 12:48:08 PM EST

This would have left the U.S. and Canada against the rest of the world.
As an American whose father was an advisor to the Chinese during World War II, I've always had a place in my heart for Ecuador, who declared war against the Axis powers right after Pearl Harbor (in fact, it may have been several hours before the US did)

[ Parent ]
Go back an extra 100 years. (3.75 / 4) (#51)
by nicksand on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:57:01 AM EST

Being a product of the American public highschool system, I had little real grasp of Japanese history till I took classes on the topic in college. From what I was taught in highschool, Japan was a country in complete isolation till Perry came along with his fleet around 1850. The highschool history then pretty much skims over everything till pearl harbor, and then gives a mostly American-biased view of Pearl Harbor. This may just have been my mileage, but it is what was presented to me at various public (and one private) highschool and middleschool history courses.

In college I learned about the unequal treaties. Namely, Japan was forced to give extraterratoriality and most favored nation status to all the western powers (including the US if I recall correctly). The most favored nation provision meant that any concession Japan granted to any nation would automatically be given to the most favored nation (which was all of them) as well. This made it virtually impossible for Japan to renegotiate any of the very demeaning treaties, since it required renegotiation with all nations at once. Western colonial aggression in Asia (India and China in particular) made it very clear to Japan that they would need to build a strong army. As the Japanese Iwakura mission (a group of Japanese elite that traveled around the world to see how far behind the country was) learned from Bismarck, one could only bargain with the west from a position of strength. From all this, it is important to remember that Japan's "evil imperialistic ways" were learned from the West!

This is not, of course, an attempt to paint the Japanese as innocent little sheep. The Japanese went around a few years later and essentially forced the same style of unequal treaties on China and Korea. The important lesson of all this however, is that it's unwise to say that group A was evil while group B was good and righteous.

[ Parent ]
er? (3.50 / 4) (#57)
by darthaya on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:10:00 PM EST

The empire of Japan in WWII is evil, period.

Think about the atrocity it had done in Asia. The world is not all about US.


[ Parent ]
wrong (2.00 / 2) (#64)
by Rocky on Tue May 01, 2001 at 04:05:23 PM EST

Do you agree that the Nazi were the baddies in WWII?

Do you realize that the Japanese were already allied with Germany and Italy before the U.S. entered the war?

The Japanese were allied with the Nazis. Therefore, they were the baddies, and deserved every god damn bomb we dropped upon them, nuclear or not.

End of argument.



If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
his position is understandable (3.83 / 6) (#31)
by Seumas on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:51:48 AM EST

I'm sure you can understand his position, though. It is compelling to side with a country who was the aim of a massive weapon of destruction that obliterated in one of the most horrific ways an entire city that contained a majority of civilians.

The entire topic is extremely devisive. You find people seperating into the "Fuck Japan -- they started it and deserved what they got" camp, the "the entire thing was horrible, but America is evil and picked on Japan and we should forvever bow our heads to them in shame" crowd and then the segments of people who say "we were justified in the use of our means by the outcome they produced".

I can understand the first and third to various extents, but I'm completely at a loss for the apologists in the center. These are the same people who would probably roll over and welcome invading troops to take over the country rather than have our big bad military do naughty things like shoot them.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

not how I see it (2.75 / 4) (#30)
by Seumas on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:46:21 AM EST

A country, unprovoked, who attacks another country doesn't deserve the courtesy of picking and choosing where they'd like us to attack them. It's sad that so many innocent people had to be killed in the process of destroying the military implements of Hiroshima, but if Japan hadn't provoked us, we wouldn't have been compelled to do much to them. Any retaliation against Japan, in my view, was completely justified and they're very lucky all we did was drop a couple bombs.

How threatened could Japan feel if they threw the first punch? The United States was not completely withdrawn from the events of the war at the time, but we certainly weren't out to blow the hell out of Japan pre-Pearl Harbor. If they were so concerned about us, they should have kept their planes far away.

