News Watch


Even Nazi member Appalled by the Massacre and Helped the Chinese

(12/12/96)

NEW YORK (Reuter) - A rare war diary made public for the first time Thursday revealed that a German businessman and Nazi party member rescued thousands of Chinese when the Japanese Army sacked Nanking in 1937.

The diary tells of how businessman John Rabe hid people from Japanese soldiers, secured rice and soybean supplies, attempted to improve hygiene as bodies lay in the streets and describes the rape and killing of civilians during what became known as ''the Rape of Nanking.''

Rabe even appealed to German leader Adolf Hitler to put pressure on Tokyo to agree to a neutral zone for civilians.

According to the New York-based Alliance in Memory of Victims of the Nanjing Massacre, Rabe's diary of 2,117 pages contains hitherto unknown eyewitness accounts of Japanese atrocities during the siege of the Nationalist Chinese capital, which was later renamed Nanjing.

``It was horrible to read it, it was really horrible,'' said Rabe's granddaughter Ursula Reinhardt, who travelled from Berlin to New York for the unveiling of the diary by the Alliance on the 59th anniversary of the siege.

``You see, I saw war myself. Reading these diaries was to renew my own memories of the last war, renew memories of my childhood,'' Reinhardt told a news conference.

Reinhardt, who was born in China and became close to her grandfather, said she started reading the diaries for the first time only a few months ago after receiving permission from Rabe's 80-year-old son Otto, to make them public. Reinhardt was pursuaded to do this by California author Iris Chang, who came across references to Rabe's humanitarianism while researching a book.

Apart from the atrocities and Rabe's sheltering of more than 600 people on his own property, the eight volumes of the diary -- covering the period shortly before the fall of Nanking on Dec. 13, 1937 through February 1938 -- also recorded his dealings with ambassadors and military authorities.

On Dec. 14, 1937 Rabe, top representative of the Siemens Company, chairman of the International Committee of the Nanjing Safety Zone and group leader of the local Nazi branch, wrote about the scale of destruction.

``Only on driving through the city do we really begin to get to know the extent of the destruction. Every 100 or 200 metres we would bump into bodies. The bodies of the civilians, which I investigate, show shots in the back. The people are therefore probably shot dead while running away.''

An entry from Jan. 30, 1938 reads, ``My car is held up by a group of some 50 Chinese, who asked me to rescue a woman ... I am led to a house and find ... the soldier was just about to rape the woman. I am able to drag the soldier from the room.'' On his return to Germany in 1938, Rabe made several speeches about what he saw in China and was asked to stop. He sent a report to Hitler, but the Gestapo arrested him. He was released from jail following the intervention of Siemens and a guarantee of his silence on the subject of Nanjing. He died in 1950 aged 62.

Historian Carol Gluck, after reading part of the diary, remarked on its detailed entries and Rabe's efforts to negotiate with all the forces at play in Nanjing -- the Japanese and Chinese military, Western diplomats and American missionaries and of course, Hitler.

``My impression is that this was a man who spent 30 years in China, his context was Chinese, he was not the kind of Nazi you would imagine,'' said Gluck, professor of Japanese history at Columbia University's East Asian Institute. Gluck said Rabe may have saved the lives of an estimated 60,000 Chinese.

``He saved people because they were people,'' Gluck said.

Scholars believe the diaries are authentic because they contain descriptions of events similar to those provided by missionaries who knew Rabe and his deeds. The Alliance in Memory of the Victims believes Rabe's diary counters the denials by individual Japanese and government officials of the atrocities in Nanjing and other cities during Japanese rule from 1931 to 1945.

``John Rabe had everything to gain if he had cooperated with the Japanese, if he had kept his silence in Germany and everything to lose if he did not. Well, we all know he did not,'' said Tzuping Shao, past-president of the Alliance.
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 20:33:49 PST

Japan sued over chemical weapon legacy

(10/12/96)

Victims of chemical weapons left in China by the Japanese army after World War II filed a suit against the Japanese government yesterday, seeking 200 million yen in damages.

The suit was filed with the Tokyo District Court by seven people injured and the relatives of three people killed by the weapons.

The plaintiffs are demanding 20 million yen for each of the 10 victims.

"More than 2,000 people have fallen victim to the weapons. Nobody knows when such accidents will occur again," Susumu Hyodo, a Japanese attorney for the plaintiffs, said.

Sun Jingxi, 60, one of the plaintiffs, claimed in the suit that her ehusband and two other workers had pulled a poisonous gas shell from a river in Harbn in October 1974 during dredging operations.

Her husband inhaled toxic gas leaking from the shel and died in 1991 after several stays in hospital.

In another case, four people were poisoned by toxic gas leaing from a shell found during construction of a sewerage in Mudanjiang in July 1982.

In August last year, two people were killed and one injured when a toxic gas shell exploded during road construction work.
South China Morning Post


Nanjing Massacre Art Exhibition opened in Tokyo

(10/12/96)

An art exhibition featuring the 1937 Nanjing Massacre opened in Tokyo yesterday featuring works by 26 painters from mainland China, Japan and the US.
South China Morning Post


U.S. Department of Justice Established a "Japanese War Criminal Watch List"

(4/12/96)

The Alliance for Preserving the Truth of Sino-Japanese War welcomes the announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice yesterday that the U.S. has formally established a "Japanese War Criminal Watch List." The individuals whose name are placed on list will not ever be permitted to enter the United States.

The list is created to enforce a U.S. law, known as the "Holtzman Amendment" which bars individuals who, in association with or under the direction of Nazi Germany or any government that was an ally of Nazi Germany, participated in acts of persecution during World War II.

The U.S. has established a watch list against Nazi war criminals in 1979. More than 60,000 names have been placed on it, including a former U.N. Secretary-General and former Austrian president Kurt Waldheim. The list has prevented more than 100 suspected persecutors from entering the U.S. since 1989, according to Washington Post.

The U.S. yesterday's announcement solidly confirms the common belief among many American WW II veterans and the Asian American community that the Japanese war criminals must be held accountable for their past misdeeds.

The Alliance encourages those who have vital information to come forward with it. Representatives of the Alliance has already been contacted by the senior officials at the U.S. Justice Department for providing related data in the future.

In fact, the "Watch List" has been one of the topics slated to be discussed at a three-day international symposium on Japan's war responsibility that will be held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California on December 6, 1996.

Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 18:24:29 -0800
Press Release from: Ignatius Ding


Japan's ruling party want visiting world leaders to pay homage to war criminals

(6/12/96) Japan's ruling party Liberal Democratic Party proposed that visiting world leaders be encouraged to include a trip to the Yasukuni shrine in their itineraries. Based on Hong Kong Standard


Forgotten war survivors sue Japan for damages
Stanford conference to coordinate efforts to seek redress

Date: Mon, 2 Dec 1996 18:09:18 -0800
On Sunday, the joint edition of San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner carried a
front page article in the Metro section ( Forgotten war survivors sue Japan
for damages ) discussed extensively the upcoming conference to be held at
Stanford University on December 6 to December 8, 1996 (see attached).

============================================================
                       [The San Francisco Examiner]

Sunday, Dec. 1, 1996 ˛ Page C 1
                                               1996 San Francisco Examiner
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Forgotten war survivors sue Japan for damages

Stanford conference to coordinate efforts to seek redress

Julie Chao
OF THE EXAMINER STAFF

        They are the forgotten survivors of what some call the other
        holocaust.

        For 3-1/4 years, Melvin Routt lived on pumpkin vines,
        worm-infested rice sweepings and any insects he could catch,
        all the while toiling in coal mines for the Japanese war
        effort. His weight dropped from 163 pounds to 83.

        Clinton Jennings of San Francisco lived through the savage
        Bataan Death March, in which 7,000 POWs died, then survived
        two months on a "hellship" to Japan, where food was lowered
        on a rope in a big bucket to 500 men crowded into one
        holding area.

        Like millions in Asia, Routt and Jennings were victims of
        the Japanese Imperial Army's wartime brutality. Fifty years
        after the end of World War II, the number of survivors is
        dwindling. They are far from satisfied by morsels of
        apologies Japan has coughed up in the last few years and
        have been frustrated in their attempts to get financial
        compensation.

        An international conference at Stanford University next week
        hopes to change all that.

        Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Preserving the History
        of WWII in Asia, an umbrella group of about 30 organizations
        worldwide, the meeting will allow lawyers, victims, scholars
        and other interested parties to unite and coordinate their
        efforts in seeking redress from the Japanese government.

        At their first meeting two years ago, the focus was on
        education. This time, they want to launch lawsuits.

        "After two years of education, we think it's time to take
        some legal action," said Betty Yuan, a conference organizer
        and president of the Cupertino-based Alliance for Preserving
        the Truth of Sino-Japanese War.

        Japanese attorneys will fly in to give updates on cases they
        are pursuing in Tokyo courts on behalf of victims.
        Researchers from mainland China will report on new evidence
        of germ warfare. Victim groups from Taiwan, Hong Kong,
        Malaysia and North America will discuss how future lawsuits
        might be coordinated.

        Karen Parker, an international human rights lawyer in San
        Francisco, will speak on her experiences fighting in the
        U.N. and Japanese courts over the last four years for
        compensation for the so-called "comfort women."

        An estimated 200,000 women and girls were used as sex slaves
        by the Japanese military, servicing 10 to 30 men a day in
        horrendous conditions throughout Asia.

        Lawsuit in behalf of thousands

        The largest POW suit was filed in Tokyo district court in
        January 1995 by the Miami-based Center for Internee Rights.
        The suit, representing 33,000 U.S. military POWs, 14,000
        civilian internees and thousands more Dutch, British and
        Australians survivors, asks for an apology and $22,000
        individual compensation from the Japanese government.

