Now the question is deleted! From what I can tell it now has a +7/-6 vote. I believe that those who vote to delete the question owe us an explanation.

Here's my question, "Why Japan cannot “apologize” enough for World War 2?". And it has been put on hold because it's too basic.

"This question is too basic; it can be definitively answered by a single link to the relevant topic on Wikipedia or another standard reference source. If you are instead questioning the correctness of a reference source, please edit the post to supply a link and explain what you find unclear, or why you believe it to be wrong or incomplete." – Denis de Bernardy, Reinstate Monica - M. Schröder, Giter, Spencer, justCal

It is reasonable to believe that the closers think the very wiki article I linked to can provide the answer. But I have taken great pain to explain why this article is inadequate, obviously the closers simply ignore it.

To summarize here: the closers might think that the answer is because the Japan apology is not sincere enough, but I've also asked a follow up question that remains unanswered: what is preventing Japan from issuing a sincere apology like the Germany did?

There is also a comment suggested that the question should be put on hold because it is asking about the motivations of people:

Questions asking for the internal motivations of people, how specific individuals would behave in hypothetical situations or predictions for future events are off-topic, because answers would be based on speculation and their correctness could not be verified with sources available to the public

But this is not about the motivation of individuals. It is asking about the motivation of a country. In the former case, the individual motivations (most likely) could not be verified with sources, but in the later case, it's different because a country decision can be verified with sources as before it is made, it must undergo debates and can be recorded.

A simple search on History SE reveals a lot of well-received questions do ask about motivations:

  1. Why did Ford pardon Nixon?
  2. Why did Gen. Lee (Civil War) surrender to the U.S?
  3. Motivation Behind the USSR Assisting China's Nuclear Program
  4. What was the Japanese or Axis motivation to drag US into the War?

The list goes on and on and on. So the "reason" that History SE doesn't tolerate motivation question can't stand up to scrutiny.

I believe that this question is closed wrongly. Please reopen.

  • 1
    Just a suggestion (and I'm not sure if it's a good one or not so I'm commenting rather than answering): the question seems broad because there are a lot of different 'groups' / nations involved. Perhaps you should focus on one 'group' / nation, but then I suspect that this may be too basic as 'reasons for rejecting apologies' is probably easily googled. Your question "what is preventing Japan from issuing a sincere apology like the Germany did?" seems a better fit on politics, though (as Semaphore commented, though I'm not sure if he had that specific question in mind). Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 14:45
  • Note also the different reaction of the Philippines compared to "China and South Korea and other Asian victims of Japan’s aggression". Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 15:03
  • 1
    @Graviton You might also look over this meta question discussing re-opening questions here, particularly the top answers second paragraph concerning what may make a question more likely to be reopened.
    – justCal
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 15:03
  • @LаngLаngС Again, I wasn't one of those who voted to delete, but the normal process seems to have been followed. From the timeline, the deletion votes look to have followed edits that broadened the question without addressing the reason it had been put on hold, which might have been the reason. There were also a number of comments added to the question after comments had been moved to chat, which also might have been a factor I suppose. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 22:43
  • @LаngLаngС From our Help Centre: Why and how are some questions deleted? Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 22:45
  • 2
    To avoid any confusion, to anyone: It is my personal opinion that deleting the question on main (regardless of my edit on this metaQ merely updating a mainQ status) is quite excessive. If voters for 'put-on-hol'd or the quite quick deletion-voters want to have a say on this difficult to comprehend behaviour, I'd like to encourage them to post an answer here. Now, in my opinion, no explanation or potential improvement 'out-of-deletion' is to be found here on meta. Please, do not feel any obligation. It's just: Nobody has to, everyone should, and the existing stuff is insufficient or outdated. Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 0:31
  • So to help I tried to edit the question to make it better. It is true that the form (rather than the substance) of the question was poor, you asked the same question 4 times in the body, told some unnecessary off-topic stuff and don't explain clearly why the WP article (which I didn't read BTW) doesn't answer your question. I tried to help let's see if this'll work and cast reopen votes or not. As for why it was deleted it's probably excessive but some people might systematically delete old closed questions - regardless of the content.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


The Wikipedia article you cited includes a section titled Controversy, which does in fact appear (to me) to answer your question. Despite your assertion that

"... I have taken great pain to explain why this article is inadequate ..."

