Sins of Omission

Japan’s Wars of Aggression

“Japan didn’t fight wars of aggression.  Only China now says so,” declared Yuko Tojo, the granddaughter of Japan’s wartime prime minister, Gen. Hideki Tojo, in an interview with the Japan Times in late June.  Yuko was half right.  Although Japan fought several wars of aggression, only China seems to raise the issue today.  America dropped the topic during the 1970’s.  By the 1980’s, the yen was up, and American memory, down, when the National Park Service introduced a new film for those visiting the Arizona Memorial.  I was astounded to hear the film’s narrator proclaim that Japan was simply defending her “unique culture” and that American sanctions had left the Japanese “with their backs to the wall.”  My letter to the Park Service never received a reply.

Yuko Tojo is now reiterating the revisionist theme, claiming that her grandfather and Japan were fighting a war of self-defense against the United States and other Western powers.  In invading China, she argues, Japan was only defending her interests secured after World War I.  China claims Japan killed 30 million Chinese doing so.  Although the numbers may be inflated to camouflage the communist massacres following the close of World War II, the Japanese certainly killed millions of Chinese and went far beyond simply defending their interests.


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