        Like Routt, 75, and Jennings, 76, they contend they were
        used as slave laborers in violation of international war
        conventions.

        "We feel that . . . a combination of an apology with this
        monetary token payment is the best way to resolve it," said
        Gilbert Hair, the center's director, who is slated to speak
        at the Stanford conference.

        Another 1,400 American POWs were shipped to Manchuria,
        where, as Sheldon Harris detailed in his 1994 book,
        "Factories of Death," Japanese medical unit 731 carried out
        horrific germ warfare experiments on humans.

        Japanese doctors infected prisoners and Chinese populations
        at large with diseases, including plague and anthrax;
        performed amputations to train medical students, often
        without anesthesia; and conducted frostbite experiments
        where they exposed various parts of the body to minus
        40-degree temperatures, then attempted to defrost them.

        "It's beyond science fiction," said Harris, a retired Cal
        State-Northridge history professor.

        Not only were the perpetrators not punished after the war,
        many went on to become presidents of universities, deans of
        medical schools and heads of public health agencies, Harris
        said.

        Frank James, now living in Redwood City, was shipped to
        Mukden in Manchuria as a POW in November 1942. About 300
        Americans died that winter, and James was one of two men
        assigned the next spring to lift the half-frozen bodies onto
        autopsy tables, where Japanese doctors removed organs.

        He testified to Congress in 1986 that the Japanese gave him
        an injection upon his arrival, took frequent blood samples
        and released fleas in the warehouse where the prisoners
        slept.

        When he returned to the United States in 1945, the U.S. Army
        made him sign a document swearing never to discuss his
        experiences in the camps. For 40 years, he didn't breathe a
        word. When his family would ask, "I just said I had a bad
        time," he said in a telephone interview.

        Harris said the U.S. government had known about the
        experiments and made a secret deal not to try the Japanese
        for war crimes if they turned over their data. The former
        POWs universally blame Gen. Douglas MacArthur for the deal,
        but Harris said the order had surely come from higher up.

        "They made MacArthur a hero, put a medal around his neck,"
        said Routt, who now lives in Tracy. "Should've been a noose
        as far as we're concerned."

        A list of war criminals

        The Department of Justice is expected to take a tiny but
        important step to address the issue by creating a list of
        Japanese war criminals, just as it has a list of Nazi war
        criminals. Anyone on the list would be refused entry to the
        United States.

        Hair, of the Center for Internee Rights, said he had
        supplied the Department of Justice with the center's list of
        war criminals, which includes top Japanese lawmakers and
        industrialists.

        The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has allowed the
        Japanese government to foster a "victim mentality" and
        largely gloss over its own acts of aggression, Hair and
        others say.

        Not until 1995 did then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama
        make a historic speech apologizing for the suffering of all
        wartime victims. Critics dismissed it as inadequate and
        watered-down.

        Japan's position on financial compensation is that the issue
        was settled in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, said
        Sukasa Uemura, spokesman for the embassy in Washington.

        In that treaty, Japan agreed to surrender unconditionally
        and paid the international Red Cross the equivalent of about
        $15 per POW while the Allies agreed not to bring war crimes
        charges against it.

        "Legally speaking, Japan as a government, as a nation,
        compensated," Uemura said. "All legal issues with respect to
        compensation are settled."

        Parker, the human rights lawyer, said Japan's refusal to
        compensate victims directly could partly be attributed to
        lack of pressure from other countries, especially the United
        States and China, which have political and economic reasons
        for wanting to maintain good relations with Tokyo.

        At the conference, Parker intends to explore the possibility
        of bringing a suit in another country, such as the United
        States. Tokyo has used legal technicalities to contest
        current suits, indicating it doesn't intend to pay, she
        said.

        "It does seem (the Japanese government) wants these old
        ladies to die one by one until the whole thing blows over,"
        said Elaine Kim, an Asian Studies professor at UC-Berkeley.

        Of the 200,000 sex slaves, only 40,000 lived through the
        ordeal, Parker said. Just 500 are believed alive today. The
        majority were Korean, but women from China, the Philippines,
        Burma and the Netherlands, the colonial power in Indonesia
        at the time, were used as well.

        Japan did not admit to the program until 1994, two years
        after the first of the women stepped forward. Last year, a
        private fund was established to compensate the women.

        Parker and others agree that, regardless of Japanese
        judicial machinations, what is necessary here is a
        heightened awareness of the Japanese atrocities. Next
        spring, San Francisco Unified is expected to become the only
        school district in the country to include information on
        Japanese wartime atrocities in its high school curriculum,
        said Leland Yee, newly elected as a member of the Board of
        Supervisors.

        Yee, whose own mother often recounted tales of Japanese
        aggression, drafted the resolution earlier this year as a
        member of the School Board.

        There was quite a bit of debate, but "I made it clear this
        was not going to be a forum to bash Japanese Americans,"
        said Yee.

        "(The war) should be taught in schools, and not just Pearl
        Harbor," said Routt, the ex-POW in Tracy. "Kids growing up
        have absolutely no knowledge of what war is really like."
From: Ignatius Ding


Imperial Japan Inc. On Trial

By Donald Macintyre / Tokyo
 November 15, 1996
 Asiaweek

JAPANESE COMPANIES , INCLUDING Kajima, enslaved millions of Koreans and Chinese during World War II. Few survivors have forgotten and now many are fighting for apologies and compensation in court.

 

It is a cold evening in March 1945 near the northern Japanese town of Hanaoka. Prisoners have gathered for dinner in the barracks of a forced-labor camp run by Kajima Gumi, a leading Japanese engineering company. Zhao Manshan and his father Zhao Yi are sitting at a long wooden table with dozens of others as guards hand out bowls of soup made from acorns and radish leaves. Then the elder Zhao makes a fatal mistake; he takes a sip before the others, breaking a camp rule. A guard sees him and beats the old man while the prisoners look on helplessly.

Old Zhao is later taken to the camp's sick ward. There is no doctor and no medicine and sick prisoners get only half rations. Prisoners are dying one by one and Zhao gets steadily weaker. Just before his death on June 28, Zhao has a last talk with his son. "Please survive and protect the family name," the dying man says. "Take my bones back to the family village. And never, never forget to take revenge on my enemy."

More than 50 years later, on Dec. 20, 1995, Zhao Manshan stood up in a packed Tokyo courtroom and told his story. He spoke of beatings and backbreaking labor and men so hungry they resorted to cannibalism. For decades, Zhao has let his anger simmer. Now he is fighting Kajima in court, demanding compensation for the suffering he and his father endured at Hanaoka.

Zhao, along with 10 other survivors and relatives of men who died at the camp, filed suit last year, after talks with the company fell apart. They want Kajima to pay them 5.5 million yen ($48,000) each and build memorials in Beijing and Hanaoka to show its responsibility for the deaths at the camp. The case is unprecedented -- no mainland Chinese have ever tried to win damages for war crimes in a Japanese court.

The plaintiffs are not exactly on an even playing field with the defendants. The Chinese are in their seventies and eighties and don't have much money. A Japanese support group covers expenses when they come to Tokyo to testify. Their opponent, now known as Kajima Corp., is Japan's largest general contractor today, with annual sales of $13.2 billion and operations around the globe. And it's in no mood to compromise -- the suit, Kajima lawyers told the court, "has no foundation."

Japanese courts move slowly and Kajima may be able to outwait the plaintiffs -- one has already died since the trial began. But the dispute, coming on top of a series of bribery scandals involving top Kajima executives, is already creating unwanted publicity for the company. In Los Angeles, Kajima dropped out of the bidding to build a $22-million expansion of the Japanese American National Museum after community and labor groups protested. In a public letter, Kajima's opponents said a museum that preserves the record of Japanese-Americans' fight for compensation for wartime internment shouldn't give the job to a company that refuses to "redress its victims for its horrendous acts of cruelty."


And an L.A. restaurant and hotel workers union is using the Hanaoka case as ammunition in a labor dispute with the New Otani Hotel, which is owned by a Kajima-controlled company. Union organizers and a local war-reparations group have held several demonstrations in front of the hotel, complete with banners displaying Kajima's name alongside pictures of the Hanaoka survivors.

What's more, the Kajima case is seeding a small but growing debate in Japan over the culpability of companies that used forced labor during the war. With most able-bodied Japanese men at the front, big companies such as Kajima, Nippon Steel Corp. and the Mitsubishi group of companies exploited as many as 4 million Koreans as slave laborers, scholars estimate. When Koreans became scarce, construction and mining companies brought almost 40,000 Chinese to Japan, including the men who worked at Hanaoka.

After the war, with Japan focused on becoming a major economic power, nobody was interested in asking uncomfortable questions about how those workers had been treated. Unlike their German counterparts, no Japanese company has ever paid compensation for wartime crimes. Nobody ever asked them to -- the Japanese government helped to cover up evidence of corporate wrongdoing after 1945. Incredibly, government bureaucrats even compensated Kajima and other big companies to cover the cost of using slave labor. Discussion of what companies did during the war "is still taboo," says Ogata Yoichi, head of the Sino-Japanese Historical Research Center in Tokyo.

Today, as the Japanese government contends with increasingly strident demands from around Asia for compensation for wartime suffering, companies are finding it harder to hide. Lawsuits are on the rise -- besides Kajima, four other companies are entangled in lawsuits over their wartime treatment of workers. And at least two other survivors' groups have organized and are threatening legal action.


