Japan has spent decades apologizing for their part in World War II. This year, the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided the apologies need stop.  


On Friday, Abe gave a speech expressing “profound grief” for those killed during the war, but refused to issue a new apology for the part Japan played in many of these deaths. His reasoning for not giving an apology was that Japan’s population is made up of less than 20 percent of Japanese citizens that were alive during the war.     


“We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even future generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize,” said Abe.


Should Japan still feel the need to apologize for a war that most of their citizens weren’t even alive to experience? China, North Korea, and South Korea were displeased with the prime minister’s missing apology, but not just because of the wartime casualties. During World War II, Japan used Chinese and Korean women as sex slaves, and the country was never fully forgiven for these acts. China’s state-run news, Xinhua, wrote a column saying the prime minister’s statement marked a “crippled start to build trust among its neighbors.”   




“Japan is talking about future and responsibility and contribution in the international community without making an apology,” said North Korea’s Foreign Ministry through the Korean Central News Agency. “It is an unpardonable mockery of the Korean people and an act of deceiving the international community.”  


Abe’s belief that the country doesn’t need to issue an apology may come from the fact the he himself was born a decade after the war had ended, giving him an entirely different perspective. Although he will no longer apologize, Abe still wants his country to learn from past mistakes by helping to ensure “women’s human rights are not infringed upon.”   


Should the prime minister have issued an apology or should Japan receive forgiveness after 70 years? What will come of Japan’s hurt relations with China and Korea? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.