You can't buy forgiveness

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 12:00am

Can cash solve something that happened in the past? Thirteen people who were injured by chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese soldiers at the end of the second world war are flying to Tokyo for the court hearing on their compensation claims. Most of the victims were working on a river dredger when they accidentally dug up a mustard-gas bomb in 1974. They were injured because they had carried the bomb from the river to the dredger without having any idea of what it was. Within a few hours, they developed respiratory problem, skin irritation, severe headaches and had blisters as big as grapes all over their body. They are seeking 360 million yen (HK$24 million).

However, can cash solve anything? Will those seeking money from Japan be cured by money? No, the past is the past. Nothing or no one can change it. As a Japanese citizen, I strongly disagree with Chinese people seeking money from Japan. It is not only because I am Japanese, I would state the same thing no matter what nationality I was.

Why should Japan pay HK$24 million? They shouldn't because the war was already over when these people were injured by the accident. Did Vietnam get money from America for their damages? Is Iraq getting money from America for their damages?

Japan is the only country where the atomic bomb was ever dropped and, even though it did huge damage in Japan, America did not pay for it. The atomic bomb destroyed Japan, its people, the environment, and everything. Japan should pay the HK$24 million if it solved anything, but it would not. Even if the US decided to pay Japan money for war damage, the scars of Japan would not be healed, the history of the world war would not be erased and the fear that people had during that time would not be forgotten. Though the injuries the Chinese workers suffered are tragic, the money they seek cannot undo the past. Instead, there should be an international clean up. Every nation working together to find the evil weapons from the war.