It turns out the Sino-Japan War lasted eight years (7-7-1937 to 9-9-1945, when the Japanese army surrendered to the Chinese) despite of an on-going internal Chinese revolution seeking control to form a republic China. August 15th 1945 is remembered worldwide as the ending of WW II but rarely people count exactly when the various wars started or how many years had passed since the ending. It is quite normal that people personally not engaged in the wars only remember one historical date, August 15th, 1945, as the ending day of WW II. May 8th, 1945 is celebrated as Victory-Europe Day (May 7th in Great Britain) when Nazi Germany surrendered. Post WW II, the German government sincerely apologized for the war the Nazi Germany inflicted on the other nations. Not only the war was atrocious but the Nazi army targeted the Jews and killed close to 6 million Jews in various countries. The German people through their government showed remorse and apologized for their war crimes. The Germans compensated and paid reparations to war victims and/or their dependents/descendants. The Germans were forgiven and no one keeps asking the Germans and their future generations to apologize for the war crimes committed in the past. Why?! The Germans sincerely apologized and built war memorials to tell the world and their future generations the truth and the world accepted it. That is as simple as that.
Why are the Asian people, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Philippines, the Singaporeans, the Malaysians, the Indonesians and even people in Indo-China, Thais, Vietnamese and all Asian people including Russians not only celebrating the WW II victory day but also counting the years how long ago it happened? The answer again is simple. The war perpetrator, the Imperial Japan, had never made a sincere apology to the countries that were victimized by Japan's war crimes. Estimated 10 million people were killed by the Imperial Japanese Army in China and South East Asia. Japan committed more atrocious crimes than the Nazi Germany did with more varieties and cruelty, for example, mass murdering and raping the civilians in the entire city of Nanking, subjecting entire villages to chemical and bacteria experiments, and forcing hundreds of thousands of women to be sex slaves to serve the Japanese army, in addition to wanton killings of babies, pregnant women and elderly as sporting games all documented by photos. What did the post war Japanese government do regarding these horrible war crimes? Throughout the past 70 years, the official statements are just veiled regrets and often coupled with denials of those war crimes ever happened. The Japanese governmental officials treated the voices of the war victims and their descendants and representatives as annoyances, refusing to even grant them a hearing in Japanese courts.
No formal apology by the Emperor of Japan and no apology ever issued by a prime minister to the victimized nations until 1972, when Kakuei Tanaka said in a joint communiqué to China: "The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself. Further, the Japanese side reaffirms its position that it intends to realize the normalization of relations between the two countries …. " On August 24, 1982, Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki said: "I am painfully aware of Japan's responsibility for inflicting serious damages [on Asian nations] during the past war." Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi issued more veiled statements regarding WW II and comfort women but he was also the one visited the Yasukuni Shrine (2006) to worship the war criminals. So did Abe Shinzo, the current Prime Minister, in 2007 and 2013 which angered China and S. Korea and annoyed the U.S. While Abe issued another veiled statement regarding WW II and stayed away on August 15 this year from Yasukuni but he made a donation instead. His wife Akie however made a visit on 8/17 and posted on her Facebook page. It is regrettable that the Japanese leaders did not wish to apologize for Japan’s war crimes but it is adding insult to injury by being hypocritical.
2015 is the 70th Anniversary of the Ending of WW II. More ceremonies worldwide are held to celebrate the victory date as well as to remember the war crimes and honor the war heroes. The author personally attended one, organized by a committee and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs of Los Angeles County, U.S.-China Institute, University of Southern California and US-China Forum, in the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles. In addition to exhibits and presenting memorial medallion to veterans, two symposia were held to advocate cooperative peace in Asia and to recall the heroic acts of the Allied forces working together between the United States and China. The reasons for holding these events are quite obvious: so long as Japan is white washing her textbooks about the war facts and the Japanese government is unwilling to make a straight sincere apology to accept the responsibility of WW II, the world is obligated to remind Japan to set the record straight. On August 15th, 2015, the Japanese Prime Minister again made a veiled statement expressing regrets but no sincere apology. Instead of making an honest statement that Asians and Americans expect, the Japanese government hosted her own ceremony emphasizing that the Japanese young generations are not responsible for the war therefore they should not be subjected to the demand of apology.
The world demands an official sincere apology from the leaders of Japan, their acceptance of the undeniable facts of the war crimes committed by Japan in WW II. Why is that so difficult? Sure, the Japanese kids today were not responsible for the war crimes of their ancestors but they do have the moral responsibility to know and acknowledge the war facts in the past and they deserve to have a government to offer them the truth. In Japan, there are citizens who believe they should be truthful to history and to the past especially on war crimes. Professor Saburo Ienaga (born in 1913 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, graduated from the Literature Department at Tokyo Imperial University (the present Tokyo University) in 1937, and became a teacher and was a teacher in a high school in Niigata when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941) has devoted a large part of his life to ensuring that the truth about what happened in Asia in WW II is known and remembered in his native Japan to the extent suing the Japanese Ministry of Education for censoring his textbook.
This year, 2015, more expanded memorial events on WW II, will drown out the pathetic cry of "Leave us (Japan) alone, haven't we apologized enough?" No, the world demands justice, deplores militarism, and wants peace not aggression. So long as, the current Japanese government is pushing to revise its peace constitution, to increase its military budget to build up its army, navy and air force and to brain wash the Japanese young people to deny history and to worship ‘war criminals’, the world will not leave Japan alone and will continue demanding her apology and behavior change. The 70th Anniversary of the Ending of WW II just held on 8/14 and 8/15 in the Los Angeles County and one planned for 9/3 in China are good examples to show that sentiment!