70th anniversary a time for reflection

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 2, 2015
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The September 2nd anniversary of Japan signing the papers of surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay in 1945 has profound influence in many countries in Asia and the world.

For some it meant independence, not just from the Japanese invaders, but from the Western colonialist powers. For others, independence would come later. Some countries descended immediately into chaos and civil wars. Some remained enemies with Japan, while others embraced the defeated nation. New nations were created and a new superpower emerged.

Now,70 years later, the world order is once again being remade, and another world power is rising. The varied impact World War II had on countries around the world reflects the different ways each country is approaching the commemoration of the 70th anniversary.

The People's Republic of China is officially celebrating victory over the Japanese with a military parade that will be attended by leaders from 30 countries. The date wasn't made an official holiday until last year. At the events of 2014, President Xi Jinping referred to the brutal history of the war and called on Japan to reflect on the atrocities it committed across the Asia-Pacific region.

For China, the war represented the final chapter of its "Century of Humiliation" at the hands of foreign powers, and the economic development it has experienced in the past few decades symbolizes that reversal. The military parade will showcase a strong China that can defend itself.

It is different for the aggressors in Japan. Japanese prime ministers have traditionally given speeches with some version of an apology and a call for peace, but China and Korea usually don't find their apologies sufficient, and this year was no different, as Korean protesters burnt Japanese flags on August 15, when the war ended with Japan's surrender.

Yet as hard as it may be for Japanese nationalists to accept defeat, the military setback was ultimately good for the development of their country as well. American occupation helped build a viable democracy in Japan, and the economy thrived in the decades after the war, as trade built more amicable ties than the previous militarism.

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