Canadian Delegation to Support Biological Warfare Survivors
in their Appeal to Tokyo Courts
- Statement of Support -
On May 20th, 2003, Chinese survivors of biological warfare will attend the first hearing of their appeal in the lawsuit against the Japanese government for damages and an apology related to their suffering at the hands of the Japanese imperial army during World War II. The Canadian Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (ALPHA), Canada Asia Pacific Resource Network (CAPRN), and the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association (JCCA) Human Rights Committee are pleased to support the survivors of biological warfare in their quest for redress by organizing a delegation of Canadian observers to participate in a series of public events in Japan including attending the appeal hearing.
In March this year, Canada ALPHA, the JCCA Human Rights Committee, and CAPRN co-sponsored a "Canadian Conference on Preventing Crimes against Humanity: Lessons from the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945)." Over 250 people attended the conference. Xu Jiaxie and Yang Dafang, survivors of Japanese germ warfare, testified at the conference and the conference closing statement concluded: "The spirit of the survivors of crimes against humanity, past and present, stands as a candle of hope in these troubled times. To them we commit our determination to support the survivors' demand for redress, to prevent crimes against humanity and to achieve justice and peace." In this spirit, our support for this delegation of observers is part and parcel of the worldwide quest for peace and human rights.
Furthermore, as Canadians we feel a special responsibility to support the Chinese survivors of Japanese biological warfare. Principal responsibility for the perpetuation of the injustice towards Chinese survivors rests with the Japanese government and the U.S. government. In the case of the latter, it could have largely stopped international biological weapons development in the 1940s when it learned about the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during its Occupation of Japan. Instead, the U.S. government
offered immunity to the Japanese perpetrators of these atrocities in exchange for their scientific data. However, the Canadian government must also assume its share of responsibility in the cover-up and perpetuation of the injustice.
Recent research suggests that Canadian officials and scientists were aware of the use of biological weapons in China during WW II; that scientists employed by the Defence Research Board had access to and made use of the information obtained from the perpetrators of human experiment in China; and that the Canadian government had both the opportunity and a particular responsibility to bring the perpetrators of this crime against humanity to justice because of its participation in the Far Eastern Commission, in the Tokyo Trial (International Military Tribunal for the Far East), and because it is also a signatory to the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty.
The community organizations that have sponsored this delegation will continue to work for reparations and reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific. We will support initiatives to develop an international network to investigate and support the movement to lift the veil of secrecy that has too long covered the use of biological weapons in China during the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945). Furthermore, we have, with others, called on the City of Vancouver to organize a world peace forum in the year 2005. We urge that the peace movement today learn from the tragedies of the past, so that we can continue to hear the voices of survivors of crimes against humanity.
Canada Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (ALPHA)
Canada Asia Pacific Resource Network (CAPRN)
Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association (JCCA), Human Rights Committee
May 15, 2003