Phil Deans

Stories by Phil Deans

  • Essay: Asia's Glass Houses

    It may seem strange that Japan's imperial past still makes headlines. But the debate over history in Asia has much to do with the present. Revisionists who dispute Japan's wartime responsibility have a contemporary agenda: they seek to revise Japan's pacifist Constitution to enable a more aggressive foreign policy and to improve Japan's place in the world.These attempts, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's prevarications on the comfort-women question, have understandably made Japan's neighbors nervous. But few of Tokyo's Asian critics have impeccable records themselves. The governments of China, both Koreas and, to a lesser extent, Taiwan have all glossed over the dark blots on their own histories.Not many countries suffered more in the 20th century than China. Some of this was caused by Japan, but much resulted from Chinese Communist rule. Mao Zedong contributed to the death of several millions from famine with his misguided Great Leap Forward (an agricultural reform program), and the...