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Spotlight: 69 years after surrender, Japanese still have mixed feelings about war past

English.news.cn   2014-08-14 17:55:52
• Historical revisionists led by Abe's administration are bucking the trend and sticking to its rightist path.
• It is time to consider the historic meaning of Aug. 15 and to correct the lies.
• For most Japanese, Aug. 15 is a day of both infamy and rebirth.

 

TOKYO, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- 69 years on, the sentiments among Japanese people toward the day of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies at the end of World War II are still mixed.

While some are reflecting on the lessons of the war, historical revisionists led by Abe's administration are bucking the trend and sticking to its rightist path.

As we mark the 69th anniversary of the V-J day (Victory over Japan Day) on Friday, it is time to consider the historic meaning of Aug. 15 and to correct the lies.

A DAY OF REBIRTH

For most Japanese, Aug. 15 is a day of both infamy and rebirth, as it on one hand marks the defeat of Japan, while on the other, marks the rebirth of Japan, from militarism to democracy.

But for Japanese veteran soldier Nobuo Okimatsu, rebirth is the more important of these, as he was literally saved that day by the surrender of his country.

69 years ago, then 20-year-old Okimatsu was a Kamikaze pilot in the Japanese army during its aggression against China and other Asian countries. After training for three months, he, along with other soldiers, were tasked with the mission to carry out a suicidal crash into the Allies' ships.

Their mission was accidentally delayed on Aug. 15, 1945, when the airport that their flight was scheduled to divert from was bombed.

Events turned miraculous for Okimatsu that noon when Japanese Emperor Hirohito declared the acceptance of the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation, and Japan's unconditional surrender.

"I was saved!" Okimatsu exclaimed, at the time secretly congratulating himself.

After the war ended, Okimatsu joined the "815 Japan-China Friendship Association," an anti-war organization founded by a group of Japanese veterans who had taken part in the aggression.

The organization also calls on people to face up to Japan's wartime history, a base point in historic cognition.

Okimtsu now is the representative director of the association. The 89-year-old still actively participate in speeches and lectures, telling more Japanese of bitter war memories and conveying his reflections.

To Okimtsu and other members of his organization, Abe's visiting of the Yasukuni Shrine, where WWII war criminals are honored, and move to lift the ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense are rowing against the tide.

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Editor: Tang Danlu
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