Canadian Conference on
Preventing Crimes Against Humanity:
Lessons from the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945)

March 21-22, 2003 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
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Schedule of Documentary Screening
UBC International House, 1783 West Mall
Open to the Public, Free Admission

March 21, 2003 (Friday) 12:35 - 2:00 pm
Yesterday is Now - The War 55 years after Japan's Surrender
Produced by an independent Canadian film maker, Celine Rumalean with support of the National Film Board of Canada, 2002

YESTERDAY IS NOW explores the divisions in Japanese society about the legacy of Japan's twentieth-century wars and occupation of neighbouring Asian countries. Through frank and probing interviews, it raises issues around Japan's motivations and its responsibility for war crimes that include sexual slavery, slave labour, the use of humans in biological-warfare experiments, and civilian massacres.

The documentary's diverse slate of subjects includes family members of the Japanese war dead, right-wing nationalists, politicians, students, and artists, as well as a teacher, a labour unionist, a journalist, a former soldier, and an A-bomb survivor. YESTERDAY IS NOW combines their thoughts and revelations with archival footage and contemporary images to create a riveting insight into the unfinished business of Japan's wartime past.

March 21, 2003 (Friday) 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Riben Guizi - Confessions of Imperial Army Soldiers from Japan's War Against China
Director: Minoru Matsui, Producer: Ken'ichi Oguri, Japan. 2000. Winner of Special Documentary Film Award, 2001, Internationales Dokumentar film festival, Munchen

The Japanese military considered itself bound to the "divine" Emperor and was thus convinced of the uniqueness and supremacy of the Japanese race. Inspired by this conviction, it committed indescribable atrocities first in China and then throughout Southeast Asia. Across the region, Japanese soldiers were feared as "soldiers of the devil".

This film contains the admissions of a total of fourteen former soldiers of the imperial army. They are very different in terms of their background, education and profession. Their military ranks range from that of simple soldier to officer, from military doctor to military policeman. Today, half a century after the Second World War, the Japanese society has undoubtedly changed. However, it has yet to confront its own past, let alone investigate the war crimes it committed. Already two-thirds of the population belong to the post-war generation. The memories of the war will soon disappear from Japanese minds, and that before the issue of Japanese guilt has ever been properly settled.

"The victims of war often talk about their experiences, while the perpetrators remain silent. But it is from the words of the perpetrators in particular that we can gain important insight into human behavioural patterns in times of war. It is important at the present time to discover how normal people like our own grandfathers and fathers themselves became perpetrators and war criminals, and what they really did."

March 22, 2003 (Saturday) 10: 45 am - 12 noon
Breaking the History of Silence - The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal for the Trial of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery

Produced by the Tribunal organizer, 2000

A documentary, with narration in English, of The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal for the Trial of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery held in Tokyo in December 2000. In the film we see survivors, prosecutors (including the joint North and South Korean team), expert witnesses, and Japanese veterans giving perpetrator testimony. You would feel the collective weight of the survivors' suffering, but you also see them in their individuality through fine close up shots. You would share the extraordinary moment of hearing Emperor Hirohito pronounced guilty by the chief judge in a reading of the preliminary findings.

Hague Final Judgement- The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal for the Trial of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Produced by the Tribunal organizer, 2001 This judgment has been praised for its thoroughness and vision, which includes charging the former Allied powers with failure to prosecute the crime of military sexual slavery at the time of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and to disclose the evidence that existed at the time.

March 22, 2003 (Saturday) 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
In the Name of the Emperor
Produced by Christine Choy and Nancy Tong, Film New Now Foundation, 1995. Special Jury Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, 1995

This is the documentary film to examine the Rape of Nanjing, December 13, 1937, when the Japanese Imperial troops marched into this city in China. In just six weeks they murdered 300,000 civilians, and systematically raped and killed thousands of women. Today, the Japanese government continues to deny it ever happened.

In the Name of the Emperor is a monument to the suffering of the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese during World War II. It weaves together rare footage of the Japanese occupation, diary entries from Americans who were there, and the eye witness accounts of surviving Japanese soldiers. Especially unique is the newly discovered film footage of the massacre shot by John McGee, an American missionary who was living in Nanjing. This footage was part of the testimony at the war crimes trial, but has never been seen until now.

The Nanjing Massacre was the impetus for the Japanese system of "comfort stations" or military brothels in occupied territories to stem the tide of venereal disease. Included is an interview with a Korean "comfort women' who speaks openly about her sexual servitude. These war crimes continues to disrupt diplomatic relations between Japan, the Philippines, Korea and Taiwan to this day.

Unit 731
Produced by BBC, 2002.
Reporter: Anita McNaught; Producer: Giselle Portenier

Unit 731 was the world's largest and most comprehensive biological warfare programme. Inside Unit 731 the Japanese conducted research and human experimentation on a scale unlike any in the history of humankind.

More than 10,000 Chinese, Korean and Russian POWs were slaughtered in these experimental facilities. They were used as human laboratory rats, to research, breed and refine biological weapons. They were treated as sub-human, and live vivisections were common. The products of the research were tested on Chinese civilians. It is estimated that biological weapons killed more than 300,000 between 1938-1945.

As the war came to an end, the Japanese surrendered and the US moved in to run the country's affairs, the officers and scientists responsible were never brought to trial. The US cut the Japanese officers a deal: Immunity from prosecution for war crimes in return for experimental data.

This documentary shows a group of 180 Chinese villagers including Wu Shi-Gen gave evidence against the Japanese government. Their demands are simple. They want the government first to admit to the extent of the biological warfare waged against the Chinese, and then to apologize and make a compensatory payment.

March 22, 2003 (Saturday) 1: 30 pm - 2:45 pm
Return to Nagasaki: The John Ford Story
Produced by CBC Television - Country Canada November 2002.
Producer: Reg Sherren; Executive Producer: Nigel Simms

This is John Ford's story. A story that takes a young man from a small Newfoundland outport and places him near ground zero during the explosion of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, Japan. The bomb ended the Second World War and gave John Ford his freedom.

At 83, John is a Canadian alive to have witnessed the bombing of Nagasaki. Now, he returns for the first time in fifty-seven years, coming face to face with his past, and the nightmares that have haunted him ever since.


Contact Information

Asia Pacific Lessons Conference
c/o International House
1783 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Tel: 604-822-4904
Fax: 604-822-5099
Email: bcalpha@shaw.ca