22 MAY 1993, Page 25

Never forget Japan

Sir: Nigel Nicolson writes (Long life, 15 May): 'In the autumn of 1989 it was gloomily forecast that we were in for six years of commemorating the 50th anniver- saries of every major event of the last world war. In fact, the celebrations have been severely rationed. We have been asked to remember Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, Pearl Harbor, El Alamein and Stalingrad, and still to come will be D-Day, perhaps the liberation of Paris, Arnhem (because it hurts so much), VE Day and Hiroshima. That's about all.'

As my father died in a PoW camp in Japan I tend to take a jaundiced view of the establishment's attitude to the war with Japan. Pearl Harbor was rightly in the list above, for President Bush visited it to mark the 50th anniversary; but did any British minister do anything to mark the simulta- neous attack on Malaya? It is significant that VJ-Day is missing from the list. My own predictions for 50th anniversaries in 1995 include the following: a service in Westminster Abbey in May, on or about VE-Day, to mark the 'end' of the war; some form of communal breast-beat- ing to mark the bombing of Hiroshima. But VJ-Day? Certainly not. That would be in terribly bad taste, and might have an adverse effect on Japanese investment.

J. Alan Smith

40 Albany Cut, Epping, Essex