The Japanese press, long reluctant to take on the heavy hitters of Japanese industry, has started to cover the issue. Conservative NHK, the national broadcasting company, picked the anniversary of Japan's surrender, Aug. 15, to run a documentary on Kajima and other companies facing demands for compensation. There's a wild card on the horizon too, one that could touch a raw nerve in Sino-Japanese relations. Spurred partly by the Kajima case, Japanese and Chinese historians are teaming up for the first time to investigate how the Imperial Army and Japanese companies exploited millions of laborers in China itself. That story is little known, even in China, where countless families can point to a relative who was forced into brutal servitude during the Japanese occupation. It's a story many Japanese companies would rather forget, for they -- not the military -- were the biggest consumers of slave labor.

There's not much debate about what happened at Hanaoka -- an Allied war crimes tribunal in Yokohama sentenced camp commander Ise Chitoku and two guards to hang in 1948 for atrocities committed at the camp. And Kajima apologized to survivors in 1990 and admitted it used kyosei rodo, or forced labor. Caught in a wartime labor crunch, Kajima sent 986 Chinese to work at the Hanaoka camp between August 1944 and June 1945. They were farmers, merchants, school teachers and even teenagers. Many were Communist guerrillas or soldiers from Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army. The youngest was a boy of 15.

With straw sandals on their feet and little more than buns and thin soup in their stomachs, men worked up to 15 hours a day in the freezing, snowy winter of northern Japan. Some dug trenches in frigid water to divert a river that flowed over a valuable copper-mining operation. Others struggled up steep slopes with 50-kg bags of cement on their backs. They had no days off. Men who tried to escape faced beatings and even torture.

Older men, like Zhao Yi, stood little chance of survival. "He hadn't done hard work before," says Zhao Manshan, 76, who now lives in a small farming community southwest of Beijing surrounded by his children and grandchildren. His father was an itinerant paper salesman when he was captured by the Japanese, Zhao says, "and his body couldn't handle it."

Driven to desperation, the Chinese started to plot an escape in the spring of 1945. The uprising was led by Geng Zhun, a former company commander in the Nationalist army. On the evening of June 30, a group of prisoners broke into the guard house and killed four soldiers with shovels and hoes. But the plan went awry when some guards escaped and sounded the alarm. The prisoners fled for the mountains. "We didn't know the mountain paths so it was slow going," says Geng, who at 82 still has the bearing and dignity of a military man. "We thought we could fight better from the high ground. But the Japanese knew the roads and they got there first."

Thus began the tragedy that would become known as the Hanaoka Incident. Police and local villagers rounded up all the prisoners over the next few days and took them to a square in Hanaoka village. There they were beaten and forced to kneel in the gravel, ramrod straight and hands bound behind their backs. Some men spent three days in the square under the blazing sun without food or water, Geng says. Others fared worse. Geng was among those who were tortured by police. About 100 men were killed in three days.

By the time U.S. Occupation troops discovered the site of the Kajima camp in early October 1945 -- almost two months after Japan's surrender -- more than 418 of the nearly 1,000 men sent to Hanaoka were dead. U.S. soldiers found dozens of skulls in a mass grave in the hills behind the camp. In a make-shift morgue, rotting corpses lay stuffed into wooden boxes too small to contain them. A photograph of gaunt survivors standing in front of the camp barracks echoes scenes of the German death camps that Allied troops had liberated in Europe a few months earlier.


After the war, most of the survivors returned to China. A small group stayed in Japan long enough to testify against Kajima at the war-crimes trial in Yokohama in 1947-48. Geng went back into the Nationalist army. In 1954, he returned to the tobacco country in Hebei province south of Beijing where he had grown up, and worked the land for the next three decades.

Scattered around the country, he and the other survivors lost track of each other -- until 1985, when a Chinese newspaper ran a story reprinted from a Japanese news report about a Hanaoka survivor living in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo. Geng wrote him a letter and went to Japan to meet him in 1987.

Wan Min, another survivor, also went back into the army after World War II, on the Communist side. He spent more than four decades in uniform, including a stint with Chinese forces facing off against U.S. troops during the Korean War. He hadn't even told his daughter about Hanaoka. Then in 1987 he came across a newspaper story about Geng's trip to Japan. "I couldn't believe he was still alive," Wan, 77, laughed in a recent interview over tea and slices of sweet watermelon in the living room of his daughter's modest apartment in Baoding, 150 km southwest of Beijing. "When we met, we couldn't recognize each other's faces. So we talked about what happened at the camp to confirm to each other who we were. I held his hands for a long time and we cried."

It was only the following year that Wan told his daughter, Hong, about Hanaoka for the first time. "It was such a hard experience for me," he says quietly. "I hadn't wanted to burden her with it." Wan talks more easily about the war years today. The images of life growing up in the 1930s in the dirt-poor northern farming village of Nanying are still vivid. He recalls carrying banners through town urging people to boycott Japanese imports like cotton and paper.

Some memories are harsher -- like the morning Japanese troops burst into the village and gunned down his pregnant first wife in front of his eyes. Today, his grandsons are more familiar with Michael Jackson and U.S. basketball stars than the world Wan grew up in. But they know about the war years and Hanaoka too. "We are not sure if we will see the end of this fight [against Kajima]," Wan says. "That is why we are passing it on to the children."

For Wan, Geng and the other plaintiffs, that fight has become a central focus of their lives. After putting together a support group in 1989 -- there are about 50 survivors today and 250 relatives of victims -- they approached Kajima for compensation and an expression of regret. Kajima vice-president Murakami Mitsuhara issued a "profound" apology in July 1990 and agreed to discuss paying compensation. The talks, though, soon bogged down. Another Kajima vice-president, Kawai Zenjiro, met Geng in Tokyo in 1994 and told him an apology doesn't mean the same thing in Japan as it does in China. "In China, the apology comes at the conclusion of talks," he said. "In Japan, we apologize first and then start talking."

In 1995, the Chinese survivors lost patience and sued. "I have the responsibility to do everything possible because I was the leader of the group," says Geng, seated in a study lined with books and calligraphy in his two-story home in Xiangcheng, a small town in the central province of Henan. "I must struggle for the rights of those who died at Hanaoka."

That means keeping up with lawyers' briefs and traveling to Tokyo, a tough trip at his age. Still, there is time to practice calligraphy -- some of his brushwork hangs in his study -- and read the Chinese poets and philosophers he loves. With close-cropped hair and a steady gaze, he remains a commanding presence. His face softens, though, as he talks about his six grandchildren -- Geng rises at 5:30 a.m. to make breakfast for a teenage granddaughter, who lives with him so she can attend a nearby high school. And he enjoys a drink with friends once in a while, mostly teachers who share his interest in the classics.

But if old age has brought its satisfactions, his mind returns constantly to what will likely be his last battle. His voice is still strong and steady but he gets pains in his head and neck from injuries suffered at Hanaoka. Increasingly, he worries he may not live to see the end of the trial. Geng no longer has the nightmares he suffered when he first came back to China, haunting images of the bodies of dead companions. But the memories of Hanaoka are still with him every day. Bitterness toward Kajima quickly floods his voice when he talks about the trial. "This is something that was written in blood," Geng says. For Kajima "not to recognize that, it makes me unbearably angry."

Kajima's camp at Hanaoka stands out for the appalling death rate and the cruelty meted out to its inmates. In the Yokohama war-crimes trials, prosecutors documented many cases in which prisoners were beaten so severely they died several days later. Hanaoka, though, was hardly the worst site. The death count was even higher at other forced-labor camps in Japan. And the brutal enslavement of foreigners occurred at hundreds of mines, factories and construction sites in Japan and in territory seized around Asia.

The notorious Siam-Burma railroad has come to symbolize the Japanese military's abuse of slave labor during the war. More than 60,000 Western prisoners-of-war labored to lay 400 km of track through mountains and dense, disease-infested jungles between Thailand and Burma. One in five POWs died. Yet Asian workers who laid track through the jungle fared even worse. Allied estimates put the death toll at more than 50% for the quarter million Asian slave laborers who worked on the line, according to Australian historian Gavin Daws. Japanese officers, steeped in an ideology that saw other Asian races as backward and inferior, treated Asian laborers as an expendable commodity, worth less even than white soldiers.


Similar attitudes could be found in the boardrooms of big corporations. They got into the slave-labor business in the late 1930s, when war with China created a labor crunch in the Japanese empire, scholars say. To meet soaring demand for workers in Japan, the government started to conscript men from the Korean peninsula, then a Japanese colony. From 1939 to 1945, Tokyo brought at least 750,000 Koreans to Japan to work as slave laborers, mostly in mines and construction sites. Another 3.3 million Koreans worked as captives on the Korean peninsula. Almost all of these Koreans served Japanese corporate masters, says Yamada Shoji, a history professor at Tokyo's Rikkyo University.

Corporations were just as hungry for labor in Manchuria, the northeast corner of China that Japan grabbed in 1931. So as Japanese troops pushed into northern China in the late 1930s, the army began what it euphemistically called "pacification" campaigns to seize workers for Manchuria's mines and factories. "At least 9 million northern Chinese and their families were coerced or tricked into going to Manchuria, where they were used as forced laborers," according to He Tianyi, a scholar who works for a government-run historical research institute in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. Prisoners were held in concentration camps, processed by bureaucrats, then handed over to Japanese companies in Manchuria -- for a fee.

Companies active in northeastern China, such as Kajima, were fully aware of what the army was up to, according to the lawsuit filed by the Hanaoka survivors. Not only did the construction industry "fully know about the recruitment situation, it actively encouraged the army's ´pacification' campaign as a way to increase the labor supply," writes Japanese lawyer Niimi Takashi.

