German professor blasts Japan’s attitude toward war crimes
Sep. 27, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Min Yea-Ji and Lee Jihae
The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Sept. 23 published a letter to the editor by a scholar critical of Japan’s attitude toward its wartime atrocities committed in the early 20th century.
Hannes Mosler, a professor of Korean studies at Free University of Berlin, countered arguments made by a Japanese FAZ correspondent in a column titled “East Asia’s Front Line,” published on Sept. 9. “If the relationship between the two countries (Korea and Japan) is evaluated only in terms of practicality, the core of the problem will be lost,” the scholar said.
The correspondent had written, “Korea has refused Japan’s practical expectation of trying to resolve this issue through an arbitration tribunal as stipulated by the 1965 treaty.”
Mosler responded to this by saying, “This type of blind practicality, not morality, is the core of the problem wrought by the right-wing conservative governments of Korea and Japan so far.”
“The ruling liberal Korean government is not prioritizing morality over practicality but placing morality next to practicality.”
“Germany is trying to be moral, and is not tired of acknowledging its historical wrongdoings to its neighboring countries and the whole world and admitting its responsibilities,” he said, drawing a stark contrast between Japan and Germany’s responses to their respective historical crimes.
The correspondent also wrote, “The Japanese government and its people are tired of Korea’s incessant new demands even after Japan apologized for its wartime deeds.”
On this, Mosler said, “These are not new demands. These are old demands.”
“The reason Koreans repeatedly bring this up is simple. They are tired of Japan’s repeated denials of its inhumane crimes, glorification of its wartime criminals, efforts to repudiate its pacifist constitution that outlaws war, attempts to disrupt exhibitions critical of Japan’s wartime atrocities and refusal to pay damages to wartime victims.”
Article 9 of the Japanese constitution was written by the U.S. and outlaws war, prohibiting Japan from having “armed forces with war potential.”