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Statesmanship on Paying Homage

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December 29, 2016

Why in news?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited to Pearl Harbour this week.

Why the apology has been delayed?

  • In the case of Japan, the conservatives have long regarded that any attempt to apologise for Pearl Harbour incident in 1941 as nothing but a betrayal of the national interest.
  • In the US view, the horror in Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to a close sooner than it might otherwise have been. They have also sought to reject the narrative that the dropping of the atom bomb was a calculated demonstration of U.S. and western military superiority in a Cold War scenario.

Were there precedence?

  • Much earlier this year the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has formally apologized in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident.
  • Kniefall von Warschau was a famous incident that happened on December 7, 1970, during a visit to a monument of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by the then German Chancellor Willy Brandt.
  • After laying down a wreath, Brandt, spontaneously knelt. He remained silently in that position for a short time apologising for the crimes commited in Warsaw Ghetto.

Why is it significant?

  • Earlier U.S. President Barack Obama paid his homage at the peace memorial at Hiroshima.
  • Both the leaders have undertaken this bold and difficult journey on behalf of their peoples.
  • Conspicuous gestures of reconciliation between nations to heal the deep emotional wounds of wars will have connotations that go beyond the symbolic.
  • Abe and Obama have displayed a statesmanlike readiness to rise above partisan accounts.
  • They emphasised the need to bridge the gulf that neither history nor geography could have narrowed.
  • “The ability to acknowledge a wrong that has been done, to simply say sorry, will go a far far longer way than some percentage of GDP in the form of aid.”
  • Prime Minister Abe and President Obama have shown how history can be revisited in a realistic manner.
  • It remains for countries grappling with their own complex pasts to draw the right lessons from this.

 

Category: Mains | GS – II | International Relations

Source: The Indian Express

 

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