26 August 2022
In the 21st century, more than 70 years after the end of the colonial period in Japan and 60 years in the case of France, the past has been largely pardoned and forgotten in most of the former colonies or territories occupied during the war, except in the case of Algeria for France and the case of South Korea, North Korea and the People’s Republic of China for Japan. [...] The weight of identity nationalism If the risks of a return to militarism and the risks linked to “Japanese nationalism” are often put forward and taken up by the media, the nationalist dimension in South Korea―but also in the People’s Republic of China―to explain the persistence of memorial issues is a dimension that cannot be overlooked. [...] However, despite these major circumstantial differences, tensions at the bilateral level remain unresolved in both cases, and both Japan and France are confronted with the same reluctance to solve the issues and “look towards the future.” In the case of Japan and Korea, the status quo is all the more difficult to accept as the strategic dimension should be at the forefront given North Korea’s nucl. [...] Among the many points in common between France and Japan, and one of the most important and persistent stumbling blocks to reconciliation with their former colonies in South Korea and in Algeria, is the refusal by the formerly colonized party to “let go” of the past to look towards the future. [...] Moreover, the speed and scope of reconciliation and dialogue on history and memory issues are almost entirely in the hands of Algeria in the case of France, or South Korea in the case of Japan, and at the mercy of insecure or weak political movements tempted by nationalism and populism.