Japan

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Japan must eliminate self-righteous nationalism, promote international coordination as a responsible member of the international community and, thereby, advance the principles of peace and democracy. ~ Tomiichi Murayama
Japanese workers religiously saved their wages, and the savings did go into capital formation and the expansion of production. On the other hand, much of the expansion of production went into exports, which benefited foreign consumers considerably, even while the Japanese persisted in their savings-motivated self-denial. Thus Japan grew into the largest per capita economy in the world. ~ Kelley L. Ross
Travelers visiting Japan are usually easily forgiven for whatever they do, including dressing down for Cool Biz. When in doubt, they can always say sumimasen. ~ Stanley Tan
Every Japanese soldier was prepared for death, but as an intelligence officer I was ordered to conduct guerrilla warfare and not to die. I became an officer and I received an order. ~ Hiroo Onoda
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war. ~ Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan
You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? ~ Adolf Hitler
There was a period when our nation brought to bear great sufferings upon the people of the Korean Peninsula. The deep sorrow that I feel over this will never be forgotten. ~ Akihito
We started the war, and it was a blatant imperial effort to dominate the region. There, I said it! Yes, I know you and the whole world know that already, but my right-wing coalition back home doesn't. Actually, they do. They just don't want to admit it. ~ Robert E. Kelly
The Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Japan, also known as Nippon, is an island country in eastern Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south.

Quotes[edit]

  • Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
  • Won't you stretch imagination for a moment and come with me. Let us hasten to a nation lying over the western sea. Hide behind the cherry blossoms; here's a sight that will please your eyes. There's a lady with a baby of Japan, singing lullabies. Hear her as she sighs.
  • This is over. No way back for Japan, who in my view are lucky to make this final.
  • I was against it on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.
    • Dwight David Eisenhower, On his stated opposition to the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese at the end of World War II, as quoted in Newsweek (11 November 1963)
  • You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?
    • Adolf Hitler, as quoted in Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs by Albert Speer, p. 115.
  • Northeast Asians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, strike me as quite nationalistic, and nationalism up here is still tied up in right-Hegelian, 19th century notions of blood and soil. In China, the Han race is the focus of the government's new-found, post-communist nationalism. In Korea, it is only the racial unity of minjeok that has helped keep Korea independent all these centuries. In Japan, the Yamato race is so important that even ethnic Koreans living there for generations can't get citizenship and there's no immigration despite a contracting population.
  • An open split with Japan is perilous, because Japan is still the anchor state of the American alliance architecture in Asia.
  • Korea's grievances with Japan are very legitimate. Japan sexually enslaved Korean women into war-time brothels. It attempted to erase Korea as a cultural entity by coercing the use of Japanese, even to the point of re-naming people. There are still Koreans alive who went through this. Japan has not really come clean about the empire and the war, a point made not just by Korea, but in China and the U.S. as well. But Koreans do not stop there; they go over-the-top with things like the 'Sea of Japan' re-naming campaign with no obvious point other than to provoke Japan, unfounded claims that Japan wants to invade Korea again, equating bad Japanese behavior in Korea with the far-worse Holocaust, or that Liancourt is worth going to war over, even though a Korean use of force against Japan would almost certainly eventuate a U.S. departure from South Korea and dramatically reduce Korean security.
  • We started the war, and it was a blatant imperial effort to dominate the region. There, I said it! Yes, I know you and the whole world know that already, but my right-wing coalition back home doesn't (actually, they do; they just don't want to admit it). I could roll out old-time excuses that we were just doing what the Brits and French were doing in Africa, or that we were liberating Asians from the whites, or that the Americans forced the war on us. But our Nazi-like brutality in China and cultural eliminationism in Korea are still inexplicable by any of those excuses. Maybe the best I can come up with is that we were blocking the spread of Marxism in the region, but then we also did more than Stalin or Ho or anyone else to help Asian communism by crippling Chiang Kai-Shek against Mao. *Sigh* OK. I've really got nothing left. It's our fault, and we really should alter our history instruction and at least put up a few museums on the carnage we left behind. But at least we fought the war really foolishly; our general staff actually thought we could simultaneously fight China, the British Empire, and the US and win...'
  • In a society that employs a strong sense of ethnic and cultural unity, ethnic prejudice and discrimination typically prevent minority members from participating in main stream society. Both Japan and Korea are good examples of such a rigid society. Traditionally, the Korean government has been imposing various legal measures to prevent foreigners immigrating into Korea. However, Japanese minorities have been living in Korea, though small in number, for almost half a century. Most Japanese living in Korea today are elderly women with their Korean husbands, many of them now widowed.
  • While Koreans show no apparent disapproval or hatred to foreigners in general, they have negative attitudes toward Japanese. Because of harsh memories of Japanese occupation period, a strong anti-Japanese sentiment has been prevailing throughout Korean society, especially stronger in the post-World War II era.
  • In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. Sincerely facing these facts of history, I once again express my feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology, and also express the feelings of mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, in the war. I am determined not to allow the lessons of that horrible war to erode, and to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world without ever again waging a war.
  • As to the origin of those comfort women who were transferred to the war areas, excluding those from Japan, those from the Korean Peninsula accounted for a large part. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese rule in those days, and their recruitment, transfer, control, et cetera, were conducted generally against their will, through coaxing, coercion, et cetera. Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.
  • During a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology. Allow me also to express my feelings of profound mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, of that history.
  • Japan must eliminate self-righteous nationalism, promote international coordination as a responsible member of the international community and, thereby, advance the principles of peace and democracy. At the same time, as the only country to have experienced the devastation of atomic bombing, Japan, with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, must actively strive to further global disarmament in areas such as the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It is my conviction that in this way alone can Japan atone for its past and lay to rest the spirits of those who perished. It is said that one can rely on good faith. And so, at this time of remembrance, I declare to the people of Japan and abroad my intention to make good faith the foundation of our government policy, and this is my vow.
  • Every Japanese soldier was prepared for death, but as an intelligence officer I was ordered to conduct guerrilla warfare and not to die. I became an officer and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame. I am very competitive.
  • Far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people. And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, 'Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us'? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No. The only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead, and that is the kind of nation we are.
  • The case of Japan is illustrative, since Japanese workers religiously saved their wages, and the savings did go into capital formation and the expansion of production. On the other hand, much of the expansion of production went into exports, which benefited foreign consumers considerably, even while the Japanese persisted in their savings-motivated self-denial. Thus Japan grew into the largest per capita economy in the world, even while the Japanese standard of living was still significantly below that of the United States. This 'exploitation' of Japanese workers in part followed from government and industry policy, but also was an effect of the traditional Japanese ethic of hard work and self-denial, which could only with difficulty countenance a way of life geared to enjoying greater wealth and consumption. The Japanese were thus, after a fashion, willing to "exploit" themselves for the sake of American consumers, even while Americans viewed this as a hostile attack on American industry!
  • After a process of self-transformation sparked by American intervention, Japan leapt to the status of a Great Power by defeating Russia in 1905. The empire then spent the next forty years throwing its weight around, occupying Korea and invading China, ultimately taking on the United States in a disastrous bid for hegemony. Catastrophic defeat slowed Japan down a little, but by the 1980s, the country had vaulted to the highest per capita income in the world, with wealth and economic power that deeply frightened many, even in the United States. Japan remains the only Great Power, in economic terms, as the Japanese military establishment remains low profile, not directly derived from European civilization. Even after a decade of economic stagnation in the 1990s, Japan remained the second largest economy in the world, about forty percent the size of the United States, more than 1.7 times the size of Germany, and finally reviving a bit in 2004, although in per capita terms declining from third in the world in 2003 to eleventh in 2007. However, by 2010 the economy of China had surpassed Japan in absolute size, although, of course, far behind Japan in per capita terms. China is thus in the position that Russia was in 1914, underdeveloped in per capita comparisons but the fourth largest economy in the world, after the United States, Germany, and Britain, because of its relative development and absolute size. The level of success of Japan, despite its relative decline, might still be thought to justify the Japanese view of themselves as unique, or at least special, certainly of the first order of geopolitical importance.
  • It is a serious and extremely difficult problem that some groups in Japan deny atrocities by the wartime government when the outside world accepts these atrocities as historical fact. This atrocity denial is simply wrong, and its effects are destructive. Admitting to official atrocities in the past should not prevent the building of Japanese national pride today. No one of working age or younger in Japan today is personally responsible for Pacific War crimes. They are part of the new, postwar Japan, characterized by economic and technological prowess and admirable international citizenship. These accomplishments are not canceled out by events from the middle of the last century. As many commentators have pointed out, atrocity-denial is not in Japan’s self-interest because it restricts Japan's opportunities for cooperation with its neighbors and generally damages the otherwise favorable Japan 'brand' internationally.
  • Japan and South Korea are both democracies that fear Chinese domination, yet the animosity between the two societies restricts what should be natural strategic partnering.
  • Despite harboring atrocity-deniers, Japan is certainly no more likely to start a war of aggression than any other country of comparable size and economic capacity in the international community, and probably less so because of lingering anti-militarism stemming from Japan’s disastrous experience in the Pacific War.
  • The government is putting as much money into the economy through this package, and through additional spending, as the increased sales tax will put out.
  • Business travellers visiting Japan are usually easily forgiven for whatever they do, including dressing down for Cool Biz. When in doubt, they can always say sumimasen (or “excuse me”) at the beginning of the meeting, should they find themselves underdressed for the occasion.
  • Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.

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