Resistance to the Six Elements of Political Apologies: Who Opposes Which Elements?

Yohsuke Ohtsubo*, Kazunori Inamasu, Shoko Kohama, Nobuhiro Mifune, Atsushi Tago

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Political apologies, which typically consist of (a) admission of injustice/wrongdoing, (b) acknowledgment of harm and/or victim suffering, (c) expression of remorse, (d) acceptance of responsibility, (e) offer of repair, and (f) forbearance, often meet opposition from the constituency of the apologizing government. This study investigated which of these 6 elements people would most strongly oppose. Eight hundred Japanese participants (400 men and 400 women, aged 20 to 79 years) indicated how much resistance they would feel to the Japanese government’s expression of each of the 6 elements in a hypothetical political apology to an (unspecified) Asian country. The strongest resistance was associated with elements (a), (b), and (c), followed by elements (d) and (e), and the weakest resistance was reported for element (f). An exploratory cluster analysis identified the existence of a minority of the most resistant individuals (n = 64), whose mean resistance scores for elements (a) to (e) were greater than 5.5 on a 7-point scale. This group most strongly opposed elements (c) and (d), which were not the elements that the entire sample most strongly opposed. The most resistant individuals appear to have different sentiments regarding their government’s political apologies than the rest of the population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-458
Number of pages10
JournalPeace and Conflict
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Political apology
  • Remorse
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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