In 1991, on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese prime minister issued an apology to the United States, expressing "deep remorse... that we inflicted an unbearable blow on the people of America and the Asian countries". Nearly 53 years after the event, Japan's government apologized for failing to break off diplomatic negotiations before launching the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that pulled the USA into the Second World War. The apology for the Japanese diplomats' "deeply regrettable" conduct was not addressed to the USA, but to the people of Japan. At the 50th anniversary of Japan's surrender in 1945, the Japanese prime minister apologized for the country's actions during World War II, making the statement at a separate press-conference and not at the official commemoration ceremony. This marked the very first time that a Japanese government leader used the word "apology/ies". In contrast, Germany has issued sincere and timely apologies for it's role and conduct in World War II.
When a country is/was the war aggressor and/or committed state sanctioned war crimes there are no better grounds to apologize to the victims. A timely, full and sincere apology is called for. Anything less is irresponsible because it sympathizes and supports such crimes against humanity, whilst permitting mistrust, lack of forgiveness and ill-feelings of both parties to linger. War wounds that need to heal simply do not heal well in such a climate. Germany and Japan were aggressor nations during World War II. Both nations committing horrific war crimes against humanity. This is not in dispute, only their official recognition is. Of both countries, only the German government and many Germans have come to terms with their role and conduct during the Second World War. These actions, together with timely and sincere apologies to victims, have gained Germany international respect and reconciliation. Japan's continued reluctance to fully and sincerely apologize to her victims before and during World War Two have uselessly enabled ill-feelings to linger on more than half a century after the event.
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