A Grand Design for Peace and Reconciliation

A Grand Design for Peace and Reconciliation

Achieving Kyosei in East Asia

Edited by Yoichiro Murakami and Thomas J. Schoenbaum

Scholars from Japan and a range of other countries explore in this book the still-unfinished effort to achieve the reconciliation of old enmities left over from past wars in East Asia. They present concrete policy proposals for a ‘grand design’ of peace based on the Japanese concept of ‘kyosei’, a word roughly translated as ‘conviviality’. A positive peace through kyosei means not only the absence of violence, but also the amelioration of past injustices, exploitation and oppression. The diversity of disciplines represented in the volume—international law and politics, history, philosophy and theology – enrich the contributors’ search for an intellectually appropriate, practically transformative and viable grand theory of peace in the twenty-first century. Chapters address issues such as security in North–South conflict situations, foreign policy strategies for Japan, the perspective of comparative religions, and current skepticism for the possibility of peace and reconciliation. These insightful and compelling analyses will be of great interest to students and researchers of East Asia and the politics of peace in general.

Chapter 10: Toward a Theology of Reconciliation: Forgiveness from the Perspective of Comparative Religion

Anri Morimoto

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, international relations, terrorism and security


Anri Morimoto 1. A PATTERN OF FAILED APOLOGIES On July 30, 2007, the United States Congress unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Japanese government to formally acknowledge and apologize for its involvement in forcing young women into sexual slavery during World War II. The Japanese government claims that it has acknowledged the “comfort women” issue and has repeatedly extended its official apologies to them. This claim is not unwarranted; in 1993 the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono issued a statement that in part said that “the Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.”1 The “Kono Statement” has since become the standard platform of Japan’s diplomatic stance regarding the issue. It was the basis for then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama’s expression of “profound and sincere remorse and apologies” in 1994. The succeeding Prime Ministers Ryutaro Hashimoto and Junichiro Koizumi issued letters of apology in 1996 and 2001, respectively, addressed to the comfort women themselves. Words were not all they offered. The government helped to establish the Asian Women’s Fund through which two million yen (about US$19,000) per person was paid to 285 former comfort women in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. In addition 700 million yen (about US$6.8 million) was paid to meet their medical and welfare needs.2 In the eyes of outsiders, however, these...

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