Growth of Ultra-nationalism in Japan

In this part I will record current events that have to do with the growth of ultra-nationalism in Japan. This will not include Yasukuni shrine, which I cover elsewhere.

Oct. 22, 2006; Riding with the rightists

A writer studies the right wing in Japan. The specific group he examines are those who use trucks with patriotic slogans plastered all over them and loudspeakers to blare out right-wing slogans.

The black trucks are the vehicles of Japan's uyoku (rightwing) political activists. Today, many uyoku who call themselves minzoku-ha (ethnicity faction) regard themselves as patriots set on "restoring pride" in Japanese culture and history at a time when -- as they see it -- modern, Western-influenced values are eroding the time-honored fabric of Japanese society.

No one knows the exact number of the uyoku, although estimates range from 5,000 to 20,000 members. The members vary in their racist views and in the question of the use of violence. They are united in their idea of a social order based on the Emperor.

The article goes into the history of the right wing, tracing it from the Meiji period through WWII. Reference is made to Kodama, who worked with the Western authorities against Communism even though he was a Class A war criminal who spent time in prison.

There was a group of rights during the cold war who aligned themselves with the US, apparently ties that became quite profitable for them.In the 1960's, the right was represented by Yukio Mishima, who later committed ritual suicide.

Present-day uyoku are critical of US bases in Japan but realize that the US may still be needed for help protecting Japan, especially in light of North Korean missile tests and their atomic test.

There is another group of rights, called the ninkyo uyoku (chivalrous right), who are members of organized crime groups, and who are accused of running protection rackets behind the veil of political expression.

There were five acts of terrorist/guerrilla violence in Japan last year, which included a firebomb attack on a Chinese bank in Yokohama. 2,100 rights were arrested for assault, extortion and fraud during the year.The rightists seem to be against gender equality, and hold that it reflects a rejection of family values at the heart of Japanese society. They are also upset about reports in the media during the summer that Hirohito opposed the enshrinement of war criminals at Yasukuni. Another problem, oddly enough, is just how weak the leftist movement is in Japan, giving the rightists no direct identifiable extreme opposition to compete against.

Oct. 26, 2006; Revisionists damaging Japan

In this editorial, the writer says he is concerned about the revisionist view of Japanese history. He notes that Abe seems to agree with a revisionist view of history, including the events of the Nanjing Massacre.

The writer is concerned that this type of thing will reflect negatively on Japan's image in international affairs.

There is also reference made to some materials on a web site that the rightists determined to be anti-Japanese, and which were later removed.

In an Aug. 27 Washington Post article titled "The Rise of Japan's Thought Police," writer Steven Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and cofounder of the Japan Policy Research Institute, referred to "an increasingly militant group of rightwing activists who yearn for a return to 1930s style militarism, emperor-worship and 'thought-control.' "

The writer also discusses the visits to the Yasukuni shrine, and how that negatively affects Japan's image overseas. He also notes the contents of the museum at the shrine, and how it ignores the sufferings caused by war to Japanese and foreign peoples alike, contrary to the spirit of Article 9 of the Constitution and to Japan's aspirations for world peace.

Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006, EDITORIAL: Japan turns a corner

The writer says that 2006 will be considered a turning-point year in which there was a resurgence in nationalist sentiment.

The author critices the revision of the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education. It calls for cultivating an "attitude that respects tradition and culture as well as love of the national homeland that has fostered both," [and] would make it easier for the state to instill children with what it regards as the correct attitude toward the Japanese nation and history. The law, now equipped with a legal device to strengthen state control of education, could become a means of producing children with assertive nationalistic attitudes in accordance with state goals.

He also sites the North Korean missile tests as another factor in the growth of nationalism. The nuclear test made things even worse. This might have been part of the pressure that led to the upgrading of the Defense Agency to a Ministry status.

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007; Ultra-rightist tilt posing clear, present danger to free speech

The Japan Times online carried this article about how the ultranationalists can get rather violent over those who don't agree with them. It starts out by saying that a lawmaker, Koichi Kato, ahd criticized Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni shrine. Someone from the right wing then set his house on fire and tried to commit seppeku.

The article says that there has been a series of attacks on academics, journalists and lawmakers by the right wing. A lawmaker got a string of threatening phone calls for criticizing the ruling party. A paper said that Hirohito had opposed the war criminals being enshrined at Yasukuni, and the paper was firebombed.

