Saturday, December 16, 2006

A New Sun Rising?

It certainly seems that way, according to this item from CNN.

In a nutshell, Japan has changed two elements of its 1947 pacifist Constitution, elevating its derfense forces to a full Ministry and changing its education law to allow schools to start teaching patriotism.

Now, there are some reasonable answers to this behavior - Japan is justifiably perturbed about North Korea's missiles and the fact that Li'l Kim set off a pony nuke back in October (500 tons - feh! I could do better), and teaching young people to have more pride in their nation might offset what is seen as amoral materialism.

But what will The Neighbors think?

Japan has never apologized or even acknowledged the solid historical facts that their armies ravaged their way across Korea, China, bits of Russia, and a large chunk of Southeast Asia. And that includes Australia, where a few people might still recall that the Japanese bombed the northern city of Darwin. They have not apologized or acknowledged the 1937 Rape of Nanjing, where (at a conservative estimate) 350,000 civilians were killed. And let's not get started on such things as biological and chemical weapons experiments on civilians in China, or the treatment of Allied POWs.

So you can probably forgive Japan's neighbors if they view these moves with a slight frisson of dread. Thousands of ghosts can have a heavy influence on the living.


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