Report of the Nobel Peace Prize Nomination
On October 12, 2001the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee announced that the United Nations and Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN had been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2001. We believe that this selection has resulted from the committee’s concern regarding the recent challenge to world peace posed by international terrorism. Since we had worked hard for his nomination, we were disappointed that Professor Saburo Ienaga was not awarded the Prize. However, we believe that the prize awarded to Mr. Annan and the UN is in recognition of the same principles of Professor Ienaga ‘s long struggle for freedom, democracy and world peace .
When we started the campaign for Professor Ienaga’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize numerous people came to join this movement by sending their signatures, in fact during the period of less than a month, 80 people in Japan including 3 members of the Diet came forward to endorse our campaign. From overseas the campaign was supported by 14 elected representatives such as cabinet ministers and the members of Parliament (including the European Parliament) and 144 university professors. They were from the Republic of Korea, USA., Canada, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia. There were scholars well-known among us. They include: Herbert P. Bix, Noam Chomsky, Bruce Cumings , John W. Dower, Peter Duus, Jeshua Vogel, Richard Minear, Tessa Maurice Suzuki, John Price and Immanuel Wallerstein. From China, two Deputies to the Chinese National People’s Congress joined our campaign along with a number of academics. We did not have much time to work with Korean people, however, some including Professor Chung Jae-jeong agreed to the nomination.
This impressive list of signatories and supporters is clear proof of the achievements of Professor Ienaga’s decades long academic struggle for freedom, democracy and peace: he has become well known and appreciated among conscientious intellectuals, peace and human rights activists in various parts of the world. When we started this campaign, it coincided with the presentation of a history textbook for government screening which was aiming at the glorification of wars by distorting historical truth and promoting jingoistic nationalism. This move has been sternly criticized by the public in both Japan and neighboring countries. At first the Japanese government promised a fair screening practice, but in the end, the government approved the textbook with superficial corrections. The fact that only 0.03 % of schools will use this textbook for the coming school year shows that many citizens in Japan have become aware of Professor Ienaga’s persistent efforts. Indeed, his research and educational activities about the true nature of the war and his lawsuit against the unjust government screening practices have had impact on all of us.
The Nobel Peace Prize was set up a hundred years ago, in 1901. Several years later, in 1907 another important progress relating to war and peace took place: namely, the Hague Convention (Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land) was adopted in order to control the inhuman behaviors of military at war. During the 15 years’ war the Japanese military repeatedly violated international conventions in committing acts against humanity: indiscriminate bombing, the Nanjing massacre, the germ warfare of Unit 731, and “military comfort women”. Professor Ienaga revealed the truth of the illegal nature of these acts and incidents. In including these facts in his textbooks he intended that children would learn from past mistakes so that they will be able to live in a peaceful world where international law and human rights are respected and enhanced.
On October 5, eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates issued a joint statement in response to the recent tragic events of New York and Washington DC. They expressed their condemnation toward the indiscriminate killing of innocent citizens, no matter what their political or moral motives could have been, and they extended their deep sympathy to those who lost their family members and friends. At the same time they urged the US. Government to refrain from military action as a reprisal. What they insisted, instead, was the application of existing standards of international law to the perpetrators of such horrendous acts.
At the announcement of the Peace Prize for 2001, the Nobel committee pointed out that Mr. Annan has contributed to making it clear that “sovereignty can not be a shield behind which member states conceal their violations.” The committee further emphasized that “the only negotiable route to global peace and co-operation goes by way of the United Nations.” (The announcement of the Noble Peace Prize )
Professor Ienaga missed the chance to receive the Prize, however, in view of the facts stated above, we are confident that his wishes have been widely accepted and carried forward, and his achievements will be valued more than before among people all over the world.
With this brief report we would like to share our thought and observations with all of those who supported the campaign. We would also like to acknowledge that our oversea contacts were facilitated by Richard Minear, Mark Seldon (USA), Paul Harris (Hong Kong), Tatsuo Kage, Thekla Lit (Canada) and Yoshiko Nozaki (New Zealand).
October 12, 2001
Shinichi Arai (Chair), Hisao Ishiyama, Hiroshi Oyama, Yamato Kobayashi, Kazuhiko Kimijima, Yoshifumi Tawara
Ad hoc Committee for the Nomination of Professor Saburo Ienaga for the Nobel Peace Prize.