For a country that so ruthlessly fought their battles (hell, they trained pilots to sacrifice their lives by kamakazi'ing into warships), you'd think they could respect the ruthless way in which we called an end to the situation.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

Tokyo (4.00 / 3) (#48)
by electricbarbarella on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:20:12 AM EST

all we did was drop a couple bombs.

A COUPLE bombs? the firebombing of Tokyo killed more people than, if I recall correctly, Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Granted, it wasn't as bad as Dresden, Germany where we firebombed it TWICE just to make sure, but it was still bad.

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
[ Parent ]
Language problem (none / 0) (#108)
by FnordLord on Thu May 03, 2001 at 02:34:18 PM EST

kamakazi'ing
The term is kamikaze. Kami means god, and kaze means wind. Therefore, kamikaze refers to divine winds. The term dates back to the Mongol's attempted invasion of Japan, where their entire fleet was sunk by a taifu.

[ Parent ]
Japan and the United States (4.50 / 2) (#59)
by Alarmist on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:54:49 PM EST

Pearl Harbour was a military target of a country Japan had a good reason to be threatened by.

And why was Japan threatened by the United States?

Because the United States wanted Japan to keep its mitts off China. That's why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Japan invaded China because they wanted Manchuria and all the goodies there. Next they wanted the Dutch East Indies, mostly because of the rubber and oil available there. All of this would have made Japan a much stronger country, and their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere would have encompassed a healthy chunk of Asia when all was said and done.

The problem, though, is that the United States didn't like that idea and said so. When the Japanese ignored our demands for their departure from China, we instituted an oil and steel embargo against them. After a little while, this really started to strain the Japanese economy, since Japan has few resources of its own and was trying to conduct a war against a larger foe at the time.

Negotiations went nowhere, and the Japanese decided to go to war. It was hoped that the battle could be kept to six months or less, and would discourage the US from interfering in Japanese foreign policy.

It didn't happen that way, though. Despite getting our asses handed to us more than once in 1941 and early 1942, we came back and beat the Japanese, while we were focusing more effort on the Germans and Italians.

Rest assured that there was no love lost between us and the Japanese during that time; if they'd had the means, the Japanese probably would have been butchering our civilians as well. Their record of activities in Asia and the Pacific islands shows that they would have had no problem with that.

I don't like the fact that we bombed Japanese civilians, but I understand why we did it and I understand the necessity that forced it. An invasion of the home islands would have been extraordinarily costly in human terms on both sides, and in the end, Halsey's prediction on his return to Pearl Harbor after the bombing might have come true: "The Japanese language will be spoken only in hell."


[ Parent ]

You're kidding, right? (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by Alarmist on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:18:41 AM EST

The US try to pretend that Pearl Harbour was some great act of agression in order to hide the fact that they completely ignored the war until it started affecting them.

Is this a troll?

The United States was regularly escorting British convoys by 1941; the Lend-Lease act was modified in the same year (before Pearl Harbor) to allow export of munitions to Britain. On 10 April 1941, a US destroyer attacked a German sub. In fact, pretty much throughout 1941, the United States was involved in the war in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Flying Tigers were organized in China, equipped and funded by the United States, and flown by US pilots in 1940.

One of the big reasons why tensions were high between Japan and the United States to begin with was the US oil and steel embargo against Japan because of the empire's activities in China.

These actions are not consistent with a nation that was ignoring the developments in the war.


[ Parent ]

reality check (3.33 / 3) (#58)
by onyxruby on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:26:39 PM EST

The attack on Pearl Harbor wiped out most of the Pacific fleet. It was only sheer coincidence that the carriers were not in the harbor that day.

As for ignoring the war, have you ever heard of liberty ships or the lend lease act? Both of these were in full action before the US entered WWII. If you would like a nice detailed list of just what the US did and didn't do before the war, check this out.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

what are they going to do... (4.00 / 4) (#16)
by delmoi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:10:36 AM EST

I don't see that they should avoid building a bigger and better military. What are they going to do -- attack the United States? Invade Germany? Nuke the French?

