Japan’s less-than-wholehearted remorse for its World War II-era atrocities has long been an unhealed wound in its relations with neighbours. The bruise is throbbing anew with the approach of August 15, the 70th anniversary of the announcement of Japan’s surrender.
China’s ambassador to Tokyo revived the topic July 23, when he pointedly advised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who plans to deliver a speech marking the anniversary — to convey genuine contrition for the suffering caused by Japan’s aggression. “We will be watching how Japan sums up its past and shows sincerity to the victimised countries,” said the ambassador.
Abe and other Japanese leaders have acknowledged their country’s crimes during the war, but their apologies have tended to be grudging or awkward. Frequently they have been undermined by truculent rationalisations…
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