While Germany is regarded as an axis power that has really confronted its behavior and activities during World War II, Japan is not. That is what makes this editorial from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun so eye-opening. According to Asahi, Japan’s failure to acknowledge and alter the organization of Japanese society since its defeat 66 years ago has led not only to economic crisis, but the post-tsunami nuclear disaster that has yet to be resolved.
The Asahi Shimbun editorial says in part:
"A young officer muttered, "Those who fail to make progress never win under any conditions. A defeat is the best thing that could happen to us now. If we don't wake up now, how will we be ever be saved?"
"His country had effectively forced himself and other young officers into a meaningless death, but it seems that at least this officer still clung to hope.
"So have we achieved progress? Did we wake up? Have we been saved? August 15 marked the 66th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II.
In those days, the country sought a new enemy, despite already being caught up in the quicksand of the Sino-Japanese War. Since the United States was Japan's supplier of oil and other resources, it was unthinkable for Japan to dive headlong into a war against that country.
"Yet it was military professionals who self-servingly changed the narrative, calling it a war of survival and self-defense. They rallied the country around such slogans. Citizens, whipped up into a frenzy by earlier victories, answered the call and rallied around their military leaders. The pre-war pattern was repeated after the war.
"In the case of the bubble economy, responsibility lay with bureaucrats, who ignored an excess in the money supply; and with the public, where people capitalized on a boom in assets by snatching up real estate and stocks, thereby inflating prices far beyond their actual value.
"And now we have the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, along with power companies, closed their eyes to the realities of our quake-prone country. They released self-serving information that concealed inconvenient data. They also staged fake question and answer sessions to manipulate public opinion. This is just as bad as the wartime military propaganda that consisted of lie after lie about the war situation. It is a shame."
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