Hiroshima’s Other Chain Reaction

Thanks but no thanks, says Japan. (Perhaps the single most disturbing photo of the aftermath of the bombing: U.S. Navy Public Affairs)

Thanks but no thanks, says Japan. (Perhaps the single most disturbing photo of the aftermath of the bombing: U.S. Navy Public Affairs)

Apparently, President Obama will not be using his visit to Hiroshima in a couple of weeks to provide support for recent revisionist history, which holds that dropping atom bombs on Japan did not cause Japan to surrender in World War II. Deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes wrote:

He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.

Even if the president were inclined to apologize, as many are calling for, oddly Japan may not be down with that. In the Los Angeles Times, Jake Adelstein explains.

There’s concern, for instance, it might undermine Abe’s initiative to give Japan a more nimble, capable military and clear the way for troops to fight overseas, something that hasn’t happened since the end of World War II. Abe’s primary goal, Stewart says, is to strengthen the military and everything else, including his economic platform of Abenomics, is a means to achieve that goal.

An apology also could harden the opposition to using nuclear power in Japan, a sentiment that blossomed after the meltdown at Fukushima. The administration has made nuclear power a major part of its energy policy.

“Overemphasizing the inhuman nature of the nuclear weapons used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki goes against what the current government of Japan has been working on so hard for decades — removing ‘allergic’ reaction against nuclear weapons and nuclear power. In short, let the sleeping dogs lie,” Koichi Nakano, a professor of Japanese politics at Sophia University, said.

Also as a subhead to the article reads, “It could set off a chain reaction of apologies.” In other words, former diplomat Grant Newsham tells Adelstein:

“If Obama apologizes at Hiroshima, it draws attention to Japanese behavior elsewhere in Asia during the ’30s and ’40s. It might even be demanded that the Japanese government and emperor go to Singapore and apologize for slaughtering 25,000 Chinese there in 1942. Or to Australia to apologize for how they treated their POWs. Or to the Philippines (to apologize) for a few hundred thousand murders by the Imperial Japanese Army as well.”

Presumably that could result in enhanced demands for reparations. Oh, I forgot: Japan probably doesn’t have money for that because of the cost of Fukushima.