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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Conference Speakers

Grandma AHN Jeom Soon
Arai Shin-Ichi
Michiko Midge Ayukawa
Rick Beardsley
Stephen Benedict
Greg Blue
Mordecai Briemberg
Gary Caroline
Iris Chang
Josephine Chiu-Duke
Roland David Chrisjohn
Tony Cowling
Gail Davidson
Elsie Dean
Stephen Endicott
Randy Enomoto
Michael J. Franzblau
Martin Furmanski
Bob George
Susan Gill
Diane Graves
Judy Hanazawa
Marwan Hassan
Tineke Hellwig
Paula van der Hijden
Nam-Lin Hur
Grandma HWANG Geum Joo
Rosalyn Ing
Tatsuo Kage
Mary Kitagawa
Kinuko Laskey
Herbert Lim
Thekla Lit
Madeleine MacIvor
Don MacPherson
Yoshiyuki Masaki
Tim Michel
Art Miki
David Morgan
Riadh Muslih
Marius Jan van Dijk van Nooten
Gerry Oleman
Maryka Omatsu
Erna Paris
Shane Pointe
John Price
Indai Lourdes Sajor
Bill Saunders
Sid Shniad
Mary-Woo Sims
Kamilla Singh
Jan Solecki
SUH Sung
Sunera Thobani
Grace Eiko Thomson
Anneke van Vliet
Richard Vedan
WANG Xuan
Joie Warnock
Alfred Lambremont Webre
Mike Whittingham
Paul Winn
Joseph Wong
Ellen Woodsworth
XU Jiaxie
Yang Dafang
Yoon Mee-Hyang


Click here for Speakers A-J

Tatsuo Kage
Tatsuo Kage is member of Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association (JCCA) Human Rights Committee. He was brought up in Tokyo where he experienced WWII as an elementary school student. He studied European history at University of Tokyo and continued his graduate study at the University of Tübingen, Germany. As a professor he taught Political and Diplomatic History at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo.

In 1975 he immigrated to Canada.. For ten years he worked as a counsellor at a multicultural immigrant settlement service agency in Vancouver. In the 1980's he participated in the Redress movement for Japanese Canadians. In the 1990's he continued human rights work supporting redress for WWII victims. His research work on Exiled Japanese Canadians after the end of WW II was published in 1998 in Tokyo. He participated in the writing of A Resource Guides for Teachers: Human Rights in the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945), published in 2001 by the BC Ministry of Education.

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Mary Kitagawa
Keiko Mary Kitagawa (né Murakami) was born on Salt Spring Island. She has three sisters and two brothers. Her mother was the first Japanese Canadian baby born in Steveston, BC. After an arranged marriage in Japan with her mother, her father immigrated to Canada in 1926. They operated a profitable farming business on Salt Spring Island until March 1942 when the family was separated and sent into exile. Her father was sent to Yellowhead Pass, a work camp for Japanese Nationals. Beginning in the barns of Hastings Park, her mother and siblings were forced to live in nine different camps until the family was reunited on a sugar beet farm in Alberta. The family returned to Salt Spring Island in 1954.

After graduating from the University of Toronto and earning her teaching credentials from UBC, she taught at Kitsilano Secondary in Vancouver. Twelve years ago, she and her husband Tosh joined the JCCA Human Rights Committee. The incentive was to find support for her brother Richard's struggle with racially motivated abuses he was suffering on Salt Spring Island. She regularly speaks at schools as a survivor, keeping the family's story alive.

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Kinuko Laskey

'Hibakusha' - a survivor of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb August 6th, 1945 she was a 16 years old student nurse in the Hiroshima Communications Hospital 1.4 kilometres from the hypocenter. Radiation sickness, loss of sight in her right eye, and many plastic surgery operations were the results of her ordeal. With the support of her husband, she speaks out against war and her efforts to educate and help change those people's minds who think that wars are inevitable and to accept peace as the only way.

Participated in two Japanese documentaries and Canadian films.
1982 testified at the U.S. Senate Proposed Nuclear Freeze and Reduction Forum Washington DC.
1983 Founded the Canadian Society of Atomic Bomb Survivors.
1984 Negotiated sister society relationship between the British Columbia Medical Association and Hiroshima Medical Association.
1985 Negotiated for the invitation for examination of Survivors in Vancouver.
1987 - Co-lit the flame Vancouver Centennial Peace Monument.

