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Multi-Ethnic Joint Position on the Recent Tension in East Asia

For Redress, Reconciliation and Peace in the Asia-Pacific


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As a multi-ethnic coalition of organizations representing tens of thousands of Canadians, we are voicing our support for the victims of Japanese war crimes in Asia; our concern that all Canadians be informed about the effects of World War II in Asia as well as in Europe, and; our demand that the Canadian government work toward redress, reconciliation and peace in the Asia-Pacific, declining to support the Koizumi government's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council until redress is achieved.



Last month, thousands of people demonstrated in numerous Chinese and other international cities to protest against the Japanese government's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.  Earlier, 40 million people around the world signed a petition opposing Japan's move. Many people were shocked and dismayed again at the Japanese government's recent approval of history textbooks that gloss over Japan's crimes against humanity, and whitewashes its militarism as an Axis power during World War II. Regular visits by Japanese politicians, including Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, to the Yasukuni shrine, have angered many.  In 1978, this shrine deified 12 convicted World War II Class-A war criminals including General Hideki Tojo. Yasukuni glorifies Japan's militarist past.  And while the German government continues to assist victims of the Nazi era, victims of Japanese war crimes have had to file lawsuits in Japan, often thwarted by the Japanese government.


That people have resorted to demonstrations is a stark reflection of the fact that memories of the war, and war crimes perpetrated by Japanese imperial forces are unresolved, and that reconciliation is far from being achieved.


Asian survivors of war crimes, including the women forced into sexual slavery (so-called 'comfort women'), victims of the Nanking massacre, those taken to Japan as forced labourers, victims of Japan's biological warfare in China, or abused prisoners of war do not feel that the Japanese government has adequately addressed their unspeakable pain and damage.  Measures must be taken to bring some closure for these survivors.


Compounding the problem has been a resurgence of neo-nationalism in Japan, accompanied by an expanding military.  The Japanese government dispatched destroyers to the Indian Ocean and troops to Iraq, and it has joined the U.S. military's ballistic missile defence system.  Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party is pushing to jettison Japan's pacifist constitution (Article 9) and key officials are advocating that Japan go nuclear.  A higher Japanese military profile in Asia only aggravates an already delicate situation, stirring memories of the unresolved past.


Our Coalition, including a cross-section of Canada's Asian-Canadian minority population, supports the demands of the B.C. Committee against Japan's Bid for a U.N. Security Council Permanent Seat (see  The elderly survivors of Japanese war crimes deserve the support of the whole world.  Until redress is achieved, reconciliation will be impossible, and peace in the Asia-Pacific jeopardized.


A Canadian Issue

Contrary to some media reports, the struggle for redress in Asia is not about states, or about geopolitics.  It is about the human rights of people who have suffered long enough.  Do the victims of Japanese war crimes deserve less than their European counterparts?


On the 60th anniversaries of the end of the war in Europe (May 7) and in Asia (August 15), the Canadian government should speak out for the rights of both Asian and European survivors of war crimes.  To do otherwise would send a message to Asian-Canadians that their concerns are not being taken seriously by the three levels of government.


Canada has an international reputation for advocating human rights, and promoting peacekeeping rather than war-making.  In 1988, the Canadian government set a positive example in providing a redress settlement long demanded by Japanese-Canadians.  Ten years later, in 1998, the federal government provided Canadian Hong Kong veterans with compensation for the abuse they suffered as prisoners of war in Japan.  And just last year, Canadian servicemen who were used as guinea pigs in chemical warfare tests at Suffield during World War II were provided with compensation.  Do Asian victims of war crimes deserve less?  Don't Asian survivors deserve justice and redress from the Japan government?


As a signatory to the peace treaty with Japan, and through its war crimes laws, Canada has not only the right but the obligation to help resolve outstanding issues from World War II in Asia.


Furthermore, Canada has a vested security and economic interest in resolving this conflict.  Otherwise we risk seeing a destabilized Asia-Pacific region, with eventual spillover effects onto our own security and economy, which is increasingly tied to that of other Asian-Pacific nations.


To achieve redress, reconciliation and peace in the Asia-Pacific, we request the Canadian government to:


a. Lay a formal complaint with the Japanese government for promoting and participating in visits to Yasukuni Shrine.  Under Article 11 of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, to which Canada is a signatory, the Japanese government was to "accept the judgements" of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the counterpart to Nuremberg.  Visits by government officials to a shrine that has deified war criminals violates both the letter and the spirit of the Peace Treaty.


b. Refuse to support a Japanese bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council

until the Japanese government provides appropriate redress for victims of crimes against humanities; issues a state-endorsed, full apology for its war crimes; and institutes substantive measures of war responsibility, similar to Germany's, including passing a law that would outlaw denial of the Asian holocaust.

c. Promote August 15 (V-J Day), as a day of "Peace in the Asia-Pacific" and support actions and education, including the promotion of the B.C. Ministry of Education learning resource "Human Rights in the Asia Pacific 1931-1945: Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship" to assure Canadians have an equal opportunity to learn lessons from World War II in Asia as well as in Europe. 

We call on Canadian organizations and community leaders to endorse this statement. 


Statement issued on May 18, 2005


Please click here to endorse this Position Paper online.


Endorsing Organizations:

Endorsing Individuals: (Position and institution are listed for identification purpose only)

Canada ALPHA

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Multi-Ethnic Joint Position on the Recent Tension in East Asia:
For Redress, Reconciliation and Peace in the Asia-Pacific




先月(2005年4月) 何千人もの人々が、中国の諸都市で、そしてその他の国々の都市でも国連安保理事会常任理事国の地位を求めている日本政府に反対するデモンストレーションに参加しました。すでに、世界各地の4000万の人々が署名運動に参加して日本のこの努力に反対する意思を表明しました。多くの人々は日本の人道に対する犯罪をないがしろにし、第二次大戦中枢軸国として戦ったその軍国主義を糊塗している歴史教科書を最近、日本政府が認可したことに驚き落胆しています。日本の小泉純一郎首相をはじめ日本の政治家たちが定期的に靖国神社に参拝していることにも多くの人々が憤慨しています。1978年にこの神社は東条英機元首相をはじめとする第二次大戦の12人のA級戦犯を合祀しました。靖国神社はかっての軍国主義の時代を賛美しています。ドイツ政府がナチスの時代の被害者に対して継続的に援助しているのに引き比べて、日本の戦争犯罪による被害者は日本で裁判を起さなければならなくなっていますが、多くの場合、日本政府によって反論されて、敗訴になっています。






カナダ少数民族の様々なグループをふくむ私たちの連合体は「日本が国連安保理事会常任理事国の地位を求めることに反対するBC州委員会の要求」を支持します。 (参照: 日本の戦争犯罪の被害を受けて生き残った人々は今や高齢で、全世界から支持されて当然でしょう。補償が達成されなければ、和解は不可能であり、アジア太平洋地域の平和が危険にさらされるでしょう。
















1.        靖国神社参拝の奨励と参加に関して、日本政府に公式に苦情を申し立てる。カナダが調印した1951年のサンフランシスコ講和条約第11条では日本政府がニュルンベルグ裁判に準じた極東国際軍事裁判の「判決を承認する」ことと定められている。戦争犯罪人を祀った神社に政府要人が参拝することは講和条約の規定にも精神にも違反している。


2.        日本政府が人道に対する犯罪の犠牲者に対して適切な補償を行うこと、戦争犯罪に関して国として公式に全面的な謝罪を発表すること、すでにドイツが行っているような戦争から生じた責任に関する実質的な対応策を導入すること、それにはアジアにおけるホロコースト(大量虐殺)否定を法律違反とする立法を含むものとする。以上の本項の処置が実現されるまで、カナダは日本の国連安保理事会常任理事国就任を支持しない。


3.        8月15日(V-J Day)を「アジア太平洋地域のおける平和の日」に指定して、 関連の行事や教育活動を援助する。それにはBC州教育省発行の教材、『アジア太平洋における人権、1931年―1945年:社会的責任と世界市民』の普及を含むものとし、カナダ人が第二次大戦に関してヨーロッパの経験からだけではなく、アジアにおける経験からも同じ様に教訓を学ぶ機会を与えられるよう配慮する。




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加拿大历来在国际上享有倡导人权、促进和平的美誉﹐而不是发动战争者。1988年,加国政府用实际行动纠正和补偿了向日裔加人所犯的历史错误,满足了他们多年的訴求,树立了一个正面的榜样。十年后,1998年,联邦政府又为二战中在香港被日军俘虏受虐待的加拿大战俘提供补偿。就是在去年,当年在Suffield被当作化学武器试验品的加拿大军人也从政府那里得到了补偿。难道亚洲的战争罪行受害者就不应该得到合理的賠偿吗? 难道亚洲的幸存者们不应该向日本政府讨还公道吗?