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Yasukuni Shrine justifies war

According to the shrine ‘War is a really tragic thing to happen, but it was necessary in order for us to protect the independence of Japan and to prosper together with Asian neighbours.’ It says ‘Japan's dream of building a Great East Asia was necessitated by history and it was sought after by the countries of Asia.’

‘Comfort women’, it claims despite contrary evidence, ‘were not forced to serve by the Japanese Empire. Koreans were not forced to change their names to Japanese ones.’ The shrine also points to atrocities committed by the Allied forces but is silent about Japan’s own widespread atrocities. It describes Japan's conquest of East Asia before World War Two as an effort to save East Asia from the imperial advances of western powers.

It is this denial of Japans past atrocities and continuing justification of its military conquests by sections of the establishment and population that causes concern. Unlike Germany which has fully acknowledged its past and then moved on, Japan, despite its generosity and considerable economic aid to neighbouring countries, continues to cling to a fantasy image of its past – an image it tries to perpetuate through misleading history school text book.

It gradually became obvious to some doctors that that some men at the front were suffering from non-physical injuries from what became know as shell-shock.

Some doctors argued that the only cure for shell-shock was a complete rest away from the fighting. Officer were likely to be sent back home to recuperate but the army was less sympathetic to ordinary soldiers with shell-shock. Some senior officers took the view that these men were cowards who were trying to get out of fighting.

Between 1914 and 1918 the British Army identified 80,000 men (2% of those who saw active service) as suffering from shell-shock. many more soldiers with these symptoms were classified as 'malingerers' and sent back to the front-line. Some these committed suicide; some broke down under the pressure and refused to obey the orders, some deserted. Sometimes soldiers who disobeyed orders were shot on the spot, some were court-martialled. 304 British soldiers were executed.