How big was the slave market? The research needed to find out is just getting started, according to the handful of Chinese and Japanese academics studying the issue. Until recently, Chinese scholars didn't have the freedom to poke around in the past too much -- Beijing's priority was securing Japanese aid and investment. In Japan, the conservative Ministry of Education has focused on sanitizing the country's war record.

But the Kajima case has spurred contact between the two sides. Chinese and Japanese scholars held their first joint symposium on forced labor last year at the site of a wartime detention camp southwest of Beijing. The second meeting occurred last week in Osaka. Their work is shedding light on how Hanaoka fits into the bigger picture of Japan's wartime exploitation of foreign workers.

What is clear already is that Japan's use of foreign labor during the war may have matched Nazi Germany's, whose brutal exploitation of at least 10 million slave laborers is much better known. As in Japan, the bulk of these captives worked for companies. But German firms like Siemens, Krupp and Daimler-Benz have paid compensation to concentration camp survivors or organizations that aid them. They have also started to make wartime records public.

To be sure, not all German companies have made amends and millions of victims will never receive any money. Yet the contrast with Japan is striking. Most Japanese construction and mining companies won't even say if they used forced labor or not. The paperwork, they argue, was lost in the "confusion" at the end of the war. At least some companies are hiding records in their archives, scholars say. One reason Japanese firms never paid compensation is that China and other Asian countries just didn't have the economic clout to pick and choose which companies entered their markets after the war, says Sato Takeo, a historian at Takushoku University in Tokyo. Even today, Japanese companies are not extremely concerned about the possibility of an Asian boycott, Sato says. "The American market is more important."


The 1990s saw a surge of popular anger in Asia over Japan's wartime record. Former victims, like the women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army, started to speak out and demand redress. Many took their fight to Japanese courts, including the Hanaoka survivors and a handful of former forced laborers. Koreans forced to work at Nippon Steel, the world's biggest steelmaker, and NKK Corp., another large steelmaker, are suing. Heavy-equipment maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. faces two suits. Another group of Chinese forced to work for Nishimatsu Construction Co. in Hiroshima have asked for compensation and may take legal action against the company. And more than 70 Chinese former slave laborers are considering suing 12 mining and construction firms after talks stalled in September, according to Watanabe Shogo, one of their lawyers. The companies "are fleeing the problem," Watanabe says. The Chinese might even take their case to the U.N. instead of suing, he says, since the Japanese justice system moves so slowly.

For their part, the companies maintain they paid salaries to their workers. Furthermore, Nippon Steel says it has no legal ties to its wartime predecessor, which was split into separate companies under the U.S. occupation, then regrouped later. The other companies say they can't comment on the cases. Kajima declined to answer any questions for this story.

A clear indication of how Japan's conservative courts view the issue of corporate responsibility came in July, when a court in Toyama prefecture handed down the first ruling in a case involving a Japanese company. The court recognized that bearing and machine-tool maker Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp. had tricked three young Koreans into working at its factory in central Japan, then didn't pay them. But the judge ruled that the statute of limitations had run out on the crime, one of the arguments that Kajima's lawyers are using. That didn't entirely satisfy Nachi-Fujikoshi. "Why is something that happened 50 years ago being brought up now?" Otsuka Yasuo, a Nachi-Fujikoshi managing director, asked querulously at a press conference after the ruling. "This has caused the company a lot of trouble."

That much could certainly be said of the Hanaoka suit. Japan's top construction company has been forced to air its dirty linen in a public courtroom. And while there's no sign the publicity surrounding the case will cost Kajima business in Japan, it can hardly be welcome news for a company whose reputation was damaged by a 1993 bribery scandal. Former Kajima vice-president Kiyoyama Shinji is still on trial. In California, where Kajima is active, its image has taken an even worse beating.

The lawsuit has brought Kajima unwelcome publicity in China as well, according to Fu Bo, a Chinese scholar who has interviewed dozens of forced laborers in southern Manchuria. "Now it's known around the world that these companies didn't pay compensation," he says. Fu believes the trial had a "huge impact" on former slave laborers still alive today. Some victims even suggested setting up a group to sue the Japanese government, although "looking at how long Kajima has taken, it seems difficult." The bottom line, Fu says, is to find out what really happened during the war, not to extract money from large corporations: "No amount of compensation, however high, would be enough."


-- Donald Macintyre is a Tokyo-based reporter
 for Bloomberg Business News


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Japan's Ruling Party Endorses Official Visits to War Criminal Shrine

(1/10/96)

TOKYO (Reuter) - Japan's biggest political party has unveiled a nationalistic election platform that is more likely to ignite anger among Tokyo's Asian neighbors than win many votes at home.

South Korea denounced the platform Tuesday, within hours of its announcement.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), headed by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, announced late Monday an election pledge to assert Japan's claims to two groups of small islands.

The nationalist platform for the general election later this month was issued at a time when Japan is locked in a bitter dispute over a group of islands with China and Taiwan in which one activist from Hong Kong died last week.

A second plank endorses official visits by Japanese Cabinet ministers to a controversial Tokyo shrine for Japanese war dead -- a perennial sore spot in Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors.

South Korea accused the LDP of acting irresponsibly by including in its party platform an assertion of sovereignty over the islands also claimed by Seoul, saying "we will by no means forgive this."

A South Korean Foreign Ministry statement also denounced the LDP's decision to adopt in the general election platform a controversial call for official Cabinet minister visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine.

Analysts said the LDP, desperate to garner as many votes as possible in the Oct. 20 general elections, bowed to pressure from nationalist groups including right-wingers, hawkish politicians and war veterans.

"This could provoke anger among Asian countries and put Japan in serious confrontation with such countries as China, South Korea and so on," political analyst Minoru Morita said, adding that the move was unlikely to be a big vote winner.

"With the exception of some nationalists, the general public will not be enchanted by the election pledges," he said.

The platform says a group of East China Sea islands known to the Japanese as the Senkakus and to the Chinese as the Diaoyus are "territories native to Japan" and therefore no territorial dispute exists between Japan and China.

Japan has claimed the islands since victory in a war against imperial China in 1895. Beijing says its claim, shared by political rival Taipei, dates back centuries.

A long-dormant dispute over the islands erupted in July after Japanese right-wingers erected a makeshift lighthouse on one of the islands.

The LDP platform also asserts Japan's claim to another group of small rocky islets, known as Takeshima in Japan and Tokdo in Korea. Seoul and Tokyo have remained on a collision course over the ownership of the islands in the Sea of Japan.

Tokyo has claimed the islands since 1905 when it signed an agreement with Korea that paved the way for 35 years of brutal colonial rule. Korea insists its claims to the island date back to 512.

Earlier this year, Japan's decision to declare a 200-mile economic zone around its shores sparked a sudden outbreak of disputes with South Korea over territorial claims.

In addition to the territorial dispute, the endorsement of official visits by Cabinet ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine could rekindle widespread fear and furor among Tokyo's neighbors and wartime adversaries.

In late July Hashimoto became the first Japanese prime minister since 1985 to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.6 million Japanese killed in wars since the last century and enshrines the remains of war criminals.

Tokai University political analyst Rei Shiratori said the LDP came up with the nationalist platform as a result of its attempt to differentiate itself from other political parties.

"But that would not work as a big boost for the LDP, although it may help a little," he said.

Commenting on the LDP's platform, Hashimoto said that the Japanese government would not take "extreme" diplomatic steps over the island disputes.

Before taking office in January, Hashimoto himself served as the chairman of the powerful Japan Association for the Bereaved Families of the War Dead, which is sharply critical of actions -- such as a 1995 parliamentary war apology -- it deems insulting to the country's war dead.


Petition Urges U.N. Members to Reject Seating Japan at Security Council

(30/9/96)

On behalf its worldwide member organizations, the Global Alliance is sending a letter to each and every ambassador of the members of the United Nations, urging them to reject Japan's application for a permanent seat at the Security Council.

The letter will be delivered to the ambassadors in New York City this week. It will be accompanied with a brief summary of Japan's unrepentant attitude towards its countless war crimes, its continuing distortion of history, and highlights of the gruesome atrocities committed by the Japanese military during its 14-year aggression against China. The letter calls for international attention to the recent Japanese invasion of Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.

The Global Alliance also provided each of the diplomats at the U.N. with a copy of the newly released book, "The Rape of Nanking: An Undeniable History in Photographs," for reference. The 400-page book contains nearly 600 historic pictures of Japanese brutalities.

Petitions against Japan's U.N. application, signed by tens of thousands of individuals, will be sent to the U.N. Secretary-General, ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council, and leaders in the U.S. Administration and Congress.

Representatives of the Global Alliance and the Alliance for Preserving the Truth of Sino-Japanese War will join others from major cities throughout the U.S. and Canada in a day-long strategic planning meeting and a press conference held in New York later this week. Meeting participants will develop a long-term plan for the defense of Diaoyutai Islands by the grass-roots movement throughout the world.

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 13:26:05 -0700
From: Ignatius Ding


China To Japan: Back Off Claim

(Monday, September 30, 1996 1:37 pm EDT)
By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese Premier Li Peng demanded Monday that Japan back off its claim to a group of contested islets lest relations between the countries deteriorate further.

Li's were the highest-level criticisms voiced by Beijing since the decades-old dispute reignited in July. He made them in his a National Day address; Japan was the only country singled out for condemnation.

The premier said China would not be pressured into relinquishing its claim to the Diaoyu islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan.

