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 12, 1999


On the third and last day of the ICF, the conference participants have turned their attention to the resurgence of militarism in Japan and reconciliation & peace in the 21st Century, and tried hard developing an amiable direction and strategy to settle the pending issues for all parties concerned.


Mr. Yukio Gibo of Teachers’ Union of Okinawa demanded the Japanese emperor to be clearly held accountable (a point mentioned by several other panelist as well), questioned how the articles in the pacifist Constitution can be realized, and condemned the enshrinement of the war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine.  Korean peace activist Mr. Lee Soogap condemned the distortion of history and insisted Japan to pay compensations and offer apology.  He said by not teaching children the truth, the Japanese government again commits another serious crime – a sentiment that was echoed by Mr. Albert Ho, Hong Kong lawmaker, and Mr. Greg Smith, a Canadian educator.


Panel moderator Professor Yoshihisa Yoshida noted: “In early August 1999, the Japanese government pushed and won ratification of bills that make the country’s rising sun flag and its national anthem, a hymn to the emperor, the legal symbols of the nation for the first time.”  He considered the development essentially an indication of the revival of ultra-nationalism.   Ms Kimiko Kurikara, a former senator from Hiroshima, also said many human rights groups are strongly against the two parliamentary  resolutions.


Dr. Yue-him Tam, president of the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia, informed the conference participants that “a concerted effort will be made to identify those who were responsible for military sexual slavery, when the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery will be convened in Tokyo in December 2000”.  Later on a following panel, Mr. Smith, Canada, agreed  -- he echoed accordingly: “The atrocities of the 20th century do not need to be repeated in the 21st, but it is up to us all to make this happen.  We must do this if we want our children to inherit a better world in which to raise their children and their children.”


A “Tokyo Appeal” was drafted and agreed upon calling on “the Japanese government and the corporations involved in slave labor practices to apologize and offer redress for the victims as soon as possible,” and following the example set by Germany to achieve “reconciliation with neighboring countries through its postwar efforts, as a result it has been able to incorporate the future in its perspective.”  It will be delivered to the Japanese government after the conference is ended.


While the three-day conference went well inside the convention hall, a small but rawdy group of Japanese right-wing radicals were outside, for the second day, unrelently blasting at the conference organizers and participants.  Their big banners said: “Nanking Massacre never took place,” “Defense of the Great East Asia was not an Aggression,” and “The USA should repent before Jesus Christ [for Nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki].”


The ICF ended with a 90-minutes demonstration procession through the Ginza district of downtown Tokyo drawing attention of Sunday night crowd and people in many passing cars.  The peaceful and yet high-spirited event marked the 62nd anniversary of the Nanking Massacre in which the Japanese Imperial Army butchered 340,000 unarmed Chinese and raped an estimated 80,000 in the ancient capital of China in a six-to-eight-week rampage starting December 13, 1937.






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.


Right wingers demonstrating  in front of the conference venue of ICF.