Few politicians have spoken as comprehensively as General Tamogami did. Instead they have telegraphed their sympathies with the rightist view of history. The current prime minister, Taro Aso, in the past publicly praised Japanese colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Aso, whose family’s mining business used forced laborers during World War II, also said Koreans gladly adopted Japanese names.The real story, then, is that Taro Aso, who had as one of his first acts as Prime Minister accepted the Murayama Kono Statements, fired General Tamogamo in a political instant. Now what does that say about the Japanese polity?
Hours before the general’s dismissal, Mr. Aso said, “Even though he published it in a private capacity, given his position, it is not appropriate.”
Last year, Shinzo Abe, then the prime minister, drew anger in Asia and the United States by denying the Japanese military’s involvement in recruiting the wartime sex slaves known euphemistically as “comfort women.”
His comments led the United States House of Representatives to adopt a nonbinding resolution calling on Japan to acknowledge and apologize for its wartime sex slavery. Japan has yet to respond.
China and South Korea are satisfied; not, it seems, Norimitsu Onishi.