Tokyo Appeal

December 12, 1999

Seeking Reconciliation and Peace for the 21st Century


The 20th century is going to end soon.  It is time to reflect on this century.

 In 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 past."

In 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.   

In 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.

The 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.

We 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.

We 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 realized.

We 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.

We are aware that the struggle for justice for victims has been occurring all over the world, therefore, we are seeking solidarity.

We 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 peace.

Adopted by International Citizens Forum on War Crimes and Redress on December 12, 1999