``No action that hurts the feelings of the Chinese people will get anywhere,'' Li told Chinese officials and foreign diplomats as applause filled a cavernous banquet room in the Great Hall of the People.

Protecting Chinese territory -- an objective of Communist Party rule since Mao Tse-tung established the People's Republic of China 47 years ago Tuesday -- featured prominently in the speech.

``In the cause of safeguarding state sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, we have upheld principles, withstood pressure and waged justifiable and restrained struggle when the time is right, which has yielded significant results,'' Li said.

Immediately after that defense, Li warned Japan over the Diaoyu islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan.

Japanese nationalists erected a lighthouse on the first of several missions to the islands in July, inflaming passions in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as China. Hong Kong and Taiwanese protesters have sent ships to the islands, only to be chased away by Japanese patrols.

``Recently a tiny handful of right-wingers and militarists in Japan have created a series of incidents which have interfered with and undermined Sino-Japanese relations,'' Li said.

He called on Tokyo to safeguard overall relations by abiding by previous accords.

Beijing has been at pains to appear as nationalistic as the anti-Japanese protesters without offending Japan, its largest creditor, and without giving in to calls to send in the Chinese navy.

Tensions between Tokyo and Beijing are unlikely to ease soon.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's party platform for Oct. 20 parliamentary elections calls on Cabinet ministers to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, a party official said Monday.

The shrine honors war dead, including war criminals from World War II. Hashimoto prayed there in July, an act Beijing said encouraged the right-wing nationalists to make forays to the islands.

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 17:50:45 -0700
From: Ignatius Ding


Protest Leader Died in Diaoyutai

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 11:10:35 -0700

(Hong Kong - Reuter) A Hong Kong activist leader drowned in the East China Sea on Thursday after leaping off a ship in protest against Japanese claims to sovereignty of a disputed group of islands.

David Chan's death was the first in almost two months of protests that have swept Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Macau since Japanese rightwing extremists built a lighthouse and raised Japanese flags on the islands.

Chan's comrades hugged each other and wept aboard the protest ship Kien Hwa 2 after two Japanese doctors boarded the vessel and pronounced him dead, reporters on the scene told Hong Kong television news channels.

The Maritime Safety Agency in Tokyo confirmed Chan's death.

In Hong Kong, the government appealed for calm.

``This has been distressing for us ... I urge the community to react to this development in ... an orderly and responsible manner,'' Home Affairs Secretary Michael Suen said in a statement.

Five of the 18 protesters on board had leapt into the water, a television report from the tanker said. Another activist in the group of 18 was injured taken by a Japanese helicopter to hospital in Okinawa.

``They want to demonstrate to the Japanese that Chinese have the right to do whatever they want to do, including swimming in Chinese waters,'' a Hong Kong reporter on the ship said.

The tanker, anchored very close to the islands, was surrounded by 20 Japanese vessels, with five planes and a helicopter flying overhead, he said.

Earlier in the day, stormy seas had forced the protest ship to abandon efforts to land.

``Everybody is extremely sad, thinking about the whole issue. Some are crying and holding onto each other,'' the reporter said.

The Kien Hwa 2 was carrying 18 protesters, 19 crew and 42 reporters.

The rusty tanker had set sail from Hong Kong on Sunday to join a campaign to force Japan to give up the islands known in Japanese as the Senkakus and in Chinese as the Diaoyus.

The plan was to rip down the lighthouse and Japanese flags and plant a People's Republic of China red communist flag there, claiming the islands as Chinese sovereign territory.

Five vessels which had set sail from Taiwan were repulsed by Japanese police boats on Monday.

Japan has kept a low profile in the dispute but has been firm in its stance that the islands are Japanese.

From: Ignatius Ding
Hong Kong Standard


Chinese urged the government to send troops to Diaoyutai isles

(02/09/1996)

By Antoine So and agencies

A GROUP of 257 civilians in Beijing on Sunday demanded that authorities send troops to the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, currently at the centre of a territorial row with Japan.

The demand came as more Hong Kong people signed up for an expedition to the disputed islands. Led by Democratic Party legislator Tsang Kin-shing, the 20-plus volunteers want to go to the island to demolish a lighthouse built by the Japanese.

But they have neither found a sponsor nor decided on the means of getting to the islands.

In Beijing the signatories of the letter declared: ``We, residents of Beijing and Tianjin, would like to express our . . . strong opposition to the occupation of the Diaoyu islands by Japan.''

The long-simmering issue of the islands, called Senkaku in Japan, flared up last week when Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda said the islands were an indisputable part of Japanese territory.

His comments were described by China as "most irresponsible''.

Japanese right-wingers have also planted a flag and erected a war memorial and a lighthouse on the islands.

The letter, addressed to President Jiang Zemin who heads the Central Military Commission demanded that Beijing Ďsend the navy to remove the lighthouse and all structures put up by the Japanese group.''

The letter was also addressed to two vice-presidents of the military commission, General Liu Huaqing and General Zhang Zhen.

The group also asked that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) should also ``support any action by civilian organisations in Taiwan or Hong Kong which go to Diaoyu'' to dismantle the structures.

The barren islands, 102 nautical miles from Taiwan and 240 nautical miles from Okinawa, are believed to contain rich oil and gas reserves and are also claimed by Taiwan.

One of the signatories, Tong Zeng, who leads a group trying to secure compensation for victims of Japan during World War II, said the letter had been signed by people from all walks of life, including ``Communist Party members and retired military figures.''

``We have opinion behind us,'' said Mr Tong, who was questioned briefly last year in connection with his activities.

But authorities would not try to stop him this time, he added.

In Hong Kong the idea of sailing to the islands followed a string of vigorous protests during the two-day visit by Mr Ikeda last week.

Mr Tsang said that the group expected more people would sign up later for the trip.

Mr Tsang appealed again to shipping magnate Tung Chee-hwa to sponsor the trip.

``As a Chinese and a shipping magnate, he will be the most suitable to sponsor our trip. If he is patriotic enough, he should lend us a ship to go and demolish the illegitimate lighthouse on our island,'' Mr Tsang said.

Mr Tung is a Preparatory Committee member who has been widely tipped to be named Hong Kong's first chief executive next year.

Mr Tsang said the group would formally request his sponsorship when he returned from a trip to Panyu, south of Guangzhou, later this week.

But a spokesman for Mr Tung's company, Orient Overseas International, has already ruled it out.

Mr Tsang said he was also prepared to call on another shipping magnate, Peter Wong Man-kong, the managing director of Chung Wah Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd.

Hong Kong Standard


Japan shot Taiwan fishing boat near Diaoyutai islands

(02/09/1996)

By Wu Zhong

SOME Taipei county legislators plan to sail to the Diaoyu Islands to "defend the territory'' after a Taiwanese fishing boat was intercepted and shot at by a Japanese warship near the disputed isles on Friday.

The mass-circulation China Times daily reported that the charter boat was carrying nine fishermen when it was attacked in international waters.

Taiwan's Suao fishermen's association condemned the Japanese action as an act of piracy.

It said it was considering leading a delegation of fishermen to Tokyo to lodge a protest.

Some Taipei county legislators pledged to rent boats to sail to the islands to ``defend the territory'', the newspaper said.

The incident occurred after Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda reasserted Japan's sovereignty over the islands in remarks made in Hong Kong last week, igniting criticism from Chinese officials.

The Japanese warship ordered the Taiwanese fishing boat to stop for investigation, the Chinese-language newspaper quoted its captain, Chiang Hsi-ling, as saying.

Fearing his boat might be damaged if it sailed too close to the warship, Mr Chiang stopped the engine but rejected a Japanese request to come nearer.

Five minutes later the Japanese ship fired a shot and sped up to catch the fishing boat.

Then it fired another shot demanding the it stop, Mr Chiang said.

Two men in uniforms jumped aboard the fishing boat and ordered Mr Chiang to come aboard for a talk.

The Japanese showed Mr Chiang a map on which a yellow line was drawn between Taiwan and the islands, warning the Taiwanese not to breach the borders they had drawn.

The Japanese threatened that they would arrest anyone who did, Mr Chiang said.

They also asked Mr Chiang to warn the Taiwanese government and other fishermen about the dangers of breaching the boundaries.

After more than an hour of interrogation, the Huayang finally was allowed to sail back to Taiwan.

The Diaoyu Islands are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

They are about 400 kilometres southwest of Japan's Okinawa and the same distance east of the Chinese mainland.

They are about 180km northeast of Taiwan.

The Suao fishermen association, condemning the Japanese as ``pirates'', demanded the Taiwanese government lodge a formal protest to Tokyo.

The opposition New Party's Taipei county legislator Ching Kai-shou said he had already made an application to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allow him to travel to the Diaoyu Islands on 25 September.

He would rent a boat carrying a giant Taiwan national flag and stay on the islands to defend the territory and mark the 51th anniversary of Japanese returning Taiwan to China.

Meanwhile, China's Xinhua News Agency issued a statement at the weekend denouncing Japan's coveting of the islands.

"Prior to the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War, Japan had never questioned China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands,'' Xinhua said.

In a long historical argument, Xinhua said Japan's ambition to occupy the Diaoyu Islands and its "provocative activities of wantonly trampling on China's sovereignty'' for years "have been sternly condemned by the Chinese government and the Chinese media''.

"Japan will face no good outcome if it goes on to act willfully,'' the statement said.

Hong Kong Standard


Japan giving a "green light'' to right-wing groups interested in reviving militarism and claiming disputed territories

(31/8/96)

BEIJING (AP) China accused the Japanese government Thursday of giving a ``green light'' to right-wing groups interested in reviving militarism and claiming disputed territories.

