Reconciliation and Peace for the 21st Century
20th century is going to end soon. It
is time to reflect on this century.
the first half century, Japan continued to invade Asia and inflicted great
suffering and grief upon people. On
this very day 62 years ago, at this moment, the massacre, raping and looting of
Chinese in Nanjing by Japanese soldiers were committed.
However, in Japan, half a century has passed without sincere
confrontation with its past aggression.
And a trend which glorifies the aggression has become obvious.
This year, a "new military guideline bill", a "war
preparation bill," and a national flag and anthem bill which press
nationalism on Japanese citizens have each been forcibly passed in the Diet one
after another. Because of the
negligence of "overcoming its
past," Japan has begun returning to "the familiar path of the
Tokyo, we gathered from all over the world and held the 'International Citizens'
Forum on War Crimes and Redress' (ICF) for three days.
War victims from different countries and regions, war redress supporters,
lawyers, scholars, and people who have been living with pains of aggression,
came together for discussion. Reports
on the truth of the Japanese war crimes and the present condition of post-war
redress were made. Participants
heard about Japanese crimes including the Nanjing Massacre (Rape of Nanjing). War victims from different countries told stories of
massacre, rape and POW abuse from their own experience and together with
scholars their testimonies were verified. After
half a century, wounds of war victims still continue to inflict immensely.
1990's, these victims filed lawsuits against Japanese government and
corporations and demanded formal apology and compensation.
However, ICF speakers reported that the Japanese government insists the
redress issue has been already resolved and a redress bill in the Diet is not
likely to pass. Judges in Japan have consistently been dismissing
charges one after another claiming lack of jurisdiction while they recommend
resolving these issues by political solution, i.e. by parliamentary legislation.
experience of redress by the Jewish people for the past injustices and
strategies for redress of other countries after the war were also introduced.
In the later half century, Germany has been continuing the effort to
pursuit "the facts of the aggression and the aggressors",
"support and redress of the victims", and "the prevention of
reoccurring" under the pledge of "overcoming
the past". At present the
establishment of a Redress Foundation for "Memory, Responsibility and
Future" is being negotiated by both the government and corporations in
Germany. This year, in the United
States, the State Assembly of California passed a bill which extends the
limitation of damage suits to 2010 in regards to the war crimes committed by
Nazi Germany and its allies, and lawsuits have been filed for compensation
against Japanese companies. Also,
this year the Human Rights Committee of the Filipino Legislature adopted a
resolution demanding an expedient settlement of the so-called
"Comfort Women" issue. We
further heard a report about a bill tabled in Korea on the damages caused by
forced labor recruitment in that country.
fully support the demand of war victims in various countries who have been
looking for the recovery of human dignity.
Through these demands they are questioning the fundamental understanding
of "the history of the nation" and "human rights" in Japan.
In not assuming responsibility for war crimes and not
offering an apology and redress to the victims, the Japanese government
is disgracing the dignity of Japan
as a nation.
earnestly request the Japanese government and involved corporations to apologize
and offer redress for the victims as soon as possible.
The time period of over a half a century weighs heavily on the victims.
Justice for victims and the recovery of human dignity must be urgently
request that the Japanese government tell the truth about history to society and
to future generations. During the
first half of this century Germany had a similar experience as Japan.
Compared to Japan, however, Germany achieved reconciliation with
neighboring countries through its postwar efforts, as a result it has been able
to incorporate the "future" in its perspective.
are aware that the struggle for justice for victims has been occurring all over
the world, therefore, we are seeking solidarity.
hereby declare that through the process of squarely dealing with the historical
truth of the 20th century, we strive for the new century of reconciliation and
Adopted by International Citizens Forum
on War Crimes and Redress on December 12, 1999