Japan's Uncomfortable Past

Gavan McCormack analyses the attempts by the Japanese nation to deal with its uncomfortable past.

The question of responsibility for the war that ended a half century ago becomes more pressing for Japan as the war itself recedes in memory. Social and political rifts over the issue deepen, and the international ramifications grow more serious. Since the beginning of the 1990s dozens of law suits claiming apology and compensation have been lodged with Tokyo courts on behalf of the many victims of Japan’s colonialism and aggression, including the former ‘Comfort Women’, the victims of the Nanking and other massacres, and the victims of bacteriological or chemical attacks on wartime China. Of all the issues, the Comfort Women may be most intractable.

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