Originally published 07/24/2013
Jennifer Lind, an associate professor of government at Dartmouth, is the author of “Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics.”...[O]n Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the war, many officials [including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe] are likely to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the nation’s war dead and includes among them convicted war criminals.The way Mr. Abe observes those two anniversaries will be read, especially by China and South Korea, as a measure of his attitudes toward the past and his sensitivities toward Japan’s neighbors.An episode from this spring suggests that nationalism is the last thing Japanese voters want from their government. Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, made comments justifying the use of comfort women by citing soldiers’ hardship. “If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a system like the ‘comfort women’ is necessary,” he said. “Anyone can understand that.”...