"Speech and journalism in this country are facing an extremely difficult situation," Masato Kitamura, chairman of the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association, told the group's annual meeting recently.

It's "a distorted kind of nationalism that does not tolerate argument," said Koichi Nakano, a political scientist at Tokyo's Sophia University.

This has also spread to the Internet, where a web site has been set up to attack anti-Japan journalists.

The article says that there are around 10,000 ultra-rightists. This is all part of a growing nationalism in Japan, though, where textbooks are being revised, the military is being upgraded into a ministry, and people are calling for the constitution of Japan to be revised.

In something that hearkens back to the types of controls that the Japanese government had over all the media during the war, the article says:

In October, communications minister Yoshihide Suga took the unusual step of ordering NHK to increase its coverage of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals through its international shortwave radio service. NHK, however, insists it has not changed its editorial policy to please the government.

Apparently there are a number of these types of attempts, as the Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2006 placed Japan at 51st in a 168-nation survey, dropping from 37th the previous year. The study blamed "rising nationalism and the system of exclusive press clubs" -- institutionalized insider relationships between reporters and the government offices as well as the powerful -- as threats to democracy.

Kato said. "Many people are now keeping their months shut. The Diet is not an exception."

Feb. 10, 2007; Metro teachers sue over punishments, 173 hit for snubbing 'Kimigayo'

173 high school teachers have sued the Tokyo Metropolitan Government because they were punished in some form for refusing to sing the national anthem at school ceremonies. They claim it was due to a directive that violates their freedom of thoughts.

From the tone of the article, this is not the first time such a suit has been filed. The teachers worked at metropolitan high schools and schools for the disabled, and are suing for 95.15 million yen in compensation, and for all penalties they received to be rescinded.

There was a direction that made the singing of the national anthem a requirement at official school events. The suing teachers had refused to stand for the anthem, to sing the anthem, or to play the piano in graduation and matriculation ceremonies.

The specific penalties seemed to be pay cuts and offical warnings.

In a separate suit last December, the Tokyo District Court ruled that the directive is unconstitutional, but the government is appealing the case.

Refusing to sing the national anthem became punishable under an October 2003 directive.

Last September 401 teachers filed a similar lawsuit, and the government guideline was declared unconstitutional and 12.03 million yen in damages were awarded the teachers.

Although the directive was held unconstitutional, the practice of punishing teachers who refuse to comply apparently continues.

Feb. 28, 2007, 'Kimigayo' observance a teacher duty, top court says

The Supreme Court ruled that ordering a music teacher to play the national anthem during public school ceremonies is not a violation of the teacher's Constitutional rights.

The ruling was in response to a suit filed by a 53-year-old elementary school teacher who had been reprimanded for refusing to play the anthem during a school entrance ceremony in 1999. She said the anthem violated her freedom of thought and conscience.

The school board countered by saying that her inaction violated the Local Public Service Law.

The Tokyo District Court ruled in December 2003 that "public servants must serve for the whole, and their freedoms of thought and conscience are subject to restraint from the point of public welfare. " The Tokyo High Court upheld the decision in 2004.

In what is, again for me, a sign of puzzlement in rulings, the Tokyo District Court had ruled last September that it was ...unconstitutional for a local government to force teachers to stand for the flag and sing "Kimigayo" in school ceremonies. What's the difference between refusing to play the piano for the anthem and refusing to sing the anthem?March 6, 2007; 'Kimigayo' snub stings another teacher

Another teacher who had refused to play the piano for the national anthem, this time during a school ceremony in November, was punished by being given a 10% pay cut.

The particular teacher had been reprimanded for a similar situation in 2005.

The article notes that other school boards may begin punishing teachers for similar things.

March 14, 2007; Teacher traces aversion to 'Kimigayo' to the war

This article is about a 58-year-old male teacher who has refused to sing the national anthem at school ceremonies.

The article notes that the national anthem and the national flag of Japan are linked to the nation's militarist past for many people.

Singing the anthem became mandatory in October of 2003. 346 teachers have been punished for failing to pay due heed to the national symbols.

Kondo, this particular teacher, says his opposition to the anthem and the flag come from his father's experiences as a worker on the South Manchuria Railways Co. in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. His father had told him of atrocities committed by the Japanese army while he was there.

