Opening Ceremony Officiated by:
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh Attorney General and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, Human Rights & Immigration of B.C.
Koken Tsuchiya Chief Attorney for Victims of Germ Warfare Lawsuit Against the Japanese Government for Compensation × Former President of Japan Federation of Bar Associations
Mariam Van Veen-Zwaan Child Survivor of Japanese Concentration Camps in Dutch East Indies
Wang Xuan Victims' Representative of the Germ Warfare Lawsuit in Japan
Thekla Lit President of BC ALPHA
Judy Hanazawa Representative of Human Rights Committee, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association
Mr. Hiromitsu Masuda Activist in Unit 731 Exhibition and Poison Gas Exhibition in Japan
Witnessing Forum Speakers are:
Yoshio Shinozuka Former Unit 731 soldier (Upon his denial of entry into Canada, his testimony will be presented by Ms. Kikuko Hirano, representative of Human Rights Committee, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association)
Prof. Sheldon Harris Historian & Author of "Factories of Death - Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and the American Cover Up"
Shiro Azuma Former Japanese soldier involved in Nanking Massacre (He was denied enty into Canada, his testimony is to be presented by Hon. Jenny Kwan, Minister responsible for Municipal Affairs & Housing of B.C. )
ABOUT THE EXHIBITS
The exhibits are grouped under 5 sections:
Germ Warfare Squad Unit 731
Military Sexual Slavery
Pacific War in Stamps
Japan Now and Then
The exhibits show nature of the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during and before WW II, the extent of Japanese invasion, the background for the rise of Japanese Militarism and the ongoing denials of history by revisionists in Japan. View the exhibits with your heart and you will feel the pains, sorrows and injustice suffered by the victims.
Introduction to Officiating Guests and speakers
Koken Tsuchiya heads the lawyers representing the victims in the germ warfare compensation lawsuit against the Japanese government. After graduating from the Law School of Tokyo University, he was called to the bar in 1960. Since 1991 he served as vice president and then president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. He is regarded as the standard bearer of the Japanese law reform movement and is highly respected in Japan's legal profession. When the victims of germ warfare took the Japanese government to court, Mr. Tsuchiya consented to head the team of lawyers representing them on a pro bono basis. His magnanimity inspired 112 lawyers to join the team. Mr. Tsuchiya made several trips to the crime scenes in China and met witnesses to collect evidence. He maintains that the Japanese government should courageously sort out the old scores of history. He also believes that if Japan keeps on looking at history in an equivocal way, she will only make victimized nations more mistrustful. The lawyers have taken up the case not only for the victims, but also for the benefit of Japan's national interest: If the victims win, they will be vindicated and comforted, and there will be great educational value for the Japanese people who have been denied the truth of their own history.
Mariam Van Veen-Zwaan
Madam Miriam Van Veen-Zwaan was two years old when Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) was invaded by Japan in 1942. For three and a half years, she witnessed the chaos and horror of the concentration camps and the inhuman treatment of the captured men, women and children. Her mother was gang-raped by Japanese soldiers. Family members including Miriam were threatened by the soldiers to be sliced into pieces with bayonet. The overwhelming feelings were hunger, thirst, fear and anxiety. Children spent the days sitting, staring at each other, without even energy to play. When Miriam returned to the Netherlands in 1946, she, like other children returning from concentration camps, could not fit in. Later she immigrated to Canada. She has been in Canada for over 30 years and is a registered nurse. In 1985, Miriam and a group of survivors of the Japanese concentration camps founded a support group called "The August 15, 1945 Foundation" with members all over Canada and the US. Organizations in Holland assisted the group in finding psychiatrists to mend the wounds of past camp experience. The group fosters a special bond among survivors of war and enables actions of justice to be undertaken. A book entitled Four Years Till Tomorrow with stories contributed by Miriam and members of the group will be published soon. In Miriam's words, "They were robbed of their childhood, but (they) will not rob the world of its history." If they do not put the traumatic past into words, "it would seem as though it had never happened." They wish "(what happened in the camps) will never be forgotten, so it will never happen again."
