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The San Francisco Peace Treaty and its 50th Anniversary

A Time for Peace and a Time for Justice...
It is Now Time for a Just Peace

The San Francisco Peace Treaty (The Treaty)

On September 8, 1951, 48 countries signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty (the Treaty) to mark the formal cessation of World War II hostilities in Asia-Pacific between Japan and the rest of the signatories. Consisting of seven chapters and a preamble, the San Francisco Peace Treaty specifies the settlement terms of war-related issues while it provides an end to Japan's occupation.

Dutch survivors demanded compensation in The Hague, Netherlands in May 2000 during the state visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito

The Celebration of the Treaty's 50th Anniversary

This year, shortly before September 8, 2001, supporters of the Treaty will gather to honor the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty in San Francisco. The Japan Society of Northern California's US-Japan 21st Century Project has organized a series of educational and cultural events which will culminate on September 8 in a commemorative ceremony, a reception, and a gala dinner with participation by both the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Japan. 

Historical Opposition to the Treaty

Yet a historical analysis shows Asian countries victimized by Japan resisted the process and the terms of the Treaty. Neither the People's Republic of China on the mainland nor the Republic of China on Taiwan were invited to the peace conference; neither were North and South Korea. India and Burma refused to participate. Philippines, though present, neither signed nor ratified the treaty until after it became effective while Indonesia signed but never ratified it.

Present Day Concerns Over its Anniversary Celebration

Questions surrounding the Treaty remain to date. Human rights organizations note the absence of the following items in the US-Japan 21st Century Project's program, which, as it stands, would perpetuate collective amnesia toward the Asia-Pacific War:

  • A discussion of how Japan has used the Treaty as a shield for its stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge responsibility for its war crimes

  • A debate as to whether the Treaty waived all individual claims of war compensations

  • An exploration of whether the Treaty is a just treaty

Concerns over Justice and Peace

Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia (GA), a worldwide confederation of grassroots organizations to promote justice and peace, wrote a letter to the Executive Director of the US-Japan 21st Century Project and the Consul-General of Japan in San Francisco to request the inclusion of a balanced program in the anniversary celebration.

Upcoming Events to Express Your Concerns and Ours

GA and other human rights organizations will organize grassroots commemorative activities and educational events of their own to remind the world of the Treaty's dark side. They urge Japan to seek a genuine reconciliation with victims of its atrocities by offering them an apology and compensations.

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All text and images copyright 2001 Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia. Last edit: 20010728


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