Kondo was fined, transferred, and has taken days off when ceremonies that would require singing the anthem are held.

The article talks about the split court decisions, and that the National Congress of Parents and Teachers Association of Japan has not taken an official position on the required singing of the anthem.

March 23, 2007; Singapore site of Japan surrender to be art hub

The building in Singapore where the Japanese surrendered to the British at the end of World War II is going to be turned into a national art gallery.

The building will become a center for Asian art, although the chamber where the surrender too place is going to be preserved for public viewing.

March 29, 2007; Experts to counter atrocity deniers

There is a movement in Japan among academics and lawyers to counteract the effort of some people in Japan to deny th Nanjing Massacre and wartime atrocities. They are going to hold symposiums in Canada, Italy, Germany, China, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and maybe France.They are concerned about the reaction of the international community to the movement in Japan to deny or play down things that happened in World War II, including the issue of comfort women. There are plans for a documentary film that would deny the Nanjing Massacre.

My own comments: I find two things about the symposiums interesting. First, the inclusion of China and South Korea. Those are very, very important. Both countries still harbor a lot of resentment against things done to them by the Japanese military, even though those things were done over half a century ago.

The other thing I find interesting is that the US is not included, this despite the movement of the US House of Representatives on their bill about sex slavery and Japan. I would really like to attend one of those symposiums.

March 29, 2007; Abe needlessly fans the flames

In what is obviously an editorial, the article notes that Abe is provoking anger across Asia and some mixed feelings in the US. The article talks about the Yasukuni museum that is the main source of controversy, as it follows the nationalist narrative, noting that Japan was a victim of European colonial powers and it just wanted to protect Asia from those powers. Its hold on Korea is considered to be a partnership. No mention is made of Nanjing or Manila.

The article also states that there is no other museum in Japan that gives an alternate (more true to actual history) story of World War II.

The article talks about how the US wants Japan to have a strong presence as part of a network of defenses against China, but rearming Japan could have a number of negative consequences.

The author of the article also hopes Bush will talk to Abe and get him to sort of cool down his nationalistic ardor.

March 31, 2007; Texts stop saying army forced Okinawa suicides

In what is another attempt to revise school textbooks, the education ministry asked publishers of the new high school history textbooks to remove references to the Imperial Japanese Army's role in forcing civilians to commit mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa

They also want changes in the material on the number of deaths in the Nanjing Massacre, and some kind of changes about the dispatch of Self-Defense forces to Iraq.

Another change is that references to the sex slaves (comfort women) do not include the role of the Japanese military into forcing women into sexual slavery.

The ministry wanted 791 changes in history and geography textbooks, and 1,681 changes in science textbooks (although the article doesn't say anything about what kinds of changes in science books were sought.)

The reasoning behind the history changes, from the ministry's viewpoint, was that there has been no verification that there were direct instructions from army commanders to force the suicides.

April 19, 2007; Rightist faces 12 years in torching of Kato home

I noted in an earlier review that there has been some violence on the part of ultra-nationalists against those who disagree with their positions.

This seems to be another of those examples. A rightwing activist was accused of setting fire to the home of Liberal Democrat Party lawmaker Koichi Kato's mother last year because of Kato's political stance.

(Why did he set fire to the guy's mother's home? Why not the guy's home? I don't understand this at all.)

Prosecutors are pushing for a 12-year prison term. The accused is Masahiro Horigome, who is 66. Apparently he attempted hara-kiri (article's term) at the site.

Kato had criticized the visits to Yasukuni shrine of the then-Prime Minister Koizumi, and Horigome had read the article and decided to target Kato because of it.

May 15, 2007; Okinawa city rips efforts to alter textbooks

A textbook controversy has now erupted on Okinawa, where the city assembly of Tomigusuku ... called Monday on the education ministry to retract its instructions to textbook publishers to modify statements that Okinawa residents were forced by the military into committing mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa.

It also demands that the original descriptions be restored in the textbooks.

The statement says the textbook screeners' instructions "deny the historical facts, accumulated through studies into the Battle of Okinawa that are based on the numerous testimonies of those who experienced it."

It also says, "It has been recognized as a publicly known fact that (civilians) at that time were placed under the forcible control of the Japanese military, and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry acknowledged it."

