29 April 2015

Shinzo Abe’s Ill-Timed Speech

By Edward Jackfert
April 27, 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s April 29 address to the U.S. Congress will come at the expense of America’s Pacific War veterans. As a former POW of Japan who endured a hellish three-and-a-half years of captivity and slave labor, I am astonished that Abe’s address falls on the birthday – a national holiday in Japan – of the man who initiated World War II, Emperor Hirohito. For me, it was a day of harsher beatings and lower bows. I am outraged that this high American honor was given to a Japanese leader who still evades his country’s war responsibilities.

It has been difficult for me to watch the fading memory of Japan’s war atrocities accompanied by increasing Japanese denials of their heinous war record. A complacent U.S. Congress has been complicit. In 2011, no effort was made to remember the 70th Anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the American entry into WWII. This omission and others regarding the war, I understand, were the result of new House rules ending commemorative resolutions.

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