Daniel Dolan (President, Seattle Communication)
Towards "the 21st Century Charter"
Professor Toshio Kuroda's November 2001 essay titled "Islamic Solidarity and Socio-Cultural Tradition" is for the most part a sensitive and well-reasoned plea for increased understanding of Islam. However, I question the claims he makes in the following section of the essay's final paragraph:
"In fact, Japan is in the best position among advanced nations to contribute to the avoidance of a possible clash of civilizations, not only because Japan has no historical debt to this world such as colonialism, but also because Japan has a traditional culture that is quite different from Western culture and actually shares some of the Eastern characteristics of the Islamic civilization. We are among the few who can understand both civilizations fully and become a true third party to mediate the conflicts between the two sides."
It is not clear to me exactly what Professor Kuroda means by arguing that "Japan has no historical debt to this world such as colonialism." In my understanding of "historical debt," surely Japan's wartime activities do not afford the nation some kind of privileged moral position over other countries. Considering the question more broadly it seems to me that all nations--particularly those with relatively significant impacts on natural resources and the environment--owe some kind of "historical debt" to this world.