China's denunciation was the latest in a month of furious reactions to behavior by Japanese politicians that has revived sensitive memories of World War II.

It was touched off Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda's remarks in Hong Kong on Wednesday, reasserting Japan's sovereignty over the Senkaku islands.

China and Taiwan both maintain the islands known as Diaoyutai in Chinese are their territory. The islands are about 250 miles southwest of Japan's Okinawa and the same distance from the Chinese mainland. They are about 110 miles northeast of Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang called Ikeda's remarks ``irresponsible.''

He noted that right-wing Japanese groups have landed on the islands in recent months. One group set up a monument to World War II dead and raised a Japanese flag last week. Another erected a 16 -foot-tall aluminum lighthouse in July.

``We believe those remarks or actions have directly to do with the stance of the Japanese government,'' Shen said.

Shen listed Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine to pray for Japan's war dead, including executed war criminals, on July 29; the visit by five members of Hashimoto's Cabinet to the shrine on August 15; and remarks by politicians calling accounts of Japan's brutal capture of the Chinese city of Nanking in 1937 a hoax.

``All these added up to giving a green light to these actions and remarks of the Japanese right-wing groups,'' Shen said.

Shen said the Japanese pledged to renounce its militaristic past when Tokyo and Beijing reestablished diplomatic ties in 1972.

``Twenty-four years later, Japan has failed to arrive at what is a right understanding of history,'' Shen said. ``The Japanese government therefore should have a sober-minded perspective and clear understanding as regards this issue. Otherwise Sino-Japanese relations would be seriously affected.''

Beijing frequently criticizes Japan for not being sufficiently apologetic about its 1937-45 occupation of much of China. North and South Korea and Southeast Asian countries have also taken Japan to task for the recent actions.


Japanese Foreign Minister Ikeda on run from Hong Kong protesters

(29/08/1996)
By Marylois Chan
Reparation Association members march on the consulate.

JAPANESE Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda refused to receive a petition from Hong Kong protesters seeking compensation for Japanese war crimes in Hong Kong in a stormy start to his two-day visit on Wednesday.

He first dodged a phalanx of 30 banner-waving protesters at the airport when he arrived at about 10.55 am, by driving out of another gate.

Mr Ikeda had to cancel a visit to the Japanese Consulate in Central at noon, when another group of protesters were waiting for him with a petition calling for a Japanese apology and reparation.

No less successful were a rowdy group of protesters who waited for more than two hours in vain on Wednesday afternoon outside the Central Government Offices for a glimpse of the visiting minister.

A group of protesters maintained an overnight vigil at the Island Shangri-La hotel in Queensway, where Mr Ikeda was staying.

Mr Ikeda's visit, the first by a Japanese minister since Taro Nakayama in 1989, came amidst recent protests demanding Japan compensates women forced into sex slavery during the war, and holders of now worthless Japanese occupation military scrip and currency.

``Our position is that Japan has addressed this issue in good faith in accordance with the San Francisco Peace Treaty,'' Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ken Shimanouchi said on Wednesday.

``This issue is legally settled between Japan and Great Britain.''

Thirty protesters at Kai Tak airport were already chanting slogans opposing Japan's claim on the Diaoyu islands and against what they called the revival of militarism in Japan at about 10.35 am on Wednesday near the airport's gate No 1. But Mr Ikeda left by gate No 5.

More than 300 members of the Reparation Association and their supporters gathered in Chater Gardens on Wednesday morning, stomping on cardboard effigies of Japan's World War II prime minister General Hideki Tojo and the late Emperor Hirohito before marching to the Japanese Consulate.

At the Central Government Offices in the afternoon, Mr Ikeda was forced to enter by a back door to meet Acting Governor Anson Chan Fang On-sang, as angry legislators exchanged heated words with security staff and police.

Protesters were further provoked when a consulate staff member was sent to face them.

Climbing over the picket fence, Democratic Party legislator Tsang Kin-shing shouted: "We will not give the letter to a subordinate.''

But Mr Ikeda eluded them again with a decoy set up shortly before 4 pm.

The foreign minister's car and envoy waited as a stream of Japanese officials hurried past the rally.

Legislator Lau Chin-shek, who also climbed over the fence, threw the petition into the officials' car believing Mr Ikeda was inside.

The protesters were dismayed when it emerged that he had slipped out by another exit.
Hong Kong Standard


Japan refuses to pay official reparations to former sex slaves

[World News], 07/31/96 - 12:04 PM ET By The Associated Press

TOKYO - Women forced into sexual slavery by Japan's wartime military are refusing money from a pool of private donations, but a fund organizer said Wednesday that there is hope they will change their minds.

The victims are demanding official government compensation, which Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and other Japanese leaders have flatly refused.

The private Asian Women's Fund, organized by the government in an apparent attempt to avoid further demands for government compensation, planned to offer each of 300 recognized surviving victims 2 million yen - $18,600 - by the Aug. 15 anniversary of the end of the war.

But the women and their support groups in the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea have rejected the fund's recent proposal to send delegations in early August to work out the details of the payment, a fund official said on condition of anonymity.

The Asian Women's Fund was set up under the administration of former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama a year ago. But it has suffered from a lack of Japanese donors, and from anger on the part of the victims, who say it is an attempt to substitute charity for official restitution.

Several former sex slaves in the Philippines have privately shown interest in receiving the private payments in addition to government compensation, but the victims' groups they belong to reject the idea, the fund official said.

The fund official said the delegations would be postponed indefinitely, and the fund has no immediate prospects to break the deadlock.

As of Wednesday, the fund had raised only $3.9 million, less than half of the minimum initial target.

The fund will also set aside $6.5 million in medical and welfare projects over the next 10 years, to be paid by the government. But that money will not directly reach individual victims.

In a desperate effort to keep the fund alive, Murayama visited its office on Tuesday and donated 1 million yen - $9,300. The same day, three former Korean sex slaves went there to reiterate their refusal to accept a substitute for official compensation.

Wednesday, the fund established a committee to continue seeking dialogue with the groups, but the official said none of the victims' support groups, which the fund had hoped would act as its local liaisons, is willing to cooperate.

Hashimoto's trip to a Shinto shrine on Monday to pray for Japanese war dead - including war criminals enshrined there - encouraged the women to harden their attitude toward the fund even more.

Historians estimate as many as 200,000 Asian women, mostly Koreans, were forced into military-run brothels for Japanese Imperial Army troops during World War II. Others were from China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Burma and the Philippines.

The Japanese government has repeatedly refused to give direct compensation or a clearly-worded apology to individuals, saying postwar reparations treaties have settled the issue.
Posted by Ignatius Ding Date: Wed, 31 Jul 1996 17:10:24 -0700


China Conducts Its Final Nuclear Test

[CND, 30/7/96] China conducted its 45th nuclear test Monday, saying it would be its last, just hours before the resumption of negotiations in Geneva to conclude a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT).

"The Chinese government hereby solemnly declares it will start a moratorium on nuclear testing effective from July 30, 1996," Beijing said in a statement released after the test at the Lop Nor site in western China, Reuters reported.

"Such an important decision by China is not only a response to the appeal of the vast number of non-nuclear weapon states, but also a concrete action to promote nuclear disarmament," it said.

The statement appealed to major nuclear weapon states to abandon the policy of nuclear deterrence, drastically reduce nuclear stockpiles and conclude international agreements renouncing first-strike capabilities and committing them not to strike or threaten non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear-weapon free zones.

It also called on nuclear weapon states to recall all nuclear weapons outside their borders and to refrain from developing or deploying space weapon systems or missile defense systems "undermining strategic security and stability."

The White House regretted the underground nuclear test but welcomed Beijing's announcement that it would abide by a moratorium on such testing starting on Tuesday.

"The United States regrets the underground nuclear test conducted by China last night but welcomes its announcement that it will now abide by a moratorium on nuclear testing effective July 30, 1996," the White House said.

France, which provoked global protest with its own final series of nuclear tests, hailed China's announcement that it had stopped testing but made no mention of Monday's blast.

Australia called in China's ambassador in Canberra to protest against the test.

"I told the Chinese ambassador that Australia deeply regretted the decision by the Chinese government to proceed with the nuclear test," Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told reporters.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger said the Chinese test was particularly disappointing because it had occurred the same day the CTBT negotiations resumed in Geneva.

Five Greenpeace protesters briefly occupied the Chinese embassy there Tuesday while Chinese Ambassador Huang Guifang was receiving New Zealand's protest against China's latest nuclear test.

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said he hoped China had conducted its last nuclear test. "There is nothing else to say except that I really hope this is the last one," Hashimoto told reporters. "Especially at a time when (the international community) is trying to persuade India to join in the CTBT."

"China's name will go down in history as the nation which conducted nuclear tests right up to the end," said a statement a Japanese anti-nuclear group. (Liedong ZHENG)


Japan PM Visits Controversial War Shrine

TOKYO (Reuter) - Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto Monday visited a controversial shrine to the nation's war dead, including executed war criminals, breaking a decade-long taboo on Japanese leaders visiting the site.

In a surprise move that risked angering China, the United States and other nations that were victims of Japan's World War Two actions, Hashimoto declared the time had come for Japan to stop apologising for honouring its war dead.

Hashimoto brushed aside suggestions that it was inappropriate for him as prime minister to visit Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where 2.6 million Japanese who died in warfare since the 19th century are honoured.

``Why should it matter any more?'' Hashimoto told reporters. ``Surely it's time to stop letting that sort of thing complicate our international relations.''

