International Citizens' Forum on War Crimes &
Seeking Reconciliation & Peace for
the 21st Century
International Citizens’ Forum (“ICF”) on
War Crimes & Redress -- Seeking Reconciliation & Peace for the 21st
Century began its three-day session at the Tokyo
Women's Plaza today.
of the organizing
Mr. Kohken Tsuchiya, President of the Global Alliance for Preserving the History
of World War II in Asia, Professor
Yue-him Tam, and victim representative, Professor Lester Tenney jointly opened
“I see dangerous trends in Japan today….. a view of so called
liberalism history is being advocated, trying to hide Japan’s war crimes and
to distort history. However, this
view is fundamentally wrong. The only way for Japan to recover trust from China
and other Asian countries is to take responsibility of its war crimes,” Mr.
Tsuchiya said is his opening remarks.
Tam called for “…discussions of this forum be dictated by what we wish others would do
for us if we ourselves were the victims of the war atrocities, without any
thought for revenge or hatred.”
Tenney was a POW of the infamous Bataan Death
March and forced labor victim of Mitsui
He lamented in his moving
speech that no money in the world would repair the damages done to his mental
and physical well-beings by his wartime Japanese captors, but a proper apology
and meaningful compensation are essential for healing the wounds.
Mr. Mark Weintraub, National Chair of Community Relations of Canadian
Jewish Congress emphasized in his keynote speech on the importance of collective
memory anchored in
both historical detail and in a meaningful context. Mr.
Weintraub stated: “The great first task is to somehow move all levels of Japanese society to recognize the enormity of the crimes committed
only 50 years ago.
That in turn ought to lead to sincere apology
and the seeking of
This is the role of justice – to communicate responsibility
and to vest accountability with real significance.”
In his speech on current
Japan situation Professor Akira Fujiwara of Hitotsubashi Universsity worried that history
has been whitewashed
through censorship. He also
criticized the lack of post-war trial
of many war criminals. In 1957,
Class A war criminal Kishi Nobusuke even made all the way to become a two-term
Prime Minister of Japan.
In the panel symposium “Analysis and evaluation of Japan’s war crimes and postwar compensation”, Dr.Gunter Saathoff said that in Germany the atrocious history of the Nazi regime
has been thoroughly and openly discussed by German citizens. In fact, the main forces in urging Germany as a nation to accept responsibility of its war crimes have been from the citizens themselves. He agreed with the other panelists that Japan must accept and resolve her wartime responsibility without further delay.
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.
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.
Mr. Mark Weintraub of
Canadian Jewish Congress delivering the conference keynote speech