Attack China (again)?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Nanking (3.66 / 3) (#42)
by your_desired_username on Tue May 01, 2001 at 09:06:45 AM EST

Go read up on Japan's atrocities in north-eastern China. Japan did not start with Pearl Harbor. Manchuria, Taipei, and the Philipines were all taken before Pearl Harbor - Pearl Harbor was the begining of the end for facist Japan.

[ Parent ]
facism (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by alprazolam on Tue May 01, 2001 at 03:47:15 PM EST

japan was not facist. colonizing, ambitious, dangerous..yes. nationalism does not equal fascism.

[ Parent ]
Douglass MacArthur (2.27 / 11) (#20)
by delmoi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 01:23:08 AM EST

Does anyone else think that Douglass MacArthur pretty much just wanted to take over all of Asia?

Personally, I think it would have been kind of cool if we (the us) Annexed Japan as a whole. Maybe not the best thing, or the most politically prudent, but still kinda cool.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Why would the U.S. annexation of Japan... (4.50 / 2) (#82)
by tofuhead on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:08:55 AM EST

...have been cool?

I'll assume it's because you might like Japanese stuff. Thing is, Japanese stuff (anime, food, consumer electronics, whatever) is cool because it is produced by Japanese people in Japan to suit Japanese tastes, not American ones. To have been annexed by the U.S. would have had a negative effect on Japanese culture IMO. The American melting pot homogenizes, after all.

< tofuhead >

[ Parent ]

Homogenizes? Yeah, right... (none / 0) (#100)
by MrSmithers on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:35:34 PM EST

What? Maybe in theory in the ideal world, but in reality the different cultures in the US mostly isolate themselves into groups.

It would be cool if that were true though. Most cultures around here could learn a great deal from each other if they would stop being proud of themselves long enough to listen...

[ Parent ]
Yep, homogenizes (none / 0) (#102)
by tofuhead on Wed May 02, 2001 at 08:00:39 PM EST

I didn't mean it in the "shiny happy people holding hands" sense. I meant it in the "we all watch the same TV shows and there is only one model of beauty" sense.

Compare Americanized Chinese food to what you can get in Hong Kong or Southern China. I like both, but they are nothing like each other. Same applies to pop culture, family traditions, art, etc. Everything changes when you adopt Americanism.

BTW, I don't hate the U.S. (I'm Asian-American, born and raised here), but when I hear the term "Americanization," what registers in my brain is "popularization through appeal to the lowest common denominator." That's what would have happened to an annexed Japan.

< tofuhead >

[ Parent ]

Depends on your definition... (none / 0) (#120)
by MrSmithers on Thu May 10, 2001 at 08:32:17 PM EST

Hmm, interesting... Is this really homogenization or simply corporatism gone out of control?

Kind of scary to think the only thing everybody has in common is the "popular" culture forced upon them by the media giants...

Japan has a pretty mean corporate presence too. Might be interesting to see who would "win" in such a battle for the control of hundreds of millions of minds (and pocketbooks :). Probably Japan since their buildings can just turn into giant robots :P


[ Parent ]
Could They? Yes. Should They? Well... (4.87 / 8) (#27)
by SPrintF on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:04:37 AM EST

As other correspondents have observed, the JSDF is already a significant military force. And it's long past time that the US gave up its military holdings in Okinawa. Freed from the restrictions of its Constitution, Japan might become more international in its outlook.

However, there's no denying that Japan's neighbors, particularly Korea and China, would be very nervous about a more active Japan. It's not unlikely that a stronger Japan might provoke these nations to an even more intensive military buildup. And an arms race in Asia is in nobody's best interests.



Oh yes it is... (4.00 / 7) (#35)
by deefer on Tue May 01, 2001 at 05:20:18 AM EST

And an arms race in Asia is in nobody's best interests.

Apart from Racal, Boeing, Logica, Heckler & Koch... Need I go on?


Strong data typing is for weak minds.

