Film director Oliver Stone, left, and Peter Kuznick, associate professor of

History Department at American University in Boston, outside the Atomic

Dome, a landmark of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.



Oliver Stone Tells Japan: 'Admit Wrongs; Stand Up to U.S.' (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan)


"The truth is difficult in both countries, but history must be remembered ... Japan should apologize to China for what it did ... We need people to stand up to the United States as a regional power balance. ... Japan has lost its way. I don't know what you stand for."


-- Film Director Oliver Stone


Japan - Mainichi Shimbun, Japan - Original Article (English)

Director Oliver Stone, in Japan to promote his documentary series The Untold History of the United States, admonished Japanese to reckon with the truth, make amends to those it harmed during and before WWII, and to question U.S. directives more forcefully.


CCTV NEWS VIDEO, CHINA [STATE RUN]: German government makes efforts to eliminate Nazism; Why can't Japan act in the same way with its past?, Aug. 15, 00:03:10 RealVideo

On Aug. 12, U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo, called on both the U.S. and Japan, rather than avoid painful truths, to admit to the unsavory aspects of their own histories. He also urged Japan to be more outspoken with the United States.


Stone, whose films are known for hard-hitting critiques of his country's foreign policies, had just returned from visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where he attended atomic bombing remembrance ceremonies and met with hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors). He is now touring Japan with U.S. history professor Peter Kuznick, his co-collaborator on the 2012 television documentary The Untold History of the United States - currently airing on NHK - which undertakes a critical historical review of U.S. aggression and invasions.


He said the predominant view in the United States - which holds that the atomic bombings were necessary to end WWII and to save lives, and characterizes Japanese as fanatics who would have otherwise resisted surrender - are "all lies."


"In the atomic bombings, we find everything that is wrong with the United States: the lying, the official denial, the censorship," Stone said.


Stone told the press conference that he grew up in a conservative Republican household in New York City, and later served in the Vietnam War - coming home an "alienated, numbed-out survivor" before he began studying filmmaking.


He explained how "deeply affected" he was by the U.S. Watergate scandal, as well as by revelations of government spying and information collection on citizens that came to light during the subsequent Church Committee hearings.


Stone went on to utilize his wartime experience and the critical reasoning that led him to cover territory few other filmmakers had explored, fathering an impressive lineup of films on issues like U.S. foreign policy in South America (Salvador, South of the Border), the inside story behind several U.S. presidents (JFK, Nixon, W.), and a trilogy of award-winning films on the Vietnam War (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Heaven and Earth).


Kuznick said during the press conference that, "Japan should be leading the fight to get rid of nuclear weapons." He added that he hoped to see the country play a leading role in conflict resolution that "shows the vision of Japan with its peace constitution - and its commitment to non-nuclear resolution, rather than to the U.S. nuclear umbrella."


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Every summer since 1995, with the assistance of the Vancouver-based Peace Philosophy Centre, Kuznick has brought U.S. students to Japan to visit the two atom-bombed cities. He said that students consistently "respond purely, emotionally and viscerally" to the experience of visiting the cities and meeting with hibakusha, which they describe as "life-changing experiences."


Most students in the U.S., however, are not afforded such a perspective of the atomic bombings.


"The problem with U.S. history, in my opinion, is that it is sanitized. It's like a Disney movie," Stone commented. "There is no questioning of the moral imagination in the United States; of what was lacking in Truman."


Stone also explained that the reception to the documentary in the United States has largely been a chilly one.


"Although we did get great progressive press coverage, the mainstream press in the United States was not kind to us," Stone said. "They ignored us. It's really sad."


Stone and Kuznick also spoke on Aug. 11, at a discussion sponsored by the New Diplomacy Initiative, a think tank that is being launched in order to propose policies related to Japan-U.S. relations by bringing a diverse array of voices into the political arena.


Stone observed during the event that historical forgetfulness was not only a U.S. problem, noting that he was similarly disturbed to find that Japan had not engaged in a proper reckoning of history by admitting to its wartime colonial brutality against other Asian countries.


"The truth is difficult in both countries, but history must be remembered," he said. "Japan should apologize to China for what it did," he added, saying that Japan could achieve greatness and respect by disassociating itself from the United States and moving closer to China.

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Kuznick agreed, pointing out that one war has led to the next as history has failed to be properly addressed.


"Our goal is to inspire a movement in the United States, Japan, China, Russia, Latin America, and all over the world, for people to understand their real history rather than the history of empire, which is always a lie," he said. "We don't learn the lessons, we repeat the mistakes - and the planet is not going to survive if this is the way we deal with problems."


Stone and Kuznick are now in Okinawa, where they are meeting with citizens who are opposed to the heavy presence of U.S. military bases in the prefecture.


"The anti-base movement in Okinawa is absolutely essential for combating U.S. empire," Kuznick emphasized, referring to the global U.S. empire of bases as lily pads used "to control the land, sea, air, space, outer space, and cyberspace." He also noted that the arrangement in Okinawa is weighted to the benefit of the United States, which angers the locals.


"I want to see Japan stand up for its own interests," he said.


Stone expressed similar views. "We need people to stand up to the United States as a regional power balance," he emphasized, noting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's tendencies toward nationalism and historical forgetfulness.


"Japan has lost its way," he said. "I don't know what you stand for."


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Aug. 15, 2013, 2:49pm