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Apology and pardon are everyday social responses to all sorts of social breaches and legal wrongs. Apology expresses regret and responsibility. The aim is remedial. To apologize indicates an intention to restore or maintain a relationship. It invites a reciprocal response. Apology seeks pardon. Pardon in turn reflects an injured party's willingness to restore a preexisting relationship and to avoid hostility.

Apology and pardon are widely practiced in closely knit, stable communities. The prevalence of apology in Japan is well known. Equally well documented is the incidence of apology and community pardon in response to wrongdoing in tribal rituals. Preference for apology and pardon also has underpinnings in most religions. By ameliorating the consequences of injury and wrongdoing, they dissipate grievance. They thereby facilitate peaceful resolution ...

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