Born in 1952 in Shanghai, Wang Xuan, 46, went to Japan in 1987 to pursue her studies. She completed her master degree in English at Tsukuba University. Since 1995 she has helped Japanese lawyers and scholars to collect evidence and look into the pernicious effects of Japan's germ warfare in Chongshan, Zhejiang Province, where her family came from. Eight of her close relatives died of germ warfare, including her uncle, who was killed at 13. She represents 108 plaintiffs in the germ warfare lawsuit against the Japanese government. They demand the acknowledgment of Japan's involvement in germ warfare, apology to the victims and reparations for damages.
Professor Sheldon Harris
An emeritus professor of history at the California State University, Northridge, Professor Harris has been involved in research on Japanese military's biological warfare experimentation in Manchuria since 1984. In his book: Factories of Death - Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and The American Cover-up (Routledge, 1994) he reveals the fact that Unit 731 conducted experiments on live humans for bacteriological warfare. He also points out that the US government, in exchange for results of those experiments, promised to provide immunity from investigation for Japanese military officers and civilian researchers linked to the Unit who thereby avoided prosecution as war criminals. It was due to this promise that such inhuman atrocities remained unknown for decades. Professor Harris has appeared on Dateline NBC, Australian television, Korean television, Japanese television and British television in connection with his studies of Japanese use of humans in bio-warfare experiments.
Yoshio Shinozuka, aged 75, was sent to Pingfang, Heilongjiang to join the youth squad of Unit 731 in 1939. As a 16 years old trainee he took part in culturing plague bacteria in Unit 731. The cultures were used to produce germ warfare weapons. He also took part in atrocious biochemical experiments and dissections of live humans. When the war ended he was a lance corporal attached to the medical troop of the 125th division of the Kanto Army. In 1952, he was arrested in Hebei Province and sent to Fushun War Criminal Camp. In 1956, the charge as a war criminal was suspended. After his release from the camp he was repatriated. Like many other internees, while he was incarcerated in the Camp he confessed and expressed regret for the war crimes that he had committed. He subsequently joined the Association of Returnees from China - an organization formed by former war criminal camp internees. Its members have been active in the movement against the war of aggression and to promote international peace. Mr. Shinozuka visited many places to bear witness of atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army.
Shiro Azuma, aged 86, fought in Japan's war of aggression against China. He was conscripted into the 15th Battalion in August 1937 when he was 25. Azuma and his fellow troops stormed into Nanking (now Nanjing) on 12 December 1937. He witnessed and took part in the atrocious Rape of Nanking. He kept a diary with daily entries throughout the period between August 1937 and October 1939. When Japan surrendered in 1945, he was captured in Nanjing, then repatriated to Japan with many other soldiers. With the passage of time, Azuma became aware of the true nature of the wars that the Japanese militarists had started. He believes that Japan must squarely face history and deeply repent for initiating wars of aggression if it wants to befriend victimized nations. He considers it incumbent upon all who took part in the wars of aggression to tell the world what actually happened during the wars. In 1987 Azuma made his diary public. In his diary he recorded Mitsuji Hashimoto, captain of the division to which he belonged, killed Chinese civilians brutally. Hashimoto sued him for libel. In April 1996, a Tokyo district court ordered him to pay Hashimoto 500,000 yen in damages and to publicly apologize to Hashimoto. Azuma immediately filed an appeal to the Tokyo Supreme Court. Mr. Ryutaro Nakakita's law firm put together a team of lawyers to defend him on a pro bono basis. In spite of his age, Azuma persists in fighting the legal battle, as he says, "for the sake of justice."
Mr. Yoshio Shinozuka
Unit 731: A Killing Factory (Summary)
Settled in the suburb of Harbin and Pingfang, the Kwantung Army’s Epidemic Prevention and Water Supply Unit (Unit 731) in China was supposed " to supply clean drinking water and to prevent the spread of infectious diseases". In reality, it was a base of research in and production of biological weapons, where barbarous acts such as experiment and vivisection on human beings were carried out on a daily basis. All these activities defied the norms of human morality and international law. The following is an outline of the criminal acts I personally participated in Unit 731:
Germ warfare in the Nomonhan Incident: I participated in the mass production of pathogenic germs from July 1939 onwards and delivered the same to Jiang Jun Miao on the front-lines of Nomonhan. I heard later that those germs were flung into the River Horustein.
The breeding of fleas and their use in germ-warfare: From May 1940 I participated in the breeding of fleas. I heard later that both fleas and rats were flown by the Air Division to Nanking.
Mass production of pathogenic germs : There was a large-scale germ-production facility in Pingfang. When used in full capacity, it could produce more than 10 kilograms of pathogenic germs in 30 - 40 hours. From July 1940 to June 1942, I participated in the production of typhoid, paratyphoid, cholera, plague, and anthrax germs.
Experimentation on toxicity of pathogens in humans and vivisection of human beings: The group I belonged to also carried out experimentation on and dissection of living human beings. I personally participated in the testing of plague germs for one year from the end of 1942. We infected five Chinese men with plague germs, watching them suffer horrible pain and die an agonizing death.
The magnanimous policies of the Chinese government toward war criminals : I was imprisoned at the War Criminal Penitentiary for my criminal actions; however, the Chinese adopted a philosophy "blame the act, not the perpetrator", permitting me to reflect on my past misdeeds, particularly the indoctrination for justifying Japan’s invasion since my childhood in primary school. With truth dawning on my mind, I became aware of and started to regret the heinous and unforgivable crimes I had committed against humanity. In 1956, I was released and allowed to return to Japan n
Mr. Shiro Azuma
Fighting against the Nanjing Massacre Deniers (Summary)
I was forced to participate in the Sino-Japanese War from August 1937 to November 1939. For 3 years, I fought in the attacks of Hebei Province, Nanjing, Xuzhou, Hankou, and other places. In March 1944, I was ordered again into the "Greater East Asia War" until the day of defeat. During the last three days of the Nanjing attack, the fight was so severe that it was a furious battle to live or to die. I wrote a diary during the war because the experience was extraordinary. I recorded all the facts whether they were good or bad. We killed many farmers without any sense of guilt, because they were seen as our enemy. It was so cruel.
Why did we do so many inhumane acts, such as slaughter, rape, arson and plunder, without any conscience? Why did people who were good men at home turn to be savages? What reason can be given to explain these? Its reflection and investigation must be strongly sought.
To tell the true story of the war is the responsibility of one who participated
We, Japanese, are so conscious about the atomic bombs’ damage, but the facts about what we did to Chinese people are not mentioned. The damage that the Japanese Army had done to Chinese was many times bigger than that of the atomic bombs. If Japan completed an atomic bomb earlier than the Americans, Japan would have certainly used it first. Peace never comes if only one side of story was told while the other side covered.
I, as a participant in the war, believe that it is my responsibility to tell the facts of what we did and to provide an opportunity for reflection.
Everything began with the militaristic education
What made us so inhumane? We were taught that the invasion was a sacred war; that to punish Chinese who resisted with violence was justice, and that contempt of Chinese, racism, and punishing Chinese were right. Militarism treated human being as merely a kind of resources and human lives could be neglected. The solders were seen merely as tools of war. We were taught that "Loyalty to the Emperor comes first in whatever situation." Our lives were not more worthy than a bird’s feather. If our lives were not important, lives of the enemy were much less. "Kill them all! " which we did without hesitation. That was slavery, no ethics, and no judgement between justice and evil.
Not self-infliction but self-reflection is necessary
50 years after the war, certain people in the Japanese Diet attempted to deny being an invader during the war. It said, "We do not need to apologize because the war was not to invade other countries, but a self-protecting action to liberate Asia from the Western control. The antiwar decision should be rejected". The Diet is so disgusting. If the wars were to liberate, Japanese should first liberate the colonies Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and Sakhalin. Moreover, the Japanese occupation of the South-East Asian countries was a war to acquire resources, not liberation.
Should Japan be able to claim compensation for damage against any country in Asia? Other countries can claim it against Japan, but Japan cannot claim because the war was invasion not liberation. China did not invade Japan, but Japan invaded China. This is the matter for self-reflection but not self-infliction.
Recently, many people were infected by HIV due to a blood fluid product. The Midori Jyuji, one of the companies that produced such product, was founded by the former medical officers of Unit 731 who conducted experiments on humans in China. After 50 years of the war, the incident of neglecting human lives happened again. They neglect patients' lives for profit, just similar to the past - they neglected the Chinese lives for victory. This incident tells us that it is necessary to reflect the misconduct of the militarists over and over.
Fighting against the Nanjing Massacre Deniers
During the war period, the specially assigned police and military police suppressed the freedom of speech and thinking. Today, hypocrites who wear the military uniform in their mind are still suppressing the freedom of speech.
I, Shiro Azuma, testified the cruel and inhumane conducts during the war and published my diary in 1987. I was accused six years afterward of defamation against the Japanese Army. The accusers said, "The diary of Shiro Azuma is a fiction. Correct that fiction in order to restore the reputation of the Japanese Army, and correct the school textbook which states the Nanjing massacre". They who deny the fact of Nanjing massacre are trying to misuse the court. These hypocritical patriots still admire the national anthem "Kimigayo", dying for the Emperor and neglecting human lives.
The turning point of my life
I was in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province when the war was over. When disarming the unit, a Chinese officer told us that he was a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre and wanted to shoot us all and throw the bodies into the river. However, he was ordered to "treat with a virtuous manner not with hate’. So, he kept us alive. The Chinese treated us in a virtuous manner, not hatred; however, in Japan, revenge is a virtue. I survive because I did not get revenged then. Japan was not only defeated in the war but also in ethics.
During the first judgment in April 1996, Judge Emi stated that the statement on Mitsuji Hashimoto was not supported by enough evidence, and Shiro Azuma was responsible for providing proof. All information should be open under democracy; but Judge Emi wants to revive the secret principle in the war period. We have to stop militarism spreading in the court.
Fighting for Justice
In February 1995, 2 million toxic gas capsules were found in China, and many Chinese were killed by the chemical and toxic shells. The damages left by the Japanese Army still continues 60 years after the Nanjing attack. If this happens in Japan, people will scream outrageously.
Groups consisting of people who are professional soldiers and the people who deny the Nanjing Massacre accused Shiro Azuma of destroying the honor of the Emperor's Army. Is there any honor left among people who invaded China, conducted inhuman acts, and still do not reflect on themselves?
One of the leaders of this trial against me, Hideo Mori (former company commander 16 Division 20 Regiment), stated strongly that "The war is an extension of politics using armed forces. It is a matter of life and death if we hesitate. So, armed forces must be used." He is a militarist who uses armed forces, not diplomatic negotiations, to solve international matters. Moreover, he protested that Shiro Higashi denounced every armed conflict and the Emperor system, and the Imperial Japanese Army. What was the reality of the Imperial Japanese Army? Claiming to be building the Imperial world and for Asian peace so as to mobilize the forces, but the reality was to conquer the Asian region.
Hideo Mori prompted Mitsuji Hashimoto to accuse me. Surely I will fight against the unfair accusation by the militarists.
The shameless politicians distort the true history, and make untrue speeches with no international sense at all, saying that it was "a liberation war", and "the Nanjing massacre was a false story created by China". I want to take this trial to international judgment if the Japanese courts and judges, who are influenced by the politicians lacking reflection, make unfair judgements.
Confucius said, "Do not hesitate to correct the mistake made". Reflect on the past is to correct the mistakes. I have fought for this court trial. An old soldier will not disappear. I fight for truth and justice with my all energy n
Japanese Witnessing Delegation to North America: Mr. Yoshio Shinozuka Testifier × Former Unit 731 Soldier × Member of China Returnees Association · Mr. Shiro Azuma Testifier for Nanking Massacre × Former Soldier of Japanese Imperial Army · Dr. Takemitsu Ogawa Testifier × Former Japanese Imperial Army Medical Doctor × Vice President of War Bereaved Families for Peace · Mrs. Sachiko Ogawa Wife of Mr. Ogawa × testifier · Ms. Wang Xuan Victims’ Representative of Germ Warfare Lawsuit Against the Japanese Government for Compensation · Mr. Koken Tsuchiya Chief Attorney for Victims of Germ Warfare Lawsuit Against the Japanese Government for Compensation × Former President of Japan Federation of Bar Associations · Mr. Keiichiro Ichinose Lawyer & Secretary General of Attorneys for Victims of the Germ Warfare Lawsuit · Ms. Toshiko Ikeda Member Attorney for Victims of the Germ Warfare Lawsuit · Mr. Shoji Nishimura Member