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U.S. professor criticizes Japan’s no apology for past wrongdoings

U.S. professor criticizes Japan’s no apology for past wrongdoings

Posted August. 13, 2019 07:43,   

Updated August. 13, 2019 07:43


Professor Gregg Brazinsky at George Washington University, a specialist of Korean Peninsula issues, pointed out Japan, which has refused to apologize for its past wrongdoings as a threat to the global economy.

Prof. Brazinsky criticized Japan on Sunday (local time) in an editorial titled “How Japan's failure to atone for past sins threatens the global economy’ in the Washington Post. “The price of your Samsung phone and tablet could soon go up… Disputes that stretch back to Japanese atrocities during World War II have pushed Japan and South Korea to the brink of economic war,” the professor said. “While Tokyo cites national security concerns as the reason for the sanctions, most experts believe it is retaliating against South Korea for recent court rulings that require Japanese companies to pay restitution to Koreans forced into labor in their factories during World War II.”

The history professor also stated that Japan failed to admit and apologize for the atrocities done by its troops during World War II, comparing it to Germany. He was quoted as writing, “Taught in schools that Japan was simply pursuing its interests in the early 20th century, younger Japanese also see little need to apologize for their country’s past actions. All these trends threaten to harden nationalist public memory and exacerbate the current trade dispute.”

Unless Japan makes more consistent and far-reaching efforts to achieve reconciliation with its neighbors, Asia will always be precariously close to another economic or military crisis, according to the professor’s editorial.

Prof. Brazinsky also mentioned the responsibility of the U.S. government for pushing South Korea and Japan to settle historical disputes as soon as possible in order to stop communism. “Opportunistic ROK leaders have found Japan a convenient target to attack when their own popularity is suffering,” he said. “Japan has also continued to fuel the controversy with insincere efforts to demonstrate contrition.”

Yong Park parky@donga.com