International Citizens' Forum on War Crimes & Redress --
Seeking Reconciliation & Peace for the 21st Century
Address:     ICF, 4-5-16-301, Iidabashi. Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan 102-0072
Phone:        +81-3-3237-0217,      Fax:     +81-3-3237-0287

Press Release

December 9, 1999


The International Citizens’ Forum (“ICF”) on War Crimes & Redress -- Seeking Reconciliation & Peace for the 21st Century will begin tomorrow, 10 December in Tokyo. The organizer has held a press conference at the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Club today.


ICF is organized by Japanese citizens groups of scholars, attorneys and human rights activists who have been working on the redress issue of victims of Japanese atrocities committed before and during WW II. Our hats off to these Japanese citizens who have been making efforts to help victims of victimized countries to obtain justice from Japan.  Indeed, they have relentlessly tried to promote a high sense of justice and humanity to their fellow Japanese citizens so that the dark chapter of Japanese history will not be repeated.  We respect their high sense of responsibility and nationalism.  We are proud to be their partners in our common, noble cause.” commented Professor Yue-him Tam, a historian trained in Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.S., and president of the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia (Global Alliance).  


The co-organizer of ICF, Global Alliance is an international federation of organizations focusing on the redress issue of victims of Japanese atrocities.  The World Jewish Congress and the Canadian Jewish Congress are supporters to this international conference.   Other supporting organizations include  Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation,  Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union and the National Teachers’ Association of Republic of China etc. “The participation of many scholars, specialists and community leaders from Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Canada, the United States, and other countries and regions is most meaningful. Their support shows the concern of justice and humanity transcends boundaries, culture, race and religion.  The gathering of this global coalition at ICF is a landmark in the redress movement for victims of Japanese atrocities.” said Attorney Koken Tsuchiya, chairman of the organizing committee of ICF and former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.


Perspectives of legislation, litigation, education and the sharing of the American, German and Jewish experience on the redress issue of war crimes are focuses in the ICF’s program. The presentations and panel discussions are designed to bring these issues to the forefront and to present needs, alternative solutions, methods, processes, and experiences to resolve vital redress issues of war crimes.  “The purpose of ICF is to seek reconciliation and peace for the new millennium,” said Attorney Koken Tsuchiya in today’s press conference.


Attorney Koken Tsuchiya praised the past synergy between member organizations of Global Alliance and Japan’s righteous citizens’ groups.  He stressed “Cooperation projects like the international support letter campaign to the lawsuit of Professor Saburu Ienaga in 1997, the North American tour of Unit 731 exhibition and witnessing forum in 1998, and the witnessing tour of the repentant Japanese soldier, Mr. Shiro Azuma to Hong Kong in 1998 have all been beneficial to humanity.”  Professor Tam pointed out  “Such are joint efforts between peoples of the perpetrator country and the victimized countries.  Such efforts bear witness to sincere international attempts in building a platform for reconciliation.  It is the sincere wish of the organizer, co-organizer and the supporting organizations that ICF can make its contribution to the betterment of humanity in the new millennium and to help the victims of Japanese atrocities realize their rightful demand of justice from Japan.  Almost 55 years after the War, these  victims of Japanese atrocities are still denied of an apology and justice.  Indeed, it is most significant that this conference is being organized by Japanese citizens’ groups and held on Japan’s soil.  We hope the entire nation of Japan and the international community would listen to what we have to say about humanity and justice that we all cherish.”


Present also at the ICF press conference was Professor Lester Tenney, 79, U.S. POW and survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March.  As a POW, he was forced slave laboring in a Japan mine of Mitsui Corporation. Of the 12,000 U.S. POW captured in Bataan in the Philippines, only 1,500 survived the death march and the subsequent imprisonment and forced labor of 3 1/2 years. Professor Tenney will represent the victims of Japanese atrocities to make address at the opening of ICF on 10 December.  He has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking compensation from Mitsui.  On this return trip to Japan, Professor Tenney went to pay homage to the coal mine where he was enslaved for three and a-half years during the war.





ICF is intended to help bring proper closure for the monstrous number of atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army in the first half of the 20th Century.  In Korea, Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, Indo-China, China, and the Pacific, they caused tens of millions of death, mostly civilians, and hundreds of billions dollars of property damages and losses.  To this date, the Japan government continues to reject all redress demands by victims.  The Diet voted down a resolution to issue a national apology to victims & victimized nations in 1995.  Postwar Japanese government intentionally fails to help the Japanese people, especially the younger generation, to know the truth and learn lessons of humanity from this dark chapter. 


Evidence shows that there is a rising tide of militaristic right wing elements in Japan society and within the government. Japan as a country has victimized the victims the second time by denying the truth, by denying victims the already delayed justice, by whitewashing the atrocities committed and by trying to justify Japan's war of aggression. 


ICF is the voice of the tens of millions of victims, crying out for justice and redress.  It is their wish that a better humanity can germinate under the nourishment of their blood and anguish.  It is their hope that reconciliation may be achieved between the perpetrator nation and the victimized nations in the new millennium.


From Left to right: Prof. Lester Tenney (standing), Attorney Koken Tsuchiya ¡] ¤g «Î ¤½ Äm ¡^ , Mr. Ken Arimitsu (¦³ ¥ú °· Conference Secretary) Prof. Yue-him Tam (ÃÓ ¦¼ Á¾ ¡^ , Mr. Roger Schreffler (President of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan)