There were 3 notable instances of apology during this week. In Tokyo, outspoken conservative governor Shintaro Ishihara, well known for his nationalistic views and denial of the Nanking massacre, apologised on Tuesday for describing Japan's deadly earthquake and tsunami as "divine punishment". He said Japanese people were becoming "greedy" and highlighted the case of people who continue to pocket their parents' pensions by delaying death notifications, "It is necessary to wash away the greedy mind ... by using tsunami."
In Singapore, MediaCorp issued an apology for sending out a marketing e-mail in its eagerness to urge advertisers to capitalise on breaking news about the earthquake in Japan. Responding to the backlash, Edwin Koh, senior vice-president of marketing & sales planning in Mediacorp, clarified that the email was targeted at a group of clients and agencies that had interest in being part of Channel NewsAsia's “breaking news” coverage.
In Malaysia, the Malay-language Berita Harian apologised for publishing a cartoon depicting the popular Japanese icon Ultraman running away from an oncoming tsunami. "We do not intend to be insensitive or to poke fun at last Friday's incident," the paper said in a front-page apology on Monday, adding that it was "very sympathetic" to the plight of the Japanese people.
The victims of the infraction are unfortunately in no position to comment, they have more urgent concerns to address. As for the apologies, their presentation speak for themselves. Some say a proper apology should always include the following:
- a detailed accounting by the offending party which will serve to legitimize the reaction of the recipient
- an acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done to validate the feelings of the recipient
- a recognition of the offender's role in the event to avoid defending the action or justifying the situation
- a clear statement of regret, with no vacillation of expression
- a request for forgiveness
- a promise that it won't happen again
- a form of restitution whenever possible