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Former US Ambassador to ADB: Stepping back will earn Japan the right to stand tall

(Financial Times)


From Ms Linda Tsao Yang.


Sir, I am in total agreement with Jean-Pierre Lehmann (Letters, December 9) that Japan must take the first step away from the precipice of war in east Asia.

Unlike Germany after the second world war, Japan has yet to make peace with its neighbours. Emperor Akihito has yet to acknowledge the brutal assault by the Imperial army against tens of thousands of Korean girls and women during the war. He has yet to apologise to the souls of hundreds of thousands of civilians massacred by Japan's Imperial army in Nanking 76 years ago this month.

I worked closely with many Japanese colleagues when I was the US ambassador and executive director to the board of the Asian Development Bank. We worked together to help Asian countries, most notably South Korea, in the midst of the devastating Asian economic crisis of 1997-98. I came to admire their cultural heritage, integrity of character and the courage to be accountable.

By making peace with its neighbours as Germany did, especially Willy Brandt, Japan will lead east Asia away from the precipice of war. Japan will be accorded genuine respect and admiration by its neighbours. More than that, Japan earns the right to stand tall among the family of nations.


Linda Tsao Yang, Davis, CA, US


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