Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi observed the 60th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on Monday by apologizing for the country's past militarism in Asia and pledging to uphold its postwar pacifism.
In a speech at a government-sponsored memorial service at the Nippon Budokan hall here, Mr. Koizumi also reached out directly to China and South Korea by saying that the three nations should work together "in maintaining peace and aiming at development in the region."
Mr. Koizumi joined Emperor Akihito, who said he hoped that "the horrors of war will never be repeated," in bowing before an altar of chrysanthemums. Exactly sixty years ago, the emperor's father, Emperor Hirohito, spoke directly to the Japanese people for the first time when he announced Japan's surrender over the radio, saying they should "bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable."
[. . .]
Mr. Koizumi's words were received skeptically in the region, especially in China and the Korean peninsula. In recent months, Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors have deteriorated sharply over disagreements over history, including Japan's adoption of textbooks that whitewash its wartime past, and Mr. Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the Shinto memorial where Class A war criminals are enshrined along with the war dead.
The above is from Norimitsu Onishi's "Koizumi Apologizes for War; Embraces China and South Korea" in this morning's New York Times (with contributions from Su Hyun Lee).
Shawn e-mails to note the Associated Press' "Magazine Publisher Is Eulogized as a Shaper of History:"
John H. Johnson, the pioneering black publisher who founded Ebony and Jet magazines, was remembered on Monday as a man who left "an imprint on the conscience of a nation" at a funeral service that included tributes from Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former President Bill Clinton.
[. . .]
"Only a handful of men and women leave an imprint on the conscience of a nation and on the history that they helped shape," Mr. Obama said. "John Johnson was one of these men."
Mr. Clinton, who helped escort Mr. Johnson's widow to her seat, sought to place the publisher's humble beginnings in the context of the millions of blacks who left the South for northern cities like Chicago during the great migration of the 1900's.
The THUMP you just heard was Howie Kurtz's jaw dropping to the floor. What was it that Howie said?
Howard Kurtz: John Johnson was a very important figure, and I'm glad that The Post ordered up an appreciation to run alongside my piece on Jennings even though we didn't learn of Johnson's death until about 5 p.m. last Monday. But due to the power of television, Peter Jennings was one of the most famous people in the world, while most Americans would have had trouble identifying John H. Johnson. As a magazine publisher, he played a behind-the-scenes role; as a network anchor, Jennings played the most public of roles.
With or without a blond wig, glossy lips and Nicole Kidman's charming smile, Howie was channeling To Die For:
You're not anybody in America unless you're on TV. On TV is where we learn about who we really are. Because what's the point of doing anything worthwhile if nobody's watching? And if people are watching, it makes you a better person.
See, according to Kurtz, coverage isn't based upon accomplishment or importance, it's based upon your TV-Q. As anyone who's seen To Die For can tell you, keep Howie away from high schoolers! (And Matt Dillon!)
The scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now! is:
Voices in the Wilderness is fined $20,000 for bringing humanitarian aid into Iraq. We'll speak with the group's founder, Kathy Kelly.
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