Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4 Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
With the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings and the August 15thanniversary of the end of the Pacific War quickly approaching, I am expecting once more the annual spate of articulate, emotive and reflective articles and letters decrying the horror of the atomic bombings but also debating the criminality of the decision to use the Fat Man and the Little Boy at all. No explicit statements will be made to remind us that the Second World War in the Pacific was a war that Japan started, that Japan waged in a particularly heinous and criminal manner, and that Japan stubbornly refused to give up long after its cause was lost. We should remember those basic facts when the Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers visit Yasukuni Shrine. Teach that in your classrooms and then I might be able to lend a sympathetic ear to the patriotism curriculum in Japanese schools that even my children are subject to now.
People can debate the criminality of President Harry S. Truman’s decision to use the atomic bombs and of the Strategic Air Command’s strategy of carpet bombing. But if people want to retroactively play their morality and blame cards let’s not forget to include the Japanese Imperial Army high command. Who is to blame for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki tragedies and the callous victimization of non-combatant civilians everywhere? Look to Washington, D.C., but don’t forget to look to Tokyo because there is blood on everyone’s hands.
Published on Wednesday, August 2, 2006 as “Blame time closing fast.”