Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lived to See the Day

Here is a video* of Japan's Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki giving the Government of Japan's regrets for the tremendous damage and suffering caused the POWs by Japan as well as his personal apology and condolences for the many deaths.

Studies have found that American POWs of Japan have had the worst Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms of any World War II veterans. These problems have lingered and even reemerged in their old age.

This article gives a sense of the atmosphere during the Ambassador's historic presentation.

For a snap analysis of this historic event, see this blog.

Later: Although this apology and expression of regret can be viewed as weak and formulaic, it is nonetheless extremely historic. It may also signal a new Japanese attitude toward resolving the importance of war issues in order to cement the US-Japan security relationship.

The Ambassador's statements paired with the Cabinet Decision reply to Upper House Member Yukihisa Fujita's question about an apology to the POWs can be considered a solid, official and formal apology to ALL POWs of Japan. This is only the second time such an official apology for Japan's wartime misdeeds has been offered and it is the first time, in this form, for a specific group harmed by the actions of Imperial Japan.

A profound and heartfelt thanks goes to all those who worked both publicly and privately, in the spotlight and behind the scenes, and known and unknown to help make this day happen and to put the souls of the POWs of Japan to rest. On behalf of my great uncle Fletcher Wood (Yale '10S) who as a civilian mining engineer in the Philippines became part of the fighting force on Corregidor at the start of the war and who died a POW in Bilibid Prison Camp in January 1945, I thank you.

*I have had no luck embedding the video clip into this blog, thus I can only give you the link.

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