August 1997

We remember the A-bomb victims ---- an open letter from:

In August, the world will once again commemorate the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People will once again call for a total ban of all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth, because their destructive power had once caused tens of thousands of Japanese people to perish in those horrific balls of fire. And again, people will demand peace among nations - not only should there be no wars, but also no hatred, and no ambition to dominate others. We fully support the notion of non-proliferation and dismantling of all nuclear weapons.

A-bomb victims are also victims of Japanese militarism

However, we are deeply troubled to see that WWII victims of other countries are being neglected and are not given due respect, for in most cases one tends to remember only the Japanese victims. True, thousands of Japanese civilians died in the hands of the Allied Forces as a result of the dropping of two atomic bombs and they should be remembered. And our sympathy goes to these A-bomb victims. But let us also not forget that these Japanese victims are also victims of Japanese militarism. In fact, because of the aggression and relentless atrocities of the Japanese military regime, a much greater number of innocent people from other Asian countries and the Allied Forces died so needlessly and woefully.

Other victims of Japanese militarism should also be remembered

We often see photos of Asians suffered in the hands of the Japanese invaders; as well as photos of skeletal Allied POWs left to starve in the prison camps in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, etc. These are undeniable evidence of Japanese militarism's horrendous crimes which still haunt our memories. It was estimated that in the Nanking Massacre of 1937, within a period of six weeks 300,000 unarmed soldiers and civilians, including elders and infants, were brutally slaughtered, and over 20,000 women and young girls were raped and most were murdered afterwards. How about the thousands of Allied POWs including children internees who were forced into hard labour and subsequently died on foreign soil? How about the thousands of women and girls who were cheated or coerced into military sexual slavery? And how about the recent revelation of the work performed by the secretive and infamous Unit 731, a group of Japanese doctors and scientists who conducted grotesque medical and biological warfare experiments on living human beings who were left to die slowly and painfully? We believe these victims should also be remembered.

Put commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims in historical perspective

The purpose of this open letter is to ask the world to look at the A-bomb issue in proper historical perspective because without which such commemoration will only rub salts into old wounds and will only provoke anger, indignation, and resentment from the countries and their people victimised by Japanese militarism.

Japan must apologise to all her victims

How can we bring closure to the families of these victims? We firmly believe that reconciliation is the only answer. For Japan to reconcile with her victims, she needs to summon her courage, acknowledge her dark past and face up to these historical facts with a deep sense of remorse and apologies. To cover up the evil deeds of Japanese militarism, even to the point of censoring or distorting certain historical facts is to deny closure to the victims and their families. To continue denying that these horrendous crimes against humanity ever happened and to continue eulogizing Japanese militarism by having senior officials paid tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine which enshrined the convicted Japanese war criminals will do no one any good. It will only continue to create tension, mistrust, and ill-feelings between Japan and the countries associated with ending the terrible War which the Japanese military regime started some six decades ago. Modern Japan as she is today should try to shed the burden left by the old regime that brought so much pain and suffering to humanity.

As we commemorate the A-bomb victims, let us also pray for all the Asian and Allied Forces victims related to Japanese militarism before and during World War II, and let us bring a sense of closure to their families. We believe that lasting regional harmony and world peace can only be achieved through confession and apology by the Japanese government of past wrong doings which is the concrete step towards reconciliation.

(For more information, please contact : ALPHA Phone & Fax: (604)439-7738)