International Citizens' Forum on War Crimes & Redress --

Seeking Reconciliation & Peace for the 21st Century

Phone:        +81-3-3237-0217,            Fax:     +81-3-3237-0287

Press Release

December 10, 1999

The 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.


Chairman of the organizing committee, 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 the conference..


“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.


Professor 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.”

Professor Tenney was a POW of the infamous Bataan Death March and forced labor victim of Mitsui Corporation.  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 forgiveness.  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 and distorted 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 regimeshisHistory

 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.





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.


Mr. Mark Weintraub of Canadian Jewish Congress delivering the conference keynote speech