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The History ProblemThe Politics of War Commemoration in East Asia$
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Hiro Saito

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824856748

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824856748.001.0001

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Apologies and Denunciations, 1989–1996

Apologies and Denunciations, 1989–1996

(p.74) Chapter 3 Apologies and Denunciations, 1989–1996
The History Problem

Hiro Saito

University of Hawai'i Press

The history problem fully developed between 1989 and 1996. Japanese and South Korean NGOs expanded the transnational network to help former “comfort women” demand apologies and compensation from the Japanese government, while Japanese NGOs helped Chinese victims file compensation lawsuits against the Japanese government and corporations. At this historical juncture, the LDP was ousted from power. This allowed non-LDP prime ministers to offer apologies for Japan’s past wrongdoings more decisively than did their LDP predecessors. Nevertheless, the LDP remained the largest political party, forcing non-LDP prime ministers to compromise cosmopolitanism with nationalism in Japan’s official commemoration. This compromise intensified the history problem by galvanizing Japanese nationalists as well as the governments and citizens in South Korea and China. The former criticized the Japanese government for failing to honor Japanese war dead enough, whereas the latter criticized it for failing to commemorate South Korean and Chinese victims enough.

Keywords:   Japan, South Korea, China, LDP, nationalism, NGO, comfort women, apology, cosmopolitanism

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