SELF-DEFEATING HACKING

SELF-DEFEATING HACKING

It's certainly true that Japan has been less than eager to own up to barbaric behavior before and during World War II - the rape of Nanking, the impressment of non-Japanese Asian women into service as prostitutes, the atrocities against prisoners of war and many others.

While Germany has been largely forthright about its World War II war crimes, Japanese officials have remained mostly mum, on occasion quietly murmuring a fleeting, bare-bones acknowledgement of a specific offense if pressed hard enough. They obviously would prefer that everyone forget.So there's a temptation to think positively of the computer hackers who broke into Japanese government Web sites and posted material attacking Tokyo for its remember-no-evil attitude.

But it's a temptation that should be avoided, and quickly. Hacking is illegal and potentially dangerous. Moreover, it spotlights Tokyo as a victim, not as a wrongdoer, and undermines the case the hackers are making to the public.

Meanwhile, Japan may be looking to a World War II enemy, the United States, for help in fighting the hackers.