The Battle of Okinawa claimed the lives of one-fourth of Okinawa's civilian population. More than 200,000 Japanese and Americans died in the bloody battle in the closing days of World War II.

May 20, 2007; COUNTERPOINT: An exemplar of where the war-crimes buck stops

This is an editorial-type of article which refers to a film called "Ashita e no Yuigon (Best Wishes for Tomorrow) which deals with the postwar trial of Lt. Gen. Tasuku Okada and nineteen of his subordinates. The trial was held in Yokohama.

The court proceedings stemmed from the last months of World War II, when giant American B-29s carried out relentless and indiscriminate bombings of the region, using high-explosives, napalm and other incendiary ordnance. Tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, were burnt to death.

Thirty-eight American aircrew who parachuted out of their planes were captured, summarily tried and executed as war criminals in June and July 1945.

In the opinion of the person who wrote this editorial, and who read the entire trial, he believes that the trial was a totally fair and balanced one.

Even Okada himself thought the trial was fair.

The author makes a very interesting comment:

I could not help but feel how profoundly American military justice has been degraded since those days.

I find the rest of his comments equally fascinating:

The truly fine thing about Lt. Gen. Tasuku Okada the man resides in his exemplary character. He was the only general in the Imperial Army who, after the war, personally took responsibility for his actions and those of the men under his command.

Naturally, he did not believe that he was committing a crime by trying and executing men whom he regarded as mass murderers. But he accepted the verdict of the commission and considered it only fair that he pay his price.

This stands in stark contrast to the example of many leaders around the world today leaders who routinely shirk responsibility for their countries' criminal actions in wartime, instead dumping it on those far below who acted in their name.

Okada and his 19 subordinates were all found guilty. The lower ranks were given long sentences at hard labor. Okada was handed the death sentence.

May 25, 2007; Survivors of WWII air raids begin case for compensation

Civilian survivors of U.S. air raids on Tokyo were in court trying to win compensation for their suffering, and to put the brakes on the government's drive to amend the war-renouncing Constitution.

There are 112 people involved in the action. They are charging that Tokyo prolonged the war and neglected its duty to compensate civilians after the attacks.

They are claiming that the government rewarded soldiers and their families with military pensions, but did nothing for the civilians.

Government lawyers hold that the Japanese government is not responsible for wartime civilian casualties.

Though government lawyers made no statement Thursday, they have argued the government cannot be held responsible for wartime civilian casualties.

June 1, 2007; High court, too, dismisses suit by Korean forced laborers

Seven Korean plaintiffs had tried to get compensation for being forced to work at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries munitions factory in Nagoya during the war. The judge ruled that their right to seek damages had lapsed under a 1965 agreement between Japan and South Korea.

June 7, 2007; Battle of Okinawa sculpture unveiled

A sculptor based in Okinawa has completed a 100-meter relief depicting the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, installing the work at a former U.S. military facility in the village of Yomitan.

The work focuses on the civilian perspective of the battle, and shows a mass suicide scene. It also shows Japanese soldiers forcing civilians from a cave.

June 15, 2007; Okinawa 'mass suicide' deletions hit

In Okinawa, some municipalities are protesting against a government revision of the textbooks that plays down the Japanese military's role in ordering mass suicides during the war.

27 of Okinawa's 41 local assemblies have protested the ministry's order to revise the information on the mass murder-suicides. The assemblies state that the mass murder-suicides would not have taken place without pressure from the Japanese military.

June 17, 2007; Top court slaps down slave laborers

Another case of people seeking compensation has been struck down by the Supreme Court when it rejected appeals from dozens of Chinese who were seeking compensation for being forced into slave labor during World War II, stating that the statute of limitations had expired.

June 18, 2007; War widows miss out on 41 billion yen

21,000 women were not paid benefits for husbands killed in World War II, and the statute of limitations on the claiming of benefits has expired.

The benefits were not paid because of a the way benefits were mishandled when the information was switched to a computer system in 1985. People who applied for benefits after 1985 were ok, but those who applied before 1985 needed to re-apply to get benefits. Apparently, those people either didn't re-apply voluntarily, or weren't informed of the need to re-apply.

June 19, 2007; Iwojima, site of fierce battle, is officially renamed Iwoto

Iwo Jima has been renamed Iwoto, which is what the residents of the island called it before World War II, when they were forced to leave.

