The August follies
In the years following its surrender in August 1945 — abetted by breast-beaters in the West — Japan did a brilliant job of portraying itself as one of the war's primary victims because of the atomic bombs that ended it. (And saved the lives of several hundred thousand Japanese, not to mention the American, British, Chinese, and other lives that would have been lost if the war had gone on for another six months, as everyone expected.) So now, every August, we have the twin spectacles in which Japan first parades its anti-nuke bona fides, then ties itself into knots trying to make an adequate apology for having started the war in the first place. It's particularly amusing this year, on the 70th anniversary of Little Boy and Fat Man on August 6/9, and the Showa emperor's broadcast on August 15.
Even in 1945, the emperor carefully refrained from admitting any war guilt, or even to admit that he was surrendering. ("The war situation," he said in one of history's greatest understatements, "has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage.") Since then it has only gotten worse, to the point where historians joke that most people know only two things about the Pacific War: that the Americans dropped and atomic bomb on Hiroshima, so the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.