After the World War II, the Chinese Communist
Government used the past "war responsibility" issue in order to obtain
yen-loans, various aids and compromises from the Japanese Government.
The weak-hearted and shameless Japanese Government of the post-War era
responded to the issue by some sort of apology followed by the acceptation of
most of what was demanded by the Chinese Government. The Japanese Government
made little effort to dispute over the "war responsibility" issue, and
attempted somewhat successfully in solving it by money. But the Chinese
Government still continues to use this issue in pressuring and weakening
Japan directly through diplomacy or indirectly through propaganda, so as to
orient the Japanese situation in favor of the Chinese national interest. So
the Chinese Government wants more and feels it can get more by using this
issue. Meanwhile, the Japanese Government, prioritizing economic interest
over any other, is slow at changing its traditional response pattern to
this Chinese diplomatic tool. However, many Japanese nationals, including
myself, are aware of the falsehood, insincerity, exaggeration and political
nature of most of the Chinese accusations. I, as many others, think that it
is in the interest of Japan and to historical truth for the Japanese
Government to stop blindly accepting the malicious accusations of China,
and making unnecessary apologies and concessions in response to them for a
so-called "political reason". Such judgement and action is politically,
economically, socially and historically incorrect.
There is a lot to write in order to clarify the
falsehood of the Chinese accusations, but for now, in this essay, I will
limit myself in comparing the past war record of China and Japan. This is
in order to simply point out that, China is in no position to criticize any
other country for the so-called "war responsibility" issue as long as its
responsibility has not been taken. (The main issue is of course whether the
Chinese accusation is credibly founded, or to what extent it is credibly
founded, and what its validity or non-validity has as consequence to Japan
but this will be developed in another essay.)
The basic logic behind the Chinese accusation or
incrimination is the following:
"Japan previously invaded Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria,
Coastal China and Indochina, where it pillaged, oppressed and massacred the
locals. Such acts are bad. So Japan should pay for its wrong doing to the
people and country that were victim to such wrongdoing, like China.
Whether the Japan was "bad" or not in annexing
Taiwan and Korea, including Manchuria as part of its sphere of influence,
control and buffer zone, advancing into Coastal China and Indochina in
fighting the Chinese Nationalists is arguable. Just as much as it is so about
the number and kinds of bad deeds that were committed by Japan, and to what
extent the Japanese Government is legally or morally responsible. Here I don't
want to repeat the usual anti-theses mentioning about the fairly comparatively
"normal" reality of Japanese military occupations, fairly legitimate reason of
action, fairly positive treatment of annexed territory, and so forth. Here I
want to focus on the comparison between the war-record of Japan and China.
Since the beginning of its history, Japan has
fought only 8 international wars, partly thanks to its isolated geographical
Japan's first international war was against a
Manchu-Korean kingdom called "Goguryeo" ()
which was situated in Northern Korean
and Southern Manchurian region. Japan got into conflict with "Goguryeo" for it
was allied with the Korean Paekche kingdom (situated in the Western Korean
region) that was being attacked by the "Goguryeo" Army, so Japan sent soldiers
to help out its ally.
The second was against the coalition army of the
Chinese "Tang" () Dynasty and the Korean
"Silla" () Dynasty (situated in the East
Korean region). This war consisted of "Silla" aiming to gain dominance over the
Korean peninsula by cunningly taking advantage of the Chinese interest in
the said peninsula. At that time, the Korean peninsula was divided by three
kingdoms, namely the "Silla" in the East, Paekche in the West and the
"Goguryeo" in the North. Japan decided to fight aside the Korean Paekche
kingdom, thus got involved in the said war. The war ended up with the
defeat of the Paekchian-Japanese coalition military, by which Paekche
kingdom collapsed and many of its leaders fled to Japan.
The third was a defensive war against the attempted
invasion of Japan by the Koryo-Mongol Allied Military. The invasion eventually
failed due to a series of typhoon that sank the invading navy.
The fourth was an aggressive war aiming to conquer
China and Korea, sought by the then ruler of Japan, TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi ( 1537?-1598
The "Kampaku" ;The chief adviser to the Japanese Emperor). It
failed before the Japanese Military reached China due to internal betrayal.
The actual aim of the expedition is a somewhat controversial subject.
The fifth was a strategic war against the Manchu
Empire: the Sino-Japanese War. This war was fought in order to determine the
one who would include China and Taiwan into its sphere of influence and control.
The sixth was a strategic and defensive war against
the Russian Empire: the Russo-Japanese War. This war was fought in order to
determine the one who would include Manchuria into its sphere of influence and
buffer zone. It was also a war to rid Manchuria from Russian occupation, and
rid Japan from an immediate Russian threat.
The seventh was a called-to-by-the-British
participation in the First World War against the Alliance. The Japanese
contribution consisted mainly of defeating the German military stationed in
The eighth was a combination between a wide-range
military conflict against the Chinese Nationalists over the extent of one
another's extent of influence and control over Manchuria and economic presence,
security and privilege in coastal Chinese commercial cities, and a defensive
war against or active competition with the Western empires over economic,
political and strategic advantage in Eastern Asia.
Only the Military Expedition against China and
Korea by TOYOTOMI could be considered as an unreasonable unnecessary war.
All else was a defensive war, or a war to support its ally, or a war that was
necessary in order to maintain its independence, security and sovereignty.
On the other hand, the history of China is that of
continuous territorial conquest and re-conquest based on ambition and
Vietnam was invaded by China(The Early "Han" Dynasty
) in 111BC and regained
independence only by 939AD. Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, Taiwan, and
Central Asia have been victim to the Chinese wave of invasion through out the
time. China still retains Manchuria, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Turkistan under
its control and as its national territory. Meanwhile, it is seeking to capture
its next victim: Taiwan.
Even IF the Chinese accusations against Japan were
true (they aren't), China has no legitimacy in considering Japan as obliged to
feel sorry and pay for having allegedly systematically oppressed, plundered
and massacred those under Japanese occupation. There is no reason why Japan
should feel bad and pay for its past conquests and alleged criminal deeds
while China feels normal and just about their past and present oppressions,
plunders and massacres. Of course, the Chinese accusations are mostly false or
exaggerated, and their demands based on their incriminating assumptions are
illegitimate and hypocritical.
There is no reason and necessity for Japan to
accept the Chinese double standard and consequent hypocrisy. If justice is to
be applied, it should be applied equally to all. If not, no one would accept
to be judged by such justice, for it is bias and unfair.