Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Japan plays the race card

Nothing unusual though. Any criticism of Japan, valid or not, sooner or later is answered with charges of racism, at least when it involves Americans. In the past, many of these charges were expressed in English by western apologists for Japan.

Congressman Mike Honda who is the author of the resolution calling on Japan to expresslu and officially apologize for forcing women into sexual slavery to entertain the Japanese military is of Japanese ancestory. He is no being accused of being a racist, but since race is one of the most important things about people to many in Japan, some think that he should not criticize Japan in any way. (Yes, a huge percentage of folks here consider the Japanese to be a separate race.) He has also been accused of being a Chinese agent---most likely by the nutjob rightwingers here.

The resolution was also drawing sometimes surprising reaction in Japan, making Mr. Honda one of the most famous American congressmen in his ancestral land and riling Japan’s conservatives. They have accused a bemused Mr. Honda, 65, of being an agent of a Chinese government bent on humiliating Japan on American soil. During one television interview, an announcer asked Mr. Honda how he could back such a resolution when he has a Japanese face.

“I told her I could have a black face, a brown face, a white face — I could be Mexican, I could be Indian — it doesn’t matter,” Mr. Honda recalled. From the New York Times by Norimitsu Onishi here

I can't believe that he really expects Japan to apologize for the sex slave issue or any other atrocity/war crime it has been found to have committed. The trend is very strongly in the opposite direction. It is trying to deny more and more of what it did. This year, the government ordered school textbook publishers to remove references that the Imperial Japanese Army ordered Okinawan civilians to commit suicide during the invasion there. Unfortunately for the nutjobs in power, many survivors who have Japanese faces say otherwise.

BY the way, Onishi has written numerous articles this year critical of Abe and Japan's distortions and denials. Its lies. He has a Japanese face too. Does that mean he is not really Japanese? Is there, or is there not a tradition and acceptance of free speech in Japan. Only if you are a rightwing nutjob.

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