A controversy erupted in the mid-1980s over politicians visiting the memorial when it was disclosed that the Shinto place of worship also enshrined the remains of executed World War Two criminals, including wartime Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo.

Some families have protested against the enshrining of Tojo and other war leaders, saying their spirits had no place among soldiers who were ordered to die on the battlefields.

But others have said there should be no distinction between those who died in battle and those executed for war crimes.

When Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone made an ``official'' visit to the shrine in 1985, China, South Korea, North Korea and other countries angrily protested.

Since then, no prime minister had visited Yasukuni.

Hashimoto's brief visit was not listed in his daily schedule and he refused to say in what capacity he made the visit. Asked why he visited the shrine on this day, Hashimoto, 59, replied it was his birthday.

``I am not going to reply whether I went there in an official or private capacity,'' Hashimoto said. But he said he signed the shrine visitors book as ``Ryutaro Hashimoto, prime minister.''

It was not the first time the right-wing Hashimoto has flirted with controversy over World War Two.

In October 1994 he set off a furore by saying in parliament that while Japan turned the Pacific into a war zone, its fight was not against Asian nations but against ``the United States, England and others.''

The most-closely watched day for visits to the shrine is August 15, the date of Japan's World War Two surrender.

Before becoming prime minister early this year, Hashimoto paid regular visits to the shrine, including on August 15, in his capacity as head of the Japan Bereaved Families of War Veterans Association.

Hashimoto said that by visiting on Monday, he had avoided making the pilgrimage on the August 15 anniversary.

``I'm also thinking of going on the day I got word of the death of my cousin in the war,'' Hashimoto said.

Shinto, Japan's ancient animistic religion, was the state religion until 1945, with the emperor as its spiritual head.

Some political analysts were surprised Hashimoto chose to visit the shrine in the midst of a row about how much compensation Japan should pay to so-called ``Comfort Women.''

They were non-Japanese women forced to work in brothels for Japanese soldiers in World War Two.

But other analysts said that, with speculation rife about a possible general election before the end of the year, Hashimoto's visit was a way of avoiding alienating voters on either side of the fence on the war issue.

They said his visit to the shrine showed respect for the war dead without triggering the liberal backlash that would have followed a visit to the shrine on August 15.

Tokyo P.M. Visits Shrine
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visited a controversial shrine for Japan's war dead Monday, the first serving Japanese leader to do so in more than a decade.

Visits by Japanese officials to the Yasukuni Shrine are highly sensitive because World War II war criminals also are enshrined there. Paying homage to them is seen by critics as a defense of Japan's wartime aggression.

"Why should it matter any more?" Hashimoto told Kyodo News at the shrine. "It's time to stop letting that sort of thing complicate our international relations."

The last official visit by a serving prime minister to the shrine was by Yasuhiro Nakasone on Aug. 15, 1985, the 40th anniversary of the Japanese surrender. The visit sparked protests from Asian countries, including a series of student demonstrations in China.

China was quick to denounce Hashimoto's visit Monday.

"The way Prime Minister Hashimoto worshipped hurt the feelings of all the people from every country including China which suffered under the hands of Japanese militarists," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai in comments reported on state-run television.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry, however, issued a restrained statement that avoided direct criticism of Hashimoto.

Hashimoto has hawkish views on Japan's wartime role. He headed Japan's largest organization for families of World War II dead until last year, and stirred controversy two years ago when he refused to call Japan's wartime actions "aggression."

Kyodo said Hashimoto chose Monday for the visit because it was his 59th birthday.

Hashimoto said it was "ridiculous" to ask whether he was visiting as a private citizen or in his official capacity," Kyodo reported.

"I've always written my official title," Hashimoto said about his signature in the visitors' log. "When I am prime minister, I write `prime minister."'

Hashimoto's private office said questions about the visit should be handled by the prime minister's office. That office, however, would not comment on the visit and said it was not included in his official schedule. Shrine officials, however, confirmed his appearance.

"We strongly protest this `official visit' by Prime Minister Hashimoto, which glorifies war and praises the war dead as `heroic spirits,"' said Takemitsu Ogawa, the head of a pacifist group of war victims' families.

The visit could trouble Japan's relations with Asian neighbors at a time when it is facing criticism for refusing to provide official direct compensation to women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops during the war. The government wants the victims to accept one-time consolation money through a private fund.
From: Ignatius Ding. Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 11:51:41 -0700

[CND, 07/30/96] Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on Monday, the Japan Times reported. Yasukuni Shrine honors Japan's war dead as well as convicted war criminals. Hashimoto becomes the first serving prime minister to do so since Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1985.

Asked by reporters how he characterized the visit in view of repeated protests from South Korea and China over prime ministerial visits to the shrine, Hashimoto said, "Why should it matter anymore? ... surely it's time to stop letting that sort of thing complicate our international relations."

Hashimoto, 59, said he has been visiting Yasukuni because it is where friends who died in the war are enshrined. The prime minister said he chose Monday - his birthday - for the visit to show it was a private one. He said he avoided visiting on the Aug. 15 anniversary of the end of the war and on days when the shrine celebrates its spring and fall festivals.

Asked in what capacity he had signed to the shrine visitors book, Hashimoto said that the question was "ridiculous" and that he had been true to his own feelings in going. "I've always written in my status at the time," he said. "When I am prime minister, I write 'prime minister.'"

Hashimoto's visit draws immediate criticism from China. "The way Prime Minister Hashimoto worshipped hurt the feelings of all the people from every country including China which suffered under the hands of Japanese militarists," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cue Tinker in comments reported on state-run television. (Dan)


Japan Assured China of Dismantling Lighthouse on Diaoyutai

[CND, 07/24/96] Japan has assured China it will dismantle a lighthouse built by right-wing extremists on Diaoyutai Island, a senior Chinese official said on Tuesday. "We think the Japanese side will now take the actions that will complete this issue and that will include the dismantling of the light tower, " Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Shen Guofang told reporters during the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Jakarta. (Daluo Jia)


Japanese Right-wing Group Built a 5 meters High Lighthouse on Diaoyudai

CND, July 22 - A Japanese right-wing group built a lighthouse five meters (16 fee) high on Tiaoyudai, an East China Sea island claimed by Tokyo, Beijing and Taiwan, on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
China immediately denounced the construction of the lighthouse on the disputed island and urged the Japanese government to immediately remove it.
"The building of facilities on the islands by some Japanese without authorization constitutes a serious encroachment on China's territorial sovereignty," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai told a news briefing in Beijing.
At the same time, Taiwan also lodged an angry protest with Japan over the construction of the lighthouse.
"Taiwan's representative in Japan has expressed the government's grave concern to the Japanese government over the matter," Taiwan's state radio quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying.
Delegates from Taiwan's National Assembly planned to pass a resolution to confirm Taiwan's territorial claim.
"We should pass the resolution to declare our sovereignty over Diaoyutai Islands to Japan as well as the international society," National Assembly member Liu Ming-lung said on state television.
On Saturday, a group of Taiwanese fishermen decided to dispatch more than 200 boats and raise Taiwan's flag on Tiaoyutai Island to underline Taiwan's territorial claim to the isles, the China Times Daily reported. The protest is scheduled to take place between July 28 and Aug. 3. (Forwarded by Liedong ZHENG)


Japan wary as China builds military might

By RUSSELL SKELTON, Herald Correspondent in Tokyo July 22, 1996
China is continuing to build up its military power in north-east Asia, while Russia is drastically scaling back its forces, according to the influential Japan National Defence Agency.

The agency's 1996 White Paper claims that China should be "watched", and noted that military spending jumped 11 per cent last year despite Beijing's declared policy of giving priority to domestic economic development.

"The situation must be watched with caution in view of China's promotion of nuclear weapons, modernisation of its navy and air force, and the expansion of its scope of activities," the paper says.

The paper estimates that China's military spending has grown by 10 per cent a year for the past eight years, and predicts that "military modernisation will proceed gradually", especially in regard to naval and air power.

Release of the White Paper comes as tensions between Japan and China are increasing again over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Both countries claim sovereignty over them.

At the weekend, Taiwan and China condemned an attempt by Japanese right-wing extremists to build a makeshift five-metre lighthouse on one of the disputed islands. "The Diaoyu Islands (the name given to the islands by China) have been Chinese territory since ancient times," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mr Cui Tiankai, said.

"The building of facilities on the islands by some Japanese without authorisation constitutes a serious encroachment on China's territorial sovereignty."

Japan has ignored the protests and refused to have the lighthouse removed.

The islands are situated north-east of Taiwan and have long been contested by Beijing, Taipei and Tokyo. Japan was handed control of the islands in 1972 by the United States, which administered them after World War II. Meanwhile, Japan's White Paper softened its assessment of the threat posed to regional security by Russia. The paper notes that the Russian military is no longer an "unstable factor" and records that its forces have fallen in number.

Russia's combat forces in north Asia have fallen from 390,000 to 190,000, the number of aircraft from 2,500 to 900 and naval strength from 840 ships to 660 ships. The paper says that while the reduction in Russian forces is a welcome sign, a number of "opaque and uncertain factors" remain in the area.

The report cites the situation in North Korea for particular concern and a potential source of instability with its reported development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan.

But the paper estimates that while the number of combat troops in North Korea has grown from 750,000 to more than a million since 1989, the number of combat aircraft has dropped from 770 to 590.

