Al Jazeera video slamming ‘Oppenheimer’ for not challenging US ‘war crimes’ against Japan goes viral

Al Jazeera video slamming ‘Oppenheimer’ for not challenging US ‘war crimes’ against Japan goes viral

A report accusing the hit film “Oppenheimer” of ignoring U.S. “war crimes” against Japan during World War II went viral and sparked fierce backlash on social media on Monday.

The Christopher Nolan-directed thriller about the making of the atomic bomb was one of the highest grossing films in 2023. However, it premiered in Japan just last weekend, more than eight months after its U.S. release, due to the controversy surrounding the film’s sensitive subject.

On the heels of the Japan premiere, AJ+, which is a digital news and storytelling project owned by Al Jazeera, put out a video hitting the filmmakers for not challenging the U.S. decision to use the bombs against Japan.

“The movie doesn’t outright challenge the decision to use the bombs against Japanese civilians,” a reporter explains.”It’s actually in line with the U.S. refusal to confront crimes committed against Japan and the justification that the bombs were necessary to end the war.”


In the video, historian Naoko Wake, an associate professor of History at Michigan State University, argued the film only presented a “limited” and one-sided aspect of the war.

“[The U.S. doesn’t] want to raise any questions about the accepted notion of World War II as a good war,” she says. “We still depend on it, right?”

The two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are estimated to have killed around 200,000 people. The AJ+ reporter claimed the nuclear attacks were “by definition, war crimes,” as they killed mostly civilians.

Wake, who has spoken to dozens of survivors of the attacks, said many suffered radiation illnesses and cancer later in life. She argued the U.S. has refused to take “accountability” for the suffering the bombs caused.

To question the “so-called good war” would threaten national interest and security, she continued.

“After 78 years, not a single U.S. president has apologized to the victims,” the reporter added. “This fits perfectly with America’s pattern of avoiding accountability for crimes committed.”


The video post went viral, racking up nearly 21 million views on X in less than 24 hours since it was posted Monday afternoon.

X commenters pushed back on the video’s message in the Community Notes section.

“Japan has refused to acknowledge and has even outright denied the numerous war crimes and atrocities that it committed during World War II,” the top comment read. 

X users linked to articles describing war crimes, such as Japan’s refusal to acknowledge the mass rape and murder of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers in the Nanjing Massacre or its live experiments on foreign prisoners of war.

“I’m so sorry you and your Nazi allies were defeated,” comedian Lou Perez  sarcastically wrote under the post.

“Shut up!! You invited the bombs when you refused to surrender! Japan has brought so much death and destruction to China and other Asian countries during WWII. The horrific war crimes against humanity should never be forgotten!” author and survivor of Mao’s cultural revolution, Xi Van Fleet, commented.

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