Attitude toward history
Updated: 2014-06-13 08:39
There is no need and reason for Japan to feel annoyed at China's application to UNESCO for the inclusion of 1937 Nanjing Massacre and "comfort women" of the World War II era in the Memory of the World Program. It is even more absurd for Japan to ask China to with draw the application.
It seems as if such a move at this time will aggravate the already tense situation in East Asia, especially the stalemate between Japan and China.
But it is not the Japanese aggression toward China perse and the atrocities its invading troops committed during the war that stand in the way of bilateral relations between the two countries. It is the Japanese government's attitude and that of Japan's major politicians toward them that has become an obstacle to the healthy development of bilateral ties.
Japan's protest this time reveals their incorrect attitude toward the war and their lack of courage in facing up to the reality of their country's history.
The Chinese people and Japanese people were both victims of the war. It was the Japanese warmongers, its militarist mentality and those criminals of war that were to blame for the sufferings experienced by both peoples and their Asian neighbors.
Just as Germany should not have felt the least uneasiness about the ceremonies to mark the Normandy landings early this month and other activities to remember those who were killed in Nazi concentration camps, the Japanese government and its politicians have no reason to let the shame the militarists and war criminals brought to the nation prevent the estrangement from its neighbors from being completely eliminated.
History remembered can be a teacher. It is for this principle that China wants the memory of the Japanese aggression to stay with many generations to come. China also wants the bitter memory to be part of the documentary records included in the Memory of the World Program so the world can reflect on the war.
The program was established in 1992 to preserve the documentary heritage of different periods. It is natural for this pro-gram to keep the "comfort women" and Nanjing Massacre as part of the memory of the World War II era.
It is a matter of history and a matter of the correct attitude toward history. Why should the Japanese government feel irritated about it?