Ambivalent Japanese split over responsibility for the war





According to a survey published yesterday by the Mainichi Shimbun, 43 per cent of the Japanese people think the war waged by Japan was wrong, while only 29 per cent think it was 'unavoidable'.

It also found three in four Japanese believe there was not enough public discussion about war responsibility.

The Japanese people's ambivalence towards WWII is also seen in their attitudes towards Class A war criminals.

Some of these war criminals were later pardoned and became Cabinet ministers. But 14 of them are enshrined in the Yasukuni war shrine.

Their presence in the shrine divides the relatives of the 2.5 million war dead who are also honoured there.

Many war-bereaved families urge Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and even Emperor Akihito to pray at the shrine, and they consider wartime premier Hideki Tojo and other Class A criminals to have been wronged.


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John Edward Philips - 8/17/2005

What did the other 28% think?

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