‘Japan is an "important friend" to Singapore and a key contributor to the region, and Singapore hopes to take the relationship between the two countries further…In our early years, Japanese investment made a lot of difference to our economy….’ Hsien Loong said these in Tokyo.
He was polite not to mention that much earlier, in the 1940s, Japan invaded and conquered Singapore, colonized Singapore, and massacred hundreds of Singaporeans during the Occupation. But that was too long ago and Singaporeans have gotten that Singapore was once Syonan To, and many were forced to learn Japanese and to bow to Japanese or be slapped or kicked or even bayoneted.
During this 4 day official visit Japan had in a way apologised indirectly by giving a posthumous award to ‘the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew – the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulow nia Flowers - an award Mr Lee described as "a great honour".’ Hsien Loong and Ho Ching were also given an audience with the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and had tea with them. This is another rare honour.
With improving relations between the two countries, maybe the next person to be given a posthumous award in the same Order would be past President SR Nathan. Maybe next year.