Thursday, November 20, 2014

Make Abe a global persona non grata until he stops denial

The New York Times recently published an opinion piece on comfort women and Japan's continued denial by Ms. Mindy Kotler. Ms. Kotler pulled no punches as she presented a long list of rape and violence by the Japanese soldiers on women throughout the war. She criticized the Abe administration for their vigorous effort to revise history and restore Japan's imperial wartime honor. This was another timely reminder of Japan's national amnesia over the WWII atrocities committed by the Japanese imperial troops.

Until Japan wakes up from its amnesia, the world cannot forget the trauma of the hundreds of millions brutalized by the Japanese. This was particularly true for nations in the Asia Pacific. The best way to jolt Japan's collective memory is to make sure the shame of world wide censure overwhelms the comfort of hiding under continued denial.

In Germany and other parts of the world, school children are taught about the European Holocaust perpetrated  by Nazi Germany that killed millions of Jews. Deniers of the Holocaust can be sent to prison. In similar vein, to drive home that Abe cannot get away with denying the Asian Holocaust, let international community declare Abe and all members of his cabinet as persona non grata and denied passage or entry to any other country. The precondition to lifting the travel ban would be only after they have rectified the textbooks missing the actual history and publicly informed the Japanese public of the truth of WWII.

Rather than seeing themselves as the victims of WWII, Japan must accept its responsibility as the perpetrator of atrocities of a magnitude beyond human imagination and understanding.

As the recognized leader of the world, the U.S. government must make the first official proclamation that Abe and his cabinet officials are, until further notice, no longer welcomed in the United States. Other nations will surely follow suit, but even if not all go along with America, the shock of the American indignation would surely catch Japan's attention. When losing face by continued denial far outweigh the pain of owning up its sordid past once and for all, Japan may finally join the community of nations with a conscience.