There is still a lot of things happening that relate to World War II, even though it has been over for over sixty years. The U.S. Congress passed its resolution “calling on Japan to acknowledge and apologize for the systemic abuse of Asian women coerced to offer "comfort" to millions of Japanese soldiers during World War II.”

The article notes other controversies, including the stand of some Japanese politicians about sexual slavery, forced suicides on Okinawa, the Nanjing massacre and even the Tokyo war crimes tribunal.

The article then talks about Clint Eastwood's two movies about Iwo Jima. Both films were well received in Japan.

Now, Japan has decided to rename Iwo Jima Iwoto. The article implies that revisionists in Japan forced the name change largely on account of the success of Eastwood's movies. Apparently “Letters from Iwo Jima” is so well done and so accurate, that the revisionists cannot attack the film, so they changed the name of the island.

(I find it interesting in that the revisionists, who may have changed the name of the island to get back at the film, fail to remember how Japan itself changed the name of Manchuria to Manchuko when they took over that country by force.)

Although the names Iwo Jima and Iwoto are similar, they are written differently is this could force cartographers to change the name of Iwo Jima on their charts. What vanishes will not be remembered, might be the thinking of the revisionists.

The author also notes that quibbling over the name used could help revisionists avoid dealing with issues like comfort women, the Nanjing massacre, etc.

June 23, 2007; Okinawa slams history text rewrite; Assembly tells state to retract order to downplay mass suicides

“The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly demanded Friday that the central government retract its instruction to high school history textbook publishers to downplay the military's role in ordering mass civilian suicides during the Battle of Okinawa.”

The assembly says that the civilian suicides on Okinawa in WWII could not have happened without the overt involvement of the Japanese military. During the battle, about a quarter of Okinawa's civilian population died. The revisionists want the new textbooks to downplay the suicide issue, making it appear that the civilian suicides were voluntary, and they just made use of hand grenades given to them by Japanese soldiers, rather than being forced by Japanese soldiers to use hand grenades to kill themselves. That's quite a difference. Some textbooks will even delete the reference to the grenades being given to the civlians by the Japanese army.

June 24, 2007; Okinawa marks 62nd anniversary of WWII battle

Okinawa Prefecture marked the 62nd anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa. The assembly was held at the Peace Memorial Park and was attended by Prime Minister Abe.

”In March, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry told publishers of high school history textbooks to reword phrases indicating that force or persuasion by the military was behind the mass suicides of civilians in editions to be used from the 2008 academic year.”

(This is something that should not be taken lightly. If the revisionists succeed in getting textbooks changed, than the young Japanese children growing up will be exposed to that and will gradually think that the statements are correct. The young people tend to believe what is told to them by the books and their teachers; it's part of a type of propaganda education which is done in virtually every country as part of the educational upbringing of children. )

June 24, 2007; History talks with South Korea enter new phase”

Japanese and South Korean historians are still working on an attempt to “narrow differences in their countries' textbooks” at a time when there are major controversies going on over such topics as sexual slavery.

They agreed to take two more years before compiling a report on their talks. There has already been a 2,000 page report examining differing views between the two countries on the 1920 annexation of the Korean Peninsula by Japan and other historical events.

The article has quotes from one scholar who doesn't think all this work is ever really going to solve anything. I tend to agree with him. The current revisionist movement in Japan is going to try to stop any major changes, and Korea still has a good degree of anger over being taken over by Japan. The whole thing of the committee meeting seems to me to be pretty much a waste of time.

July 4, 2007; 'Some' civilian Okinawa deaths won't halt textbook rewrite

“The Cabinet said Tuesday some residents died under the Japanese military's orders during the fierce 1945 Battle of Okinawa but refused to retract government textbook screeners' instructions to delete references that the armed forces ordered mass civilian suicides.”

July 12, 2007; Okinawa again hits mass suicide deletions

”In a rare move, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopted a second statement Wednesday demanding the central government retract instructions for history textbook publishers to play down the wartime military's role in ordering mass civilian suicides in Okinawa.”

The assembly has used a second statement since it's first statement was basically ignored by the education ministry, according to the article.

A group of local government leaders from Okinawa visited the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry earlier this month, trying to get it to withdraw its revisionist directive, but the ministry rejected their appeal.

