Japan Emperor Hirohito: Because he never faced trial and never

to Japan's crimes against humanity, Japanese leaders been able

to avoid doing so ever since. Was America's decision to spare

him a war crimes trial ultimately mistaken?



America's Shielding of Emperor Hirohito Behind Japan's Denial of History (JoongAng Ilbo, South Korea)


"General Douglas MacArthur opposed Hirohito's trial out of a conviction that with the emperor as a symbolic figurehead, a defeated Japan would better obey and cooperate with allied forces. ... U.S. president [Harry Truman] agreed to MacArthur’s plan and protected the emperor from conviction. ... A lot would be different if Hirohito was questioned and tried. He could have acknowledged Japan’s militarist excesses and left an apology on the historical record. If so, his water carriers, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, would not have the audacity to deny this past."


By Kim Jin


May 1, 2013


South Korea - JoongAng Ilbo - Original Article (English)

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: As friction with China and North Korea grows, Abe, the most right-wing Japanese leader in years, wants to revise Japan's post-war constitution for the first time. After decades as one of the world's most peaceful nations, can Japan again be trusted to have a national military?

CCTV, CHINA [STATE-RUN]: 'Japan's brutal war crimes,' Dec. 12, 2012, 00:04:00 RealVideo

History undeniably records that during its invasion of Asia, the Empire of Japan was guilty of committing crimes against humanity just as heinous as the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews. During the 20th century, Asia shed unimaginable blood and tears due to the military excesses of Japanese imperialism. If not for Japan’s militaristic and chauvinistic ambitions, the Korean Peninsula would not have been severed. Today, ours remains a land divided and we continue living under a threat of war.


The innocent souls massacred by Japanese militarists throughout Asia still can't rest in peace. That is because even 70 years after the war, Japan refuses to show genuine remorse and take responsibility for its imperialist past. Recently, historical bitterness and resentments have flared again. The nationalistic tone and gestures of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his cabinet and ruling Liberal Democratic Party politicians are fanning the flames, having exposed their nationalistic colors and summoning the military imperialist ghost of the past. Their actions amount to a denial of history and a renewed crime against humanity.


World leaders are partly to blame for Japan’s lack of shame or sense of guilt. Japan has never been sufficiently questioned or punished for its war crimes. When the 20th century began, heads of state accused of launching invasions were brought to justice. German Kaiser Wilhelm II ignited World War I by launching bellicose foreign campaigns in Europe. In the postwar Treaty of Versailles, the allies charged him with being a war criminal to try him at a special tribunal. And even if that tribunal never materialized because Holland refused to extradite him, world leaders had nevertheless publicly condemned him and sought to prosecute him.


Nations responsible for causing history’s deadliest conflict, which devastated most of Europe and Asia, were Germany, Italy and Japan. In 1945, after they were defeated, Adolf Hitler committed suicide before being arrested, and his body was burned. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was hunted down and shot by anti-fascists, and his body and those of other fascists were publicly hung and stoned. Japanese war leader Emperor Hirohito was the only one who managed to escape blame and punishment.


As in the Nuremberg Trials, Japanese generals and politicians faced allied judges at special tribunals in Tokyo to answer for crimes against humanity. Among the allies, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and Australia demanded that Japan's emperor be tried and prosecuted. But General Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the allied powers, opposed the trial out of a conviction that with the emperor as a symbolic figurehead, a defeated Japan would better obey and cooperate with allied forces. The emperor could not maintain his god-like influence over the Japanese people if he were convicted of war crimes. So the U.S. president [Harry Truman] agreed to MacArthur’s plan and protected the emperor from conviction.


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Twenty-eight other war leaders were brought before the court. Leading the group of “Class A” war criminals was General Hideki Tojo, a hard-line militarist who served as prime minister and led most of Japan's campaigns of aggression. Tojo and other commanders tried to protect their emperor from accountability, just as America wished. But the emperor was the statutory head of the state under Japan's constitution - and its commander in chief. Without the endorsement of the emperor, Japan could not have launched a war. In 1941, after an imperial conference sanctioned war against the United States, the emperor signed an order to attack Pearl Harbor.


Today, Korean, American, Chinese and Japanese academics are critical of the immunity from prosecution accorded Emperor Hirohito. Narahiko Toyoshita, a former law professor at Kyoto University who wrote Hirohito and MacArthur, said the Tokyo trials were a collaboration between the Americans and Japanese to dump wartime onus on the Tojo clan to protect the real war culprits.


“Since then, it has become taboo to associate war crimes with the Emperor,” Toyoshita says.


A lot would be different if Emperor Hirohito was questioned and tried at the international tribunal. He could have acknowledged Japan’s militarist excesses and left an apology on the historical record. If so, his water carriers, including Abe, would not have had the audacity to deny this past. Traditionally, the emperor has been at the center of Japanese society and its people. He has been the subject of adoration like a deity-like and father-like figure. No one among his people or children could deny something their "deity" had admitted.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


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In 1995, then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized for Japan’s wartime aggression and colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Now, Abe wants to revise that statement to make it less apologetic in tone. Because they are of the same prime ministerial status, Abe is allowed to reinterpret what Murayama said. But he would never have dared challenge the words of the emperor.


The Japanese military killed and burned Korea's queen [in 1895]. Its infamous Army Unit 731 committed genocide against innocent citizens and prisoners. It conducted horrific biological and chemical experiments on living human beings, describing them as maruta - or “logs.” They massacred thousands of Chinese in Nanjing and Singapore. More than a million Koreans and Chinese were forcibly recruited to serve the Japanese army in labor and sex camps. As long as Asia exists, Japan’s war crimes cannot be erased and forgotten. Its violated and wounded souls will haunt Japanese leaders until they sincerely admit to their past wrongdoing and repent.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US May 1, 2013, 4:47pm




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