Humanity or Atonement?

So I’m sitting at the office browsing Reddit when what do I see but a post titled “This is called humanity” which links to an image of what appears to be an elderly Japanese man with the following block of text.

Old People Line Up To Clean Radiation in Japan
Mr. Yamada
“I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live.
Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 to 30
years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance
of getting cancer.”

Basically a group of 200+ retirees are volunteering to expose
themselves to high levels of radiation so the young men and women
don’t have to. Making the ultimate sacrifice to protect the lives
of their children, and their children’s children.

Now at first glance I figured OK, I knew they were doing this and kudos to them for stepping up to the plate and getting shit done.  I should have stopped reading after that instead of clicking on the comments.  What followed was a multi-page suck fest of people gushing about how Japan is so awesome because the old folks there are down with suicide based on piss-poor knowledge of radiation and what it does to you.  They seem to think that because they might only have a decade and a half left based on their age that they are somehow immune to radiation just because they make a mental correlation with it and cancer, which is slow to manifest symptoms.  Unfortunately for them a deceased Canadian physicist by the name of Louis Slotin would beg to differ on the more immediate effects of radiation; he died 9 days after recieving a fatal dose of radiation ( 2100 rems, or 21 Sv ) while doing something incredibly stupid.

So now that we have it out of the way that radiation doesn’t just give you cancer, lets move on to a few reasons why Japan is not the pure snow flake that some folks suggest it is (often times merely in contrast to the US and its actions against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki).  For starters they systematically raped and killed an entire city at Nanking with estimates of the number of rapes alone going as high as 20,000.  Since the US normally is berated and slagged for its use of nuclear weapons against Japan its only fitting to mention here that Japan also maintained a rather impressive Biological and Chemical Weapons program, commonly referred to as Unit 731.  The unit has to their credit a potential death toll of 200,000 through such creative methods as vivisection, forced amputation, and even intentional infection with sexually transmitted diseases.

The items previously outlined are most certainly atrocities, but they are limited in scope due to the fact that they were carried out by specific units rather than being part of a broad campaign covering multiple fronts.  Unfortunately other despicable practices were carried out by the Japanese such as the taking of “comfort women” which in case you can’t figure out gentle reader is a very police way of saying sex slaves.  Now I can safely say had a western nation such as the US carried out a campaign of forced sexual slavery every single person previously commenting in the thread I mentioned would be demanding with much froth and anger a full scale nuclear strike upon the US to level every building and leave nothing behind but dust and faded memories, but for some reason those small shreds are more than people are willing to admit or acknowledge about Japan’s unsavory and disgusting past.