[ Parent ]

Just cos i modded you up... (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by pallex on Wed May 02, 2001 at 11:14:32 AM EST

...doesnt mean i agree with your sig file (however, Voltaire and all that...)

[ Parent ]
NP (none / 0) (#106)
by deefer on Thu May 03, 2001 at 11:36:02 AM EST

No probs. At least you're prepared to mod me up, even though you might disagree with what I might have to say. That, to me, is the mark of a quality moderation, and moderator.


Strong data typing is for weak minds.

[ Parent ]
A more international Japan (3.50 / 2) (#52)
by Armaphine on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:17:10 AM EST

China & Korea would be more afraid of Japan? I'm afraid that you may be mistaken in this one... Japan, in the period before WW2, pissed off a lot of countries in Asia, such as China, Korea (Both of them), and the Phillipines. Now, granted, the US pulling out of Okinawa would basically allow the Japanese to build up a force, but I have serious doubts about how fast they could build up a sufficent force to defend against everyone that would want a piece of Japan.

As it stands right now, the US has an obligation to protect Japan. Remove the US, and you've removed the threat of US retailation against the attacking country.

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

Nit (none / 0) (#109)
by a clockwork llama on Thu May 03, 2001 at 10:11:05 PM EST

Japan, in the period before WW2, pissed off a lot of countries in Asia, such as China, Korea (Both of them), and the Phillipines.

Korea was divided during the Korean War, which was in the 1950's and well after WWII. I'm sure you're aware of that, but your original statement was a tad misleading.



[ Parent ]
The two Koreas (none / 0) (#115)
by exotherm on Sat May 05, 2001 at 03:09:48 PM EST

Hm, I tend to think that Communists organized before their 'claim to fame' conflicts. For instance, the Korean War happened shortly after WWII and the Communists must have formed around then, possibly in retaliation to Japanese imperialism (IIRC, Japan occupied Korea for some time prior to WWII). I'm probably not making any sense here, so I'll cut to the point: the Japanese occupation is probably the cause of the rise of Communism in Korea, leading to the war and division of Korea.
Those who can are driven mad by those who can't.
[ Parent ]
That part is correct (none / 0) (#117)
by a clockwork llama on Sun May 06, 2001 at 02:36:03 PM EST

In Korea, China, and Southeast Asia, the Communists were the leaders of the underground resistance against the Japanese during WWII. As a result, they obtained the requisite experience, arms, and popular support to stage revolutions shortly after the end of the war - ultimately leading to the PRC/Taiwan and North/South Korea splits.

[ Parent ]
Nationalist Wackos (4.66 / 6) (#32)
by Bad Harmony on Tue May 01, 2001 at 03:21:00 AM EST

Does Japan still have the nationalist wackos that used to drive around Japanese cities in sound trucks, spouting militarist propoganda at high volume?

Those are the people who scare me. They also seemed to be associated with the efforts to sanitize the history books used in Japanese shools.

54º40' or Fight!

Different means, same end. (none / 0) (#75)
by Mad Hughagi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 09:18:34 PM EST

The same nationalist wackos in Japan work over here in North America as well, it's just that they obfuscate their message under a few layers of socially accepted dogma.

In any case I'd rather face the enemy that acknowledges his dislike for me than the one that works in the shadows.

I find this article to be rather sensationalist. The Japanese have done nothing to assert themselves militarily in the last 50 years, while "peace-giving" countries (read it any way you please) have had their way in almost every given conflict.

It just seems funny that so many people are pointing fingers at the Japanese when they fail to take the actions of their own "Nation" into account. Continue to distance yourselves from other people and you will instigate the response that you expect.


HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

Heh. (4.22 / 9) (#34)
by harb on Tue May 01, 2001 at 05:10:13 AM EST

I still have this really paranoid feeling, sometimes, that I'm going to wake up and look out my window... and see a bunch of mecha tromping by, with red sun emblems on their chests.

Because I think, deep down, we all know that Japan has a huge force of mechs stashed away somewhere...

bda.

