"The purpose of this exhibit is to
present historical evidence about a
period that has been ignored by the public and
intentionally distorted by a small group of people"

Thekla Lit

B.C. Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia

(Opening Remarks made in the Opening Ceremony of the
A Glimpse of Reconciliation - Confession of a Unit 731 Soldier & Photo Exhibition on Japan’s Germ Warfare in WWII
on July 4, 1998 at Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch)


On behalf of the B.C. Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to you all.

It is worrying that powerful elements in Japan continue to deny the indisputable evidence of their war crimes and atrocities committed during their invasion of Asian countries in and before WWII. They have deceived their younger generation by whitewashing this part of history. Japanese conservatives and right-winged groups including the incumbent Japanese Prime Minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto pay homage to the National Yasukuni Shrine which has enshrined convicted WWII war criminals as Japanese national heroes since 1978. Unlike post-war Germany, the Japanese government up till now has not accepted any responsibility for their war crimes and atrocities committed.

The purpose of this exhibition is to present historical evidence about a period that has generally been ignored by the world public and intentionally distorted by a small group of people. We hope that learning lessons from this chapter of pain will help all of us build a better world for tomorrow. Very oftenly we can read from the newspaper that massacres and ethnic cleansing are still happening in this world. Places like Rwanda and Bosnia remind us of how important it is to preserve these kinds of memories from history.

It is particularly meaningful that a Japanese delegation coming over to North Amercia to bear witness to Japanese germ warfare during WWII which is among the most horrendous atrocities in the 20th Centuary. Now, I would like to introduce the delegation members to you. As you all know and expect that we will be having 2 important witnesses, Mr. Yoshio Shinozuka & Mr. Shiro Azuma who personally committed the atrocities during the Japanese war of agression but have repented and have been educating people about the Japanese atrocities so that people can learn lessons from history. However, they were denied entry to Canada to bear witness. The Federal government rejected Mr. Shinozuka’s application for a Minister’ Permit to come inspite of all the support to his application shown by the public. We are indeed very disappointed with this decision of the Liberal Party government. However, we are grateful to have Mr. Mason Loh, Q.C., Mr. Donald Cameron, Immigration Consultant and Mr. Richard Kurland, Immigration Lawyers to pursuit this issue for us.

B.C. ALPHA is very happy to organize this meaningful event together with Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association Human Rights Committee, August 15, 1945 Foundation (Dutch), Canadian Jewish Congress, Pacific Region , Korean Women’s Association of Western Canada and Philippine War Veterans Society of B.C. We believe our working together on this issue is really promote the spirit of multiculturalism.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers for their great efforts in planning and organizing this exhibition and witnessing event, especially Dr. Ronald Leung , moderator of today’s forum ; Ms. Etsuko Yamnouchi & Ms. Alice Chen, interpreters for today.

Last but not the least, we would like to thank the Honorable Ujjal Dosanjh, Attorney General & Minister responsible for multiculturalism, human rights and immigration of B.C. & Mrs. Sophia Leung, MP & Chair of the B.C. Liberal Caucus to be our officiating guests.