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Herbert Lim
Herbert Lim, born in 1925 is third generation Vancouver born Chinese Canadian. He graduated from Vancouver College in 1943. Completed first year undergrad sciences at U.B.C., attached to the "Canadian Officers Training Corps". Herbert volunteered for "Special Service", attached to British Army with Force 136 (Special Operations Executive), for infiltration and penetration by submarine and parachute behind enemy lines in Burma and Malaya. He completed basic training with Royal Canadian Engineers in Chilliwack specializing in demolition with explosives and then he got further training at "Eastern Warfare School" in Poona, Meerut, and Sri Lanka. Emphasis included jungle survival, commando amphibious landings, close quarter combat, cipher and codes, wireless telegrapher, parachute training from DC 5's, Liberators, Chinese interpreter and interrogation of Japanese P.O.W. Herbert was awarded the Burma Star for his war service. He is board member of Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver.

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Thekla Lit
Thekla Lit is founder and Co-chair of the Canada Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WW II in Asia (ALPHA) and President of its B.C. chapter. B.C. ALPHA was invited to be a partner in the development of the B.C. Ministry of Education's learning resource "Human Rights in the Asia Pacific 1931-1945: Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship." Aimed for use in high school history, law and social studies classes, the resource addresses the atrocities in the Asia-Pacific war, including the redress movement of survivors such as victims of Japanese military sexual slavery, the so-called "comfort women." Thekla was in the writing team of the resource. Before immigration to Canada, she was senior lecturer in Social Work of the City University of Hong Kong.

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Madeleine MacIvor
Madeleine MacIvor is a Metis woman and mother of 3 adult children. She has worked for the University of British Columbia since 1989 as Coordinator - Student Services for First Nations House of Learning, First Nations Coordinator for the Faculty of Forestry, and now as Associate Director for First Nations House of Learning. Madeleine is a graduate of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (B.Ed, Elementary) and Ts'`kel Graduate Studies (M.A., Science Education). She has a strong background in student services and a deep commitment to ensuring that Aboriginal people have access to quality post-secondary education opportunities that meet their needs and aspirations.

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Don MacPherson
Don MacPherson was born in 1920 in rural Manitoba into a family of nine children of Scottish and English heritage. In September 1939 Don enlisted in the Winnipeg Grenadiers and in October 1941, his regiment was sent to Hong Kong to help defend the British colony from the expected attack by Japan. On his return to Canada in September 1945, he was diagnosed as legally blind due to avitaminosis. He worked for a while for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Ontario and in 1953 moved to B.C. where he worked for the B.C. Liquor Commission as liquor blender until his retirement in 1981.

Don married in 1946, was widowed in 1956 and remarried in 1961. He has two daughters and one son and three granddaughters. He has been active in the Sir Arthur Pearson Association of War Blinded and the Hong Kong Veterans Association. Despite his disability he has been an active curler and golfer.

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Yoshiyuki Masaki
Yoshiyuki Masaki is a retired professor who taught university English for 17 years and 13 years in high schools in Japan. Besides his academic works in the field of English education, he translated into Japanese the book "The Rape of Nanking-an Undeniable History in Photographs" and also documentary videos on crimes against humanity committed by the Japanese imperial army such as "In the Name of the Emperor" and "Murder under the Sun". His recent translation work is the documentary "Historical Analysis."

He is currently working to establish international broadcasting using the internet. "My goal is to create a history channel on the internet naming it 'The Nanjing Massacre Channel.' Also I'd like to create an interview program like 'Talk Asia' to introduce the economic achievements and life of modern Shanghai to the Japanese people so that it can change the dark image Japanese people have about China. I believe this kind of program will help the Japanese people get rid of their preoccupied racism attitude inherited by their parents that the Chinese are 'dirty', 'poor' and 'dark'. " Masaki said.

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Tim Michel
Tim Michel is from the Secwepemc Nation. He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Sciences from UBC and is currently working on a Master in Distance and Distributed Education from Athabasca University. His recent work experience includes being an instructor with both Capilano College and the Institute of Indigenous Government. He has also worked as a consultant for various community and development organizations. In July of 2002, Tim was hired as the First Nations Coordinator for the Faculties of Science and Agricultural Sciences at UBC.

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Art Miki
Past president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians serving from 1984 to 1992 and leading the negotiations with the Canadian government to achieve a just Redress settlement for Japanese Canadians. Member of Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation, 1989 to 2002. Former teacher and principal and now citizenship judge. Vice-chair and current Director with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Recepient of numerous awards and in 1991 received the Order of Canada.

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David Morgan
David Morgan was born in India of Welsh parents in 1930. His father was a mining engineer. He grew up in Britain during World War II, so modern war against civilians and the bombing of cities is a reality for him. At the age 18, in 1948 he was drafted into the British Royal Air Force as radar operator He served in Egypt in the Suez Canal area.

