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–About the number of apologies:
From the [article you linked to:](http://nation.time.com/2012/12/11/why-japan-is-still-not-sorry-enough/)
> But Japan has been **far more repentant than is often credited**. Prime ministers have repeatedly offered apologies for their country’s misdeeds. Japan has sponsored joint historical research with both South Korea and China. Most Japanese school textbooks deal with issues like the Nanjing massacre and the colonial oppression of Koreans in a fairly open manner. Opinion polls suggests that most Japanese feel their country did things in Asia for which the country should apologize.
In fact, [Japan has issued **53** separate apologies](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan) (technically 51, but 53 if you count the two ‘clarification statements’, where they re-issued an apology) These apologies are often in the form of speeches that are played on Japanese TV, and discussed in their media. So basically, every citizen there knows about them. Japan is far from trying to ‘deny its past’ in any broad sense.
I am personally glad to see that Japan apologizes so much, actually. It is refreshing to see that a country would continue to apologize for its atrocities. In the article you linked, it seems the most damning thing is “Japan hasn’t apologized the way Germany has”. Well, Japan isn’t Germany. In fact, no one is Germany. Germany is pretty unique in its level of apologizing. Should countries really be held to a “Germany standard”? *Perhaps so …*
Let’s see the list of U.S. apologies for invading Vietnam, and for overthrowing the first democracy in the Middle East (in Iran). Let’s see it happen. Let’s see the Chinese apologies for their ongoing invasions of territory that belongs to Tibet, the Philippines, Vietnam, and border areas with India (all of these incursions against neighbors are happening now, at the hand of unrepentant China that is grasping for power across the region).
–About the quality of apologies:
No matter how Japan tries to apologize, the apology will never be “perfect” enough to be “legitimate” in in the eyes of politicians in neighboring countries. The Japanese apologies are the biggest “No True Scotsman” whipping boy I’ve ever seen:
They have their Emperor apologize, and then other nations in the region say “Yeah, but he’s not their elected leader”. Then they have their Prime Minister apologize, and other nations in the region say “Yeah, but it wasn’t an act of law ratified by their Diet (house of Representatives)”. They issue broad apologies about “the whole war”, and the countries in the region say “They weren’t specific enough, because they don’t want to admit anything real”. Then they issue apologies over specific atrocities, and countries in the region say “They left out the other stuff, and only apologized about one thing!”
–About other apologies that may be overdue:
It is a rigged game, and Japan can not win by repenting, but still they try to repent. I suppose for contrast, I should bring up the country of China, the one that was photographed in OP’s photo.
China has the following things going for it:
* Currently threatening and invading several of its neighbors
* Is a dictatorship
* Their (Chinese) government killed more Chinese people than Japan ever did
* Hasn’t ever repented for anything it has done (from oppressing its people, to invading neighbors, to government mandated infanticide)
* Doesn’t cover any vital failures in its school textbooks (they “never do wrong ™”)
Meanwhile, Japan has the following things going for it:
* Not invading or threatening neighbors
* Is a democracy, whose government had no involvement in WWII (that was the prior, overthrown, dictatorship)
* Repents continuously
* Discusses atrocities in their school textbooks, to the point that if a sentence or two is ever edited out of an upcoming edition, it makes the worldwide news “How dare they?!”
–Japan’s efforts to compensate are frustrated by stubborn politicians in other countries:
But Japan’s apologies aren’t enough. They didn’t have the right guy sign apology #48, and the wording of apology #17 was kind of ‘fuzzy’, and so forth. Sure, they provide aid to countries around the region, but they aren’t putting enough money in the precisely correct hands. “They paid money to ‘X’, but not enough to ‘Y’!” and when they pay ‘Y’ it will be deemed ‘insufficient’, and “apology not accepted”.
Check out the article you linked:
> No, the Koreans and the Chinese bear a large share of the blame. With the Koreans, there has been an unwillingness to help the Japanese find ways of reconciling when the Japanese have tried to do so. This was most apparent with the Asian Women’s Fund, which the Korean government did not support and in fact subverted by establishing a separate, rival support system for the former comfort women. This has been made worse by the tendency of Korean politicians to score cheap points by very publicly taking out their frustrations with Japan — as when President Lee Myung-bak went to Dokdo/Takeshima recently.
–The constant drumbeat about “unrepentant Japan” is propaganda designed purposefully to drown out the terrible flaws of other regional governments
Basically, craven political leaders in the victim countries are using their own people’s suffering as a political tool for control. They want everyone to “Look at what Japan did 70 years ago”, instead of looking at what their own corrupt leaders are doing right now. That is not to say that Japan did nothing wrong – far from it. They did some awful stuff. But believe me, when China declares martial law and rounds up dissidents in the year 2614, they will point at Japan and shout “Murder!” to cover up their own deeds. They do it now, and they seem like they will do it forever.
China jumps up and screams about the “unapologetic Japanese”. Then the Japanese, as if on cue, leap to apologize some more. It is pretty awful. In this way, China uses Japan as a cudgel to distract its own repressed subjects into accepting another year of dictatorship: “Hey, we Chinese dictators aren’t the enemy – the real enemy is (still) Japan! And they’re preparing for a comeback!” Japan is being carefully used as a way to distract the Chinese public from their dictators. The Japan issue in China is part of an internal control mechanism.
Look at the article you linked:
> Chinese leaders have **preferred** taking a hard line on Japan. This has been especially so when there are divisions in the Chinese leadership, and on a deeper level may have something to do with the Chinese leadership being deeply **worried about their legitimacy**. While Korean leaders are frequently unpopular, there is strong support for the Korean political system and pride in its democratic institutions, but Chinese leaders need to strike a nationalistic tone in part because there is greater internal skepticism about one-party rule.
–Japan is a democracy which is sometimes blamed for having more than one voice:
Japanese schools teach of their own atrocities in the classroom (much better than China and the U.S. do) but we want some kind of ‘other’ teaching to happen, too. Not 100% of Japan’s politicians are as repentant as the others – some are quite brash. It is if it were some kind of *actual democracy* with many differing views, rather than an autocratic political monolith like China.