China applauds .. (2.75 / 4) (#37)
by Highlander on Tue May 01, 2001 at 06:42:28 AM EST

I think any militarism in Japan is a giveaway to chinese nationalists. There are a few areas in the mid-to-south pacific where Japan could call a war without getting it stuffed back down their throat, but for what kind of profit ?

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
Not Could, Will (4.50 / 6) (#54)
by MrAcheson on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:28:54 AM EST

First of all since Japan is the second largest economic power in the world, the obviously could become a major military power as well. The question is will they choose to break away from the strictly defensive stance their current military, the Japanese Self Defense Force, is essentially given by their consititution or not. Some people are indicating that Japan has refused to be aggressive lately, but then again they aren't allowed to be aggressive by their own constitution. The question is then what will Japan do without this restriction.

Now the problem I see is that the causes of WWII are basically still present in Japan. The Japanese basically initiated the conflict because of two reasons, national ambition and raw materials.

Ever since the Russo-Japanese war, Japan had been seeking to be recognized as a world power. In many cases they were, but not to the same level as the US or Britain and not to the satisfaction of the Japanese who still felt like they were being slighted. So they basically ignored the treaties they disliked and went about proving to the world that they were a major power through conflict. Now this feeling of national superiority is still very much in evidence. Just watch Iron Chef sometime and really listen to the panel. There is a strong belief in the superiority of Japanese culture. This may not be a problem like it was, since Japan is the worlds second largest economy now, but it is still something present in their society.

As for materials, Japan is an island after all, they have to import all their raw materials to feed their manufacturing base. This is still the case and most likely will always be the case. Because of this Japan will always be at least partially at the mercy of their suppliers unless they go out and acquire new territory. So this issue is still here as well.

In short, while I like the Japanese I don't exactly trust them. They have many incentives to become an aggressive power once again.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


Cultural superiority (none / 0) (#118)
by driptray on Mon May 07, 2001 at 03:07:00 AM EST

Just watch Iron Chef sometime and really listen to the panel. There is a strong belief in the superiority of Japanese culture.

I'm an Australian living in Japan, and I agree with you on this point. However if you really want to look at a nation that has an inflated sense of cultural superiority, then the USA is Number 1. Not only that, they've got the military to enforce whatever their superior culture tells them the world needs.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
No military is really significant (4.00 / 5) (#60)
by weirdling on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:38:42 PM EST

In a nuclear age. I doubt that even Japan's legendary expansionistic tendencies could overcome the fact that China's nuclear arsenal is a wee bit close to ignore.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Tell that to (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by Woundweavr on Tue May 01, 2001 at 07:25:45 PM EST

Tell that to Yugoslavia, Chechnya(sic), and Iraq.

While there won't likely be a full scale war in which Japan is the defender (the only one in the region with the might is China). However, they could still take small nations and provide a check to other east/southeast Asian countries(China, N Korea). This would increase their power and thus indirectly add to their other non aggresive goals, which I think is the real motive.

[ Parent ]

Japan and The Bomb (none / 0) (#116)
by exotherm on Sat May 05, 2001 at 03:15:06 PM EST

No, please don't mention that certain reference to that certain game.

Anyway, Japan does have the capability of producing nuclear weapons (some might argue they have some materials secretly stored away for emergency purposes). Why else would our gov't oppose sales of nuclear power plants to countries we're suspicious of?
Those who can are driven mad by those who can't.
[ Parent ]

We can't trust the judgement of the Japanese (4.25 / 8) (#61)
by plutarch on Tue May 01, 2001 at 03:15:39 PM EST

They are deliberately ignoring their own history, rather than learn from it, and are therefore doomed to repeat it. Evidence:

Japanase textbooks distort the facts to make Japan look better.


Leftism is the ideology of resentment. It is is the ideology of the frustrated will to power. It matters not how much or how little power the Leftist has at the moment. The point is, he wants more, and he can't get it.

