The claim that Japan refuses to acknowledge its World War II-era atrocities or pay reparations to victims is inaccurate.
Japan has apologized for and accepted the fact that it inflicted great suffering on the people of many countries. For example, in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the war’s end, then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama expressed deep remorse, which has been upheld by all administrations since then, including the current Shinzo Abe administration.
In order to comprehensively cover the war damages to the countries involved, Japan provided reparations in accordance with peace treaties, which legally settled the individual claims as well.
In fact, this practice of comprehensively settling claims by signing peace treaties between countries is the international norm. On the contrary, it is my understanding that Germany took its own approach of issuing personal compensation to individuals such as Holocaust victims because Germany was divided into two nations and could not sign peace treaties to settle the issue of reparations comprehensively.
Japan respects Germany’s sincere treatment of its war victims; however, our nation also managed to provide reparations in good faith despite our own difficult postwar economic situation. For example, reparations amounting to $550 million were made to the Philippines in 1956; this amount represented 18.2% of the Japanese government’s budget.
Furthermore, to offer relief to World War II-era comfort women, the government has extended its sincere apologies and established the Asian Women’s Fund, a cooperative effort between the Japanese people and their government. Through this fund Japan has provided atonement money to former comfort women and implemented medical and welfare support projects.
Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles
CLARIFICATION:This article was not written specifically for The Rafu Shimpo but was a letter to the editor originally published in The Los Angeles Times on July 21 in response to letters, published on July 14 under the headline “Japan’s World War II Denialism,” claiming that Japan has not apologized or made amends for its war crimes.