International Citizens' Forum on War Crimes &
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
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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)