Hrm (2.00 / 3) (#69)
by delmoi on Tue May 01, 2001 at 06:23:01 PM EST

That's a pretty far-reaching statement...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
There was also the quake (4.80 / 10) (#70)
by DontTreadOnMe on Tue May 01, 2001 at 06:28:28 PM EST

I lived in Japan for about 7 months, separated into two trips of roughly 3 and 4 month durations respectively. It is a lovely country, the people are for the most part kind, and the streets of Tokyo are some of the safest in the world. That having been said, there are negatives ... including a well entrenched racism in some respects remeniscent of South Africa during Apartheid, or the United States up until the mid sixties. To their credit, the young people of Japan seem to be much less racist/sexist than their elders, but it is by no means absent even among the more open minded youth (just as it is, alas, not absent among the young in America either, though I would argue that the differences in both breadth and depth of the problem are dramatic, and in this case do not favor Japan).

With that bit of background to illuminate any biases I may have, for the reader to judge, I would like to point out an interesting bit of history which demonstrates the kind of historical editing and rewriting the previous post alluded to. In the early 20th there was a major quake in which more than a hundred thousand people were killed. However, only thirty thousand or so died because of the quake ... the other tens of thousands were gaijin murdered by mobs enraged that they had "brought down the wrath of the gods" onto Japan by their presence.

This is interesting in several lights. For one, after the quake in Kyoto back in the mid-nineties foreigners and Japanese worked together and gave mutual aid, a dramatic (and positive) contrast to the previous history. It is also interesting that authorities watched the situation very closely, in no small part due to concerns of a repeat of earlier behavior. What disturbs me about this is, as the previous poster pointed out (in less than diplomatic terms), the true history of what happened isn't taught. The historical atrocity is glossed over by the general statistic ("100,000 died in the quake"), leaving the majority to assume massive death through natural causes and deleting the truth entirely from the history books without uttering a single outright lie.

The revisionism of world war II is another concern (if Germany were doing anything even remotely similiar there would be a great outcry from the whole of the western world). Without incorporating the lessons of history, however painful, into one's society one is most certainly doomed to repeat it. Examples of this can be seen in the different attitudes between western and eastern Germans, for example, where the one group was forced to confront their national guilt vis-a-vis the Holocaust for three generaitons while the other swept it under the rug, blaming the "evil west."

A Japan honest with itself about its own history wouldn't concern me, even as a military power. But one which ignores and denies its own history worries me now, and would concern me even more were it to begin a military buildup.


--
http://openflick.org - Fighting Copyright with Free Media
[ Parent ]
Hi Pot! My name's Kettle... (3.00 / 1) (#95)
by ttfkam on Wed May 02, 2001 at 12:53:27 PM EST

When was the last time you saw a U.S. public school textbook document the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII? How about explicit examples of broken treaties with Native Americans? What about that George Washington (and many other founding fathers) was not a level-headed strategist but rather a mean-spirited, short-tempered asshole (although as assholes go, he was a pretty good one ;)). What about the brave individuals at the Alamo who were in fact invaders and in no way justified in their actions? The suprise attack from the U.S. that initiated the Spanish-American War also comes to mind even though the U.S. still celebrates Memorial Day, the "day that will live in infamy.

Think hard. Did you learn about these things from magazine articles or straight from your teacher, or were they explicitly mentioned in a textbook?

I know of no countries that avoid doing this in some form or another.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
My US History books practically said the US is evi (4.50 / 2) (#99)
by brion on Wed May 02, 2001 at 05:23:33 PM EST

When was the last time you saw a U.S. public school textbook document the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII?

When I was a public high school student, mid 1990s.

How about explicit examples of broken treaties with Native Americans?

Don't remember specific examples of broken treaties, but certainly plenty of general oppression. Andrew Jackson ignoring the Supreme Court and having the military force-march thousands of NA's to open up the land for white settlement, however, does come to mind. (The famous "Trail of Tears" - we covered this both in 8th and 11th grades, though with more detail on the executive vs judicial branch conflict in 11th) Was there a treaty involved there? Dunno, but it sure was nasty.

What about that George Washington (and many other founding fathers) was not a level-headed strategist but rather a mean-spirited, short-tempered asshole (although as assholes go, he was a pretty good one ;)).

Honestly, we didn't really go into their personalities... but of course, most of them were nasty evil slave-owners! (Gasp!) And they just didn't want to pay their taxes. :)

What about the brave individuals at the Alamo who were in fact invaders and in no way justified in their actions?

Y'know, I don't actually remember the Alamo being mentioned by name when we studied the Mexican-American war. However the impression I got of the whole affair was that US settlers in Texas did their darndest over several years to provoke the Mexican army, giving the US an excuse to send in troops to "protect" the Americans there, thus further aggravating Mexico into an all-out war so that the US could seize and annex additional land in the Southwest which could become slave states by virtue of their southern location, thus upsetting the free vs slave state balance. Most northerners weren't too enthused about that war...

The suprise attack from the U.S. that initiated the Spanish-American War also comes to mind even though the U.S. still celebrates Memorial Day, the "day that will live in infamy.

I'll admit I don't know what battle you're talking about specifically, but certainly there was no evidence that the Spanish caused the sinking of the USS Maine (and in fact some evidence that it was simply an accident due to poor maintenence). It was purely a war to flex our military might and get in on the imperialism action that we were missing. And of course to sell newspapers. :)

Think hard. Did you learn about these things from magazine articles or straight from your teacher, or were they explicitly mentioned in a textbook?

Japanese internment - textbooks. Blatant disregard of Native American rights - textbook. American aggression before Mexican war - textbook. Spanish-American war bits - textbook. Alas I don't have the particular textbooks anymore (school-owned, we had to give them back at the end of each year) so I can't cite them for ya.



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
What about... (3.50 / 2) (#101)
by nurikochan on Wed May 02, 2001 at 07:32:34 PM EST

...the Pay of Pigs and the Cuban Missle Crisis? Kennedy basically gave weapons to some rebels and said "Attack Cuba." (In all honesty, Kennedy only approved it, it was the CIA that organized it in conjunction w/ Kennedy's predescesor, but still...)

[ Parent ]
Sure about your data? (none / 0) (#112)
by davidduncanscott on Sat May 05, 2001 at 12:39:05 PM EST

The suprise attack from the U.S. that initiated the Spanish-American War also comes to mind even though the U.S. still celebrates Memorial Day, the "day that will live in infamy.
OK, enlighten me: what the hell are you talking about?

Memorial Day honors the dead of the American Civil War, and was later expanded to include all Americans killed in battle. Although the war with Spain is not excluded, the holiday certainly wasn't created for it.

And what "surprise attack" are you talking about? The only engagements I can find occurred after war was declared and both countries knew what was going on. What did I miss?

The "day that will live in infamy" was December 7, 1941, when the Japanese (say, we were just talking about them, weren't we?) bombed Pearl Harbor and invaded the Philipines (acquired by the US during the Spanish-Amercian War, of course -- small world, ain't it?)

I'm starting to wonder about some of your textbooks...

[ Parent ]

Why? (5.00 / 2) (#92)
by ucblockhead on Wed May 02, 2001 at 12:22:18 PM EST

Could they? Yes, easily. Hell, I once read a pretty convincing essay that claimed that Japan could have nuclear armed ICBMs in six months time if they really wanted to.

But why should they? By staying relatively unarmed, they essentially get protection from what is by far the biggest military power in the world. The only thing they'd save by ramping up their military is US tax dollars. I can't imagine why they'd want to do that.

I can imagine why the US would want it pretty badly, but...
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Perhaps the rescession (none / 0) (#121)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Mon May 14, 2001 at 08:07:36 AM EST

may offer the cure to this. if/when Japan overjumps the US's economy what would happen? if over 50% of americans become unemployed, and civil war is imminent...then what? i know it's mostly stupid what ifs...but...really...its just a thought
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Could Japan raise a signifigant military again? | 121 comments (113 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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