Re: “‘Journey of Repentance’ will apologize to Japan” (TNT, 7-7).
I hope that the Rev. Bill Bichsel is open to receive acknowledgement and forgiveness from the people of Japan for the Japanese military (between 1937 and 1945) murdering more than 10 million people – Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, Indochinese and Allied prisoners of war.
I would hope as a Jesuit priest that Bichsel could find more pressing needs in his own community and allow the Obama administration to handle the elimination of nuclear weapons. Apologies? Most of Asia is waiting for that for the millions the Japanese murdered there. My friend Kenny Marvin is still waiting for his apology for 31/2 years of torture and starvation as a prisoner of the Japanese.
Oh, wait. Kenny’s not here to hear that apology. He died as a result of those injuries.
As to Mitch Kahjima’s directive that Americans must wake up, I agree. Let us never be so asleep that we can be attacked again in such a cowardly manner as by Japan at Pearl Harbor. Re: the Hot Button question, “Should Tacoma-area emissaries seek forgiveness from the Japanese for the atomic bombings of 1945?”
Our entire government ought to seek forgiveness by Act of Congress with the president’s signature. Those bombings were an atrocity of epic proportions. Unlike the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor – a military target – Hiroshima and Nagasaki were civilian populations.
The claim that those bombings saved thousands of American lives is a lie. But then, truth is always the first casualty of war. As long as Bill Bichsel is apologizing for the event that kept me and perhaps hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops from having to face death to overcome Tojo and his ilk, I believe we should also apologize for freeing France and the rest of Europe twice in the past century, freeing the bulk of the Japanese population from iron-fisted rule, etc.
My unit was set to deploy to the Pacific when President Truman OK’d the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while Tojo and company were prepared to fight to the death rather than surrender unconditionally. I guess we who were saved from potential death should apologize for the families we were allowed to raise. I have a request for the so-called Journey of Repentance to Japan to “apologize” for the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Please first ask for Japan to apologize for the harsh treatment of Chinese, Korean and other Asian neighbors they aggressively attacked; the intense brutality handed out to American POWs, such as those forced onto the Bataan Death March; and the use of their own citizens and soldiers as suicide bombers.
We would not be having this conversation had Japan simply surrendered when her citizens were starving, instead of fighting so ferociously that the Allies were left with no choice but to spare a potential million casualties by sacrificing those two cities.
It is telling that it took the nuclear destruction of not one, but two of their cities to drive this point home to Japan’s military commanders. More lives were saved by those nuclear bombs than were lost. While on the subject of repentance, I haven’t noted any repenting on the part of the Japanese for Dec. 7, 1941; for the Bataan Death March; for forcing Korean women into brothels to serve the Japanese soldiers in China and Mongolia; and for the brutal treatment of the people by the occupying Japanese forces in China, Mongolia and Southeast Asia.
Nor do I ever expect to. The Japanese people of today are no more responsible for those atrocities than I am for the atom bomb. Their apology would be meaningless, just as the Rev. Bill Bichsel’s “Journey of Repentance” is a meaningless gesture towards world peace.
Now if his efforts were directed toward establishing a meaningful relationship with Islam, that would be a major contribution towards world peace. I sincerely hope that the Rev. Bill Bichsel plans to apologize for himself and not for me or my country for the use of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese empire was the source of most of the atrocities in the Asian theater of World War II. I find it presumptuous for these “peace activists” to run around equating America’s actions in defense of our citizens to some mass murderer.
Perhaps the good reverend could partake in some public activities condemning the actions of the Catholic Church over the years, such as the Inquisition or even the criminal conduct of the hierarchy of the American church that aided and abetted the predatory behavior of certain priests.
Now there is a crusade he could sink his teeth into. It would be in his own back yard and certainly more relevant to everyday life. We all would like to see this world without war, without killings, without atomic bombs. We would like all people to be kind, gentle and respectful to others. But there are those other in the world who think of only themselves. These people cannot be reasoned with. They will fight or resist until the very end. They will never admit they were wrong.
This is what we were up against in Japan during World War II. The Japanese started the war. They attacked China and Manchuria long before they attacked us. We tried to talk to them then, and that didn’t work. We were talking with them when they secretly planned the attack on us.
Japan has never officially apologized for the Pearl Harbor attack. We need not ask for forgiveness for protecting ourselves and ending a war that it started.