In March, the ministry told publishers of high school history textbooks to rewrite phrases that stated or suggested Japanese soldiers pressured civilians into killing themselves, and others, including with hand grenades, during the bloody battle fought in the closing stages of World War II.”

July 17, 2007; HINOMARU & KIMIGAYO: Hinomaru, 'Kimigayo' express conflicts both past and future

The article says that Kimigayo was based on a poem written in the Heian Period (794-1185 C.E.). The lyrics roughly translate as “May your life (reign) continue for thousands of years.”

The music was written by a British military band instructor in 1869. The music was rewritten in 1880 under the supervision of a court musician from the Imperial Household Agency. It became Japan's national anthem officially in 1999.

The anthem is only about 40 seconds long.

In relation to the Japanese flag, the article says the crimson disk symbolizes the rising sun, which itself represents the Shinto goddess Amaterasu. The origin of the design is unknown, and the oldest flag with it goes back over 1,000 years ago.

The flag became Japan's official flag in 1999.

A court ruling by Tokyo high school teachers who were opposed to singing the anthem said: "It is an undeniable historical fact that the Hinomaru and 'Kimigayo' were the spiritual props of Imperialism and militarism from the Meiji Era (1868-1912) until the end of World War II. "

A Tokyo directive in 2003 made punishments for teachers who refused to sing the anthem stricter, including salary deductions and cancellation of rehiring contracts. Almost 400 teachers have been punished for not singing the anthem.

Many of those opposed to the anthem and flag having required reverence say that the two are icons, and being forced to value them “breaches their constitutional rights.”

Many of the people believe the two support or glorify Japan's World War II aggression. Their opponents say that such people are “antiestablilshment.”

The article says that the current Emperor is not in support of forcing teachers to hoist the flag or sing the anthem.

July 20, 2007; 'RETRAINING PROGRAM' AT ISSUE: Punished teachers lose 'Kimigayo' suit

The Tokyo District Court ruled against a suit filed by 130 teachers who had been punished and forced to go through a “retraining program” for refusing to stand and face the Hinomaru national flag and to sing the "Kimigayo" anthem at school events.

The suits held that the retraining program violated the teachers' constitutionally guaranteed freedom of thought and belief.

The training program involved a 20 minute lecture, after which the teachers had to write reports of some kind.

”Court decisions have been divided in suits involving teachers who refused to sing "Kimigayo" in front of the Hinomaru at school ceremonies.”

Aug. 5, 2007; Japan's war memories, so often misrepresented

The article is about a new book entitled “JAPAN'S CONTESTED WAR MEMORIES: The "Memory Rifts" in Historical Consciousness of WWII, by Philip A. Seaton. Routledge, 2007, 258 pp.

The price for the book is given in English pounds, and it's about $150 or more in U.S. dollars which makes it an extremely expensive book, at least in my opinion.

The book is by a teacher at Hokkaido University. He says that the memories of Japanese past, and different ways of approaching those memories, can be seen in current attitudes and debates about the flag, the emperor, the national anthem, etc.

He says that Japan cannot let the memories of WWII go.

He says that English-language media “misrepresents the true state of war memory among Japanese by focusing too much on attempts by conservatives and the ruling elite to impose a vindicating and glorifying narrative of the war that emphasizes Japan's victimization. “

He says that the views that are critical of Japan's role in WWII are more representative of Japanese opinion. He claims 50 to 60% of people in Japan see the Japanese role during the war as aggressive, and some 80% are critical of their government's position on war responsibilities.

As far as compensation for things that happened during the war, the author says that “In terms of Japan's steadfast legal position that all compensation claims have been resolved, he argues that "most governments tacitly accept or openly support the Japanese compensation position."

In relation to the controversy over the textbooks and revision of them, he says that "despite international media attention on nationalistic textbooks, the broader picture of the standard war history education received by school children in Japan reveals it is antiwar in nature, discourages identification with aggressive militarism, and focuses on messages of peace."

A lot of his book seems to have to do with the differences between liberals and conservatives in their use of the media, with the author basically saying that the conservatives have done a better job.

The book to me sounds fascinating. It seems to question the overall media view of Japan's position on the war, and why the conservatives in Japan get so much press coverage. Unfortunately, the book is not in English.

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