1950 Came to Canada studied geology at McGill, Montreal. He worked as a geologist and high school teacher (History and Geography) and is a B.C. Professional Engineer and a B.C. Professional teacher. He has been president of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms since 1995.

His war experiences as a child, his scientific training and a vivid imagination have helped to make the threat of nuclear destruction a very real one for David. Preventing such destruction is now his main goal.

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Riadh L. Muslih
Riadh Muslih was born in Baghdad, Iraq and moved to Canada in 1985. He graduated from the American University in Cairo, and lived in the United States, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates before moving to Canada with his wife Nori and three children. Riadh has been active in Arab political and human right issues for almost all his adult life. In Canada, he is a past president of the Arab Community Association, a founding member of the Canadian Arab Business & Professional Club, and Adala - Canadian Arab Justice Committee.

Riadh is also engaged with CESAPI, the Campaign to End Sanctions Against the People of Iraq, and the Peace movement. Since 1993, Riadh has been the publisher of Al Shorouq, the only newspaper serving the Arab Community. He has often published in Letters to the Editor in the local press, and appeared on a number of radio and TV interviews, and regularly speaks tin public meetings and rallies.

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Marius Jan van Dijk van Nooten
Marius Jan van Dijk van Nooten was born in the Netherlands and spent a happy childhood in the former Netherland East Indies until captured by the Japanese Imperial occupation forces in 1942 when he was 11 years old. For three and a half years, he was a child prisoner and slave labourer in the Japanese military concentration camps. His child slave labor number was 12234. After the war, he returned to Holland and then moved to Canada in 1954 as an unskilled labourer. He worked all his way up to become a merchant marine captain.

Marius was forced to retire very early, suffering from post traumatic syndrome rooted in his terrible experience in the war. He spoke at the 1993 World Congress - World Federation for Mental Health held in Tokyo. He was varsity head coach for swimming and diving from 1958-1960 and was the head swimming and diving coach of Canada for the 1961 Maccabiah Game at Tel Aviv, Israel. He was president (1990-92) of August 15, 1945 Foundation of BC and member of BC ALPHA.

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Gerry Oleman
Saa Hiil Thut (Gerry Oleman) is from the Stl'atl'imx Nation. He has worked in the field of human services with a traditional focus since 1976. He has worked as an addictions counsellor with the National Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program, with community programs and with treatment centres, and was also a trainer for addictions counsellors. From 1993 until 1997, he worked as a First Nations Spiritual and Cultural Advisor with British Columbia Institute of Technology. Since 1997, he has worked as a Tribal Support Worker for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. There mandate is to bring help, hope and healing to residential school survivors and their families.

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Maryka Omatsu

Judge Omatsu has written about redress in her award-winning book--Bittersweet Passage: Redress and the Japanese Canadian Experience.

Maryka Omatsu became Canada's first woman of Asian heritage to sit as a judge when she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in February 1993. Presently, she presides over criminal trials in downtown Toronto.

Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Omatsu was Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Board of Inquiry and an environmental lawyer representing Aboriginal peoples in provincial hydro and gas hearings. During the 1980's, she was counsel and a negotiator for the National Association of Japanese Canadians in their successful claim for compensation from the Canadian government for their internment, property confiscation and denial of civil rights.

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Erna Paris
Erna Paris was born in Toronto and educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Paris (Sorbonne). She lived in France during much of the turbulent 1960s and taught high school English before beginning a full-time writing career in 1971; first as a magazine journalist, book reviewer, and broadcaster (in French and English), then as a writer of literary non-fiction.

Erna Paris is the winner of ten national and international writing awards. She is the author of six books of literary non-fiction, including The End of Days: A Story of Tolerance, Tyranny and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, which won the 1996 Canadian Jewish Book Award for History. Her most recent work, Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History won the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize (2001), the inaugural Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing (2001) and the Dorothy Shoichet Prize for History, Canadian Jewish Book Awards (2001). Long Shadows was acclaimed a "best book of the year" by The Christian Science Monitor (U.S.), The New Statesman (U.K.) and The Globe and Mail (Canada)

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Shane Pointe
Hopokeltun (Shane Pointe) comes from the Point family of the Musqueam People. He works for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.as a supervisor for a team that supports First Nations People who are in the process of suing the Government and various Churches for damages, for the sexual abuse that was inflicted on them by the adults who were in charge of them in Indian Residential Schools. The team supports these courageous people spiritually and emotionally and encourages them to heal through cultural means and other methods. Hopokeltun has worked with 104 people over the past three years. He says, "During this time I have seen an awesome display of courage, dignity and a willingness to heal. I am inspired and humbled by the strength of the people I have met."

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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