Attorney for Victims of the Germ Warfare Lawsuit · Mr. Tadanori Onitsuka Member Attorney for Victims of the Germ Warfare Lawsuit · Mrs. Miwa Ichinose Staff Member of Hibya Law Office · Mr. Hiromitsu Masuda Activist in Unit 731 Exhibition and Poison Gas Exhibition in Japan · Dr. Eisuke Matsui M. D. in Radiology, Member of Association to Reveal the History Fact of Germ Warfare by Japanese Armed Forces · Ms. Sayoko Yamauchi Secretary General of Support Group for Azuma’s Nanking Massacre Lawsuit · Mr. Ryutaro Nakakita Member of Support Group for Azuma’s Nanking Massacre Lawsuit · Mr. Hideki Nishimura Member of Support Group for Azuma’s Nanking Massacre Lawsuit · Dr. Kenichiro Yamaguchi MD in Brain Surgery × Leader of Association to Give a Thought to Modern Medical Treatment · Prof. Yoshihisa Yoshida Prof. of Physics, Sagami Women's College × Leader of Citizen's Congress for Anti-Nuclear Campaign · Mr. Shoji Kondo Journalist · Ms. Fuyuko Nishisato Journalist · Mr. Jingbo Xu Journalist × Correspondent of Chinese Newspaper in Tokyo
B.C. Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WW II in Asia (ALPHA)
B.C. Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WW II in Asia (ALPHA) was established in January 1997. The three chapters of ALPHA in BC, Toronto and Calgary joined force to form Canada ALPHA in June 1997. Our mission is to promote humanity, education and racial harmony. In co-operation with other ethnic groups, including the Japanese Canadian community, ALPHA organises or participates in events that facilitate the public to learn and reflect on the humanity aspects of WW II in Asia. We agree with Harvard philosopher George Santayana’s belief: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
For your better understanding of ALPHA's mission, we highlight some of our works in the last eighteen months.
February 22, 1997. A multicultural seminar "Crying for Justice" was organised to seek reconciliation and understanding among ethnic who were victimized by the Japanese Military in WW II. Representatives from the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Dutch and Jewish communities took part to soothe the unhealed wound of history.
March 20-21,1997. Representatives from ALPHA joined the Canadian delegation organised by the Canadian Jewish Congress to participate in the International Day of Anti-Racism in Washington DC.
March 22, 1997. Participated in the "Forum on Building Bridges" organised by the National Association of Japanese Canadian.
May- August 1997. A support letter campaign was jointly organised with the Human Rights Committee of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, the Korean Women's Association of Western Canada, the August 15, 1945 Foundation (Dutch), the Philippine War Veterans & Ex-Servicemen Society of B.C. and the Canadian Jewish Congress (Pacific Region) to support a Japanese professor, Sabaro Ienaga, who had been suing the Japanese government of distorting and concealing historical facts in his history textbooks. More than ten thousand support letters were collected across Canada and sent to the Japanese government. A ruling was given by the Japanese supreme court that the censoring of the facts of Unit 731 in the history textbook of Professor Ienaga by the Japanese Ministry of Education was illegal.
August 2, 1997. Cooperated with the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association, Human Rights Committee to present "The Asian Holocaust" in the Vancouver Japanese Festival --- Powell Street Festival.
October 3, 1997. Together with the other four ethnic organizations listed above, a joint presentation on the importance of learning lessons of humanity from WW II in Asia and introduction of resources materials were made to educators attending the Anti-Racism Workshop organized by the B.C. Teachers Federation.
December 8-10, 1997. A book reading/signing session was held in the Vancouver Library, Central Branch for the new book The Rape of Nanking - The Forgotten Holocaust of WW II by Iris Chang. The book has made various bestseller lists.
December 12-13, 1997. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre and to promote the message of reconciliation, a multimedia show "Unhealed Wound of History" was successfully presented with the help and support of over a hundred local artists and celebrities.
April 10, 1998. In cooperation with the National Association of Japanese Canadians, Human Rights Committee, a presentation on the proposal of incorporating humanity aspects of WWII in Asia into the social studies curriculum was made in the "Beyond Multiculturalism" workshop organized by the National Association of Asia-Pacific American Education and the National Association of Asia-Pacific Canadian Education.