I do not see that explanation in your question (where it should be) or in the comments below the question (which are in any case ephemeral).

In the absence of that explanation, your question does indeed appear to be too basic, as defined in the Help Centre, and the closure looks to have been reasonable.

To take the specific example of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's 2006 apology, the Wikipedia article notes that:

In October 2006, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's apology was followed on the same day by a group of 80 Japanese lawmakers' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine which enshrines more than 1,000 convicted war criminals. Two years after the apology, Shinzo Abe also denied that the Imperial Japanese military had forced comfort women into sexual slavery during World War II . In addition, Prime Minister Abe claimed that the Class A war criminals "are not war criminals under the laws of Japan". He also cast doubt on Murayama apology by saying, "The Abe Cabinet is not necessarily keeping to it" and by questioning the definition used in the apology by saying, "There is no definitive answer either in academia or in the international community on what constitutes aggression. Things that happen between countries appear different depending on which side you're looking from."

[Citations for these assertions are included in the original article.]

It is, perhaps, unsurprising therefore that many felt that apology to be insincere.

Now, consider if Germany had maintained an official shrine to Nazi war-criminals, and that a large group of members of the Bundestag had visited that shrine shortly after the German Chancellor had issued a formal apology for atrocities committed during the war.

Imagine that a couple of years later, the German Chancellor had then denied that some of those atrocities had actually occurred, and argued that in any case, those war-crimes were not actually 'crimes' under German law.

Do you think that people would have believed the original official apology to have been sincere under those circumstances?

Now, I wasn't one of those who voted to close. However, I did consider doing so on the grounds that it is unclear exactly what you are asking. There are many different groups and individuals who feel that Japan has never issued a sincere apology for their acts during the Second World War. When you ask:

Why Japan cannot “apologize” enough for World War 2?

my first question is "apologise to whom?". There will be different answers according to who you ask.

To address your supplemental point about up-votes and down-votes in comments, you say that you received 2 downvotes on the main question. That is incorrect. The current vote-count shows that you have actually received 5 down-votes and 4 up-votes.

The tool-tip for the up-vote button states that:

This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear.

while the tool-tip for the down-vote button states:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.

Of course, up-votes and down-votes are anonymous, and people do vote for other reasons (which, I assume, explains the up-votes in this case).

For other possible reasons that people may have down-voted, you might find the post Why did my question get a downvote? here on Meta to be helpful.

  • 1
    Even if the apology is "insincere" and the wiki article contains this "too basic" information, you should read the question in its entirety-- the follow up question "what prevented Japan from issuing a 'perceived as sincere' apology long ago like apparently Germany did?" ? The answer to the second question is nowhere to be found on wiki.
    – Graviton
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 0:35
  • It strikes me as quite ironic that the closers are over two minds as to why the questions must be closed, either it's too basic, or it's too opinion-based. Both reasons can't be true.
    – Graviton
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 0:36
  • 2
    My impression is that the closers are just looking for the most minor excuses to close the question, nevermind whether the excuses are coherent or even relevant. Nevermind the whole context of the question.
    – Graviton
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 0:37
  • 5
    @Graviton It is perfectly possible for there to be multiple (valid) reasons for closing a question on SE sites. The more sub-questions a question contains, the more likely it is that there will be multiple valid reasons for closure. There is a reason why SE suggests that questions 'only contain one question'. In this case, the answer to your supplementary question is implied in the example I quoted from the Wikipedia page, and the mention of the lawmakers' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 0:57

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