Major South Korean newspaper: Atomic bombings were divine retribution. / “God may feel that retaliation against Japan hasn’t been complete.”
The JoongAng Ilbo, one of South Korean’s biggest newspapers, has printed an opinion piece arguing that the atomic bombings of Japan were “God’s vengeance,” and that Japan may deserve more divine punishment.
According to NHK, the Japanese government has filed an official protest about the article. NHK’s article focuses on the atomic bombings, and doesn’t mention the ending section of the article, which is arguably worse:
Abe seems to be hallucinating. The low-yen boom and extreme-rightists’ support have blinded him to push Japan onto an arrogant and selfish path. He is mistaken when he thinks he can challenge the memory and decency of humanity just to be popular among his own ignorant people.
Abe is free to do as he wishes. But God, too, is at liberty. The vindictive spirit of the Maruta has been resurrected thanks to Abe. God may feel that retaliation against Japan hasn’t been complete.
What is the challenge to human decency that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is apparently guilty of? It would seem that earlier this month, he posed for a photo in a Japanese jet that happened to have the number 731 printed on it. Anti-Japanese nationalists in South Korean and China were angry about the number, with some seeing it as a deliberate attempt to remind them of Unit 731. Major newspapers helped fuel the anger:
“Abe’s pose resurrects horrors of Unit 731,” read the headline on the English-language Korea Joongang Daily. The Chosun Ilbo’s caption referred to “Abe’s never-ending provocations.”
None of the newspapers gave any indication of whether their Tokyo-based staff had tried to establish whether there was any intent to use a jet marked 731, although the Chosun Ilbo noted that there were other jets at the same base with different numbers that could have been used.
A Defense Ministry official in Tokyo said that the numbering on the jet was pure chance.
“The last three digits on the Blue Impulse jets are their individual ID numbers. There isn’t much we can say other than that the number was purely coincidental,” the official said.
Other South Korean newspapers tried for even crazier conspiracy theories:
The Dong-A Ilbo, another large national paper, ran a composite photo that also showed Mr. Abe wearing a baseball jersey with the number 96. This, according to the Dong-A, could be another “numerical provocation” since Article 96 is the section of the Japanese constitution that Mr. Abe wants to revise as part of his goal to allow Japan to formally possess a military.
Abe pointed out a much more obvious reason for the number: he is the 96th Prime Minister of Japan.