Anger, bitter memories as Asia marks war’s end

Anger, bitter memories as Asia marks war’s end

MANILA – Many in Asia found it difficult to forgive and impossible to forget the Japanese aggression that still haunts the region 60 years after the end of the Pacific war but others let the anniversary pass with barely a mention.

South-east Asian nations that suffered in the war but benefited afterwards from Japan’s economic might marked the end of the war yesterday with little fanfare and few official ceremonies. But for those who experienced horrors such as the destruction of Manila, the “Death Railway” in Burma or the rape of the Chinese city of Nanjing, the anger and sadness remained raw.”Filipinos have very short memories,” said the famous Philippine author Francisco Sionil Jose, who lived through the Japanese occupation and who approves of the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.”My ambition was to run amok in Japan and kill as many Japanese as possible.”Historians estimate that about 15 million people, less than a third of them soldiers, died as a result of the conflict that spanned Japan’s invasion of China in 1931 and Emperor Hirohito’s declaration of surrender on August 15, 1945.For Chinese and Koreans in particular, the pain of the war and occupation has been sharpened by the perception that Japan has still not shown genuine contrition for its actions.Yesterday, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi again apologised for suffering caused by Japanese military aggression and pledged that Tokyo would never again go to war.- Nampa-ReutersBut for those who experienced horrors such as the destruction of Manila, the “Death Railway” in Burma or the rape of the Chinese city of Nanjing, the anger and sadness remained raw.”Filipinos have very short memories,” said the famous Philippine author Francisco Sionil Jose, who lived through the Japanese occupation and who approves of the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.”My ambition was to run amok in Japan and kill as many Japanese as possible.”Historians estimate that about 15 million people, less than a third of them soldiers, died as a result of the conflict that spanned Japan’s invasion of China in 1931 and Emperor Hirohito’s declaration of surrender on August 15, 1945.For Chinese and Koreans in particular, the pain of the war and occupation has been sharpened by the perception that Japan has still not shown genuine contrition for its actions.Yesterday, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi again apologised for suffering caused by Japanese military aggression and pledged that Tokyo would never again go to war.- Nampa-Reuters

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