According to the paper, Japan's standing army has decreased slightly since 1989 while naval strength has remained constant at about 160 ships and air power has increased by around 20 per cent. Japan maintains 156,000 troops and more than 520 combat planes.
Sydney Morning Herald - Daily News


Former Chinese Sex Slaves Testified in Japanese Court

21/7/96
[CND, 07/21/96] Two Chinese women, Liu Mianhuan, 69, and Li Xiumei, 68, forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels testified in the Tokyo District Court last Friday about their ordeal in the wartime. They have filed a law suit against the Japanese government for compensation over their forced recruitment as so-called "comfort women" for Japanese Imperial Army soldiers. Liu and Li are the first among the former Chinese sex salves testified in a Japanese court. (Daluo JIA, DAN)


Koreans Not Satisfied with Hashimoto's Apology

(25/6/96)

By Chon Shi-yong Staff reporter
In a symbolic finale, President Kim Young-sam and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto autographed an exchanged soccer balls at the end of their post-summit news conference on Cheju Island Sunday. Pictures of the scene were splashed on front pages of many South Korean newspapers reporting what was termed a ``soccer summit.''

But for those who opted the term to ridicule the outstanding lack at the summit of substantive discussions about pending bilateral issues, the Kim-Hashimoto talks were a failure:

Hashimoto's apology for Japan's past misdeeds did not differ much from any such statement made by a Japanese leader in the past; he and Kim did not seek out a conclusion to the World War II army sex slaves problem; they also failed to reach an agreement on a bilateral fishery pact. For all the two leaders' elaborations to skirt thorny issues and wrap the Cheju summit in the spirit of World Cup cooperation, the Japanese leader's statement about Japan's colonial rule of Korea and its wartime past still caught high attention of South Koreans.

``As I have repeatedly said after taking office, we cannot escape the burden of the past and the responsibility for the future,'' Hashimoto said. About the military sex slave issue, he said, ``From deep in my heart, I offer apologies and repentance. ``No other case has hurt the honor and dignity of women more than this.''

South Korean officials said Hashimoto's remarks about the Japanese draft of about 200,000 Korean women into military brothels represents an ``improvement.'' ``A formal apology from the prime minister is tantamount to the admission of government responsibility,'' said Yoo Chong-ha, senior presidential secretary for foreign and security affairs. No Japanese prime minister has ever offered a separate apology for the army sex slavery issue, Yoo said.

But critics said the wording and context of Hashimoto's statement was still too lukewarm, pointing out that it does not differ from the past attitude of the Tokyo government. Japan denies government involvement in the sex enslavement during the Pacific War and refuses to make direct reparations for the ``comfort women'' victims.

Instead, it plans to provide financial recompensation through a private fund and send a personal letter of apology to the victims in the name of the prime minister. During the news conference, Hashimoto did not mention any thing about government responsibility or direct reparations. Analysts said his stance was no different from the Japanese government' previous attitude.

Hashimoto departed from the practice of his predecessors when he offered his apology for Japan's past in an answer to a reporter's question during the news conference. Former Japanese prime ministers usually touched on the issue in prepared statements he read before answering reporters' questions.

South Korean's disappointment over the Japanese leader's attitude toward the historical issues was reflected even in the reaction of President Kim's ruling New Korea Party (NKP). ``... it is regrettable that Japan still showed a passive attitude toward past historical issues,'' the NKP said in a statement.
Korea Herald


Ryutaro Hashimoto's Apology for "Comfort Women" in Soul has Nothing New (6/23/96)

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER RYUTARO HASHIMOTO APOLOGIZED SUNDAY FOR HIS COUNTRY'S FORCING OF SOUTH KOREAN WOMEN INTO SEXUAL SLAVERY DURING WORLD WAR TWO. SHIN NA REPORTS FROM SEOUL, MR. HASHIMOTO'S APOLOGY CAME AFTER A SUMMIT WITH SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT KIM YOUNG-SAM, INTENDED TO IMPROVE BILATERAL RELATIONS DURING THE JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER'S FIRST VISIT TO SOUTH KOREA SINCE TAKING OFFICE.

PRIME MINISTER RYUTARO HASHIMOTO SAID HE EXTENDS WHOLEHEARTED APOLOGIES TO THE WOMEN WHO WERE FORCED INTO SEXUAL SLAVERY BY THE JAPANESE IMPERIAL ARMY. HISTORIANS SAY MORE THAN 200-THOUSAND WOMEN, MOSTLY FROM THE KOREAN PENINSULA, WERE FORCED TO PROVIDE SEX TO JAPANESE SOLDIERS IN FRONTLINE BROTHELS DURING WORLD WAR TWO.

ALTHOUGH THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HAS OFFERED FORMAL APOLOGIES BEFORE, COMMENTS BY CONSERVATIVE JAPANESE LAWMAKERS DENYING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SO-CALLED "COMFORT WOMEN" ISSUE HAVE FED ANTI-JAPANESE SENTIMENT IN SOUTH KOREA. NINE SOUTH KOREANS, INCLUDING TWO FORMER COMFORT WOMEN, PROTESTED NEAR THE SUMMIT SITE ON THE ISLAND OF CHEJU, DEMANDING DIRECT COMPENSATION FROM THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT.

DURING A NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER THE SUMMIT, THE TWO LEADERS SAID THEY HOPE THE CO-HOSTING OF THE SOCCER WORLD CUP IN 2002 WILL HELP IMPROVE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. AFTER BITTER COMPETITION BETWEEN SEOUL AND TOKYO TO HOST THE SOCCER FINALS, THE WORLD SOCCER BODY DECIDED EARLIER THIS MONTH THE TWO COUNTRIES WOULD CO-HOST THE EVENT.

OBSERVERS HERE SAY THE LEADERS SKIRTED SENSITIVE ISSUES SUCH AS A TERRITORIAL DISPUTE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES OVER SMALL ISLANDS, CALLED TOKDO BY SOUTH KOREA AND TAKESHIMA BY JAPAN. THE TWO SIDES REAFFIRMED AN EARLIER DECISION TO SEPARATE THE TERRITORIAL DISPUTE FROM THE RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES' DECLARATION OF EXCLUSIVE
VOA, 23-Jun-96 2:54 AM EDT (0654 UTC)


South Korean women protest near the 'Soccer summit'

(23/061996)

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- The "soccer summit" between the Korean and Japanese heads of state ended Sunday with pledges to work for regional peace and strengthen ties through cultural and other exchanges.

But Korea has never quite forgiven Japan for colonizing the Korean peninsula in the early 1900s. And the use of Korean women as sex slaves, or "comfort women," for Japanese soldiers during World War II is a particular source of bitterness.

A small group of South Korean women, including two former comfort women, scuffled with riot police near the Cheju hotel where the summit took place.

Hashimoto apologized after the summit "from the bottom of my heart" for the use of Korean women as comfort women. However the apology differed little from past Japanese declarations of regret.

Tokyo has said it would pay $18,500 to each of about 300 surviving women out of a private fund. But the women demand official reparation payments.

CNN Correspondent Sohn Jie-Ae, The Associated Press


30 Korean Women Groups Demand Direct "Comfort Women" Compensation from Japanese Government

(22/6/96)

By Kim Hoo-ran, Staff reporter
In anticipation of the summit meeting Sunday between President Kim Young-sam and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Chungdaehyup) issued a statement in a press conference yesterday calling for an immediate halt to the planned payment of compensation to the surviving former sex slaves from the private ``Asian Peace and Friendship Fund for Women.'' More than 30 other women's groups joined the civic group in the statement, which demands that any payment should come directly from the Japanese government. The statement charged that by setting up a government-led private fund for which individual and corporate donations were solicited, the Japanese government is trying to evade its war-time responsibilities.

The compensation is to be paid out sometime in July, about 11 months after the fund was established. It is expected that each of the 300 selected former ``comfort women'' from Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines will be paid about 2,000,000 yen. The women's groups called on the Korean government to urge the Japanese government at the Cheju summit to halt the plan to distribute the ``Asian Peace and Friendship Fund for Women'' and to accept the recommendations of the U.N. special rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy, which include government-level compensation.

The statement reiterated Chungdaehyup's six-year-old demands, which call for the admission of the criminal nature of the military sexual slavery, release of records on the military sexual slavery, official apology, legal compensation to the victims, revision of textbooks, building of a memorial tower and punishment of those responsible for operating the system. The groups criticized the Korean government for taking a passive stand in demanding an apology and legal compensation from Japanese government, noting that since the mid-term report on the comfort women issue in 1992, no follow up reports have been drawn up.

A Chungdaehyup official noted that the speech by Kim Jang-sook, second state minister for political affairs, at the 40th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March, which welcomed the report by Coomaraswamy and promised the Korean government's support for the international community's efforts to punish those responsible for the inhumane crimes, signalled a possibility of a stronger government stand on the issue.

The statement by the nine female lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties Thursday calling for the Japanese government to ``fulfill with certainty its responsibility with regard to the comfort women issue'' is another positive development, noted the official. The statement was signed by 191 legislators. A more realistic government welfare policy for the aging comfort women is a another demand by Chungdaehyup. At the moment they receive a monthly support of 250,000 won from the government.

In the meantime, Chungdaehyup is stepping up its efforts to publicize its stand on the issue of compensation. A Chungdaehyup official said that a team of 10 Koreans, five comfort women and five activists, will tour Japan for a month starting July 12 to hold lectures on the fund and the comfort women's position on the subject. Thirty-two cities, including Tokyo in which a mass rally is planned July 13, will be covered. Teams from the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia and China are to join in some of the lectures.

The group will also continue its efforts in conjunction with sympathetic Japanese lawmakers and civic groups to draw up a special law in Japan that would allow for a full investigation into the systematic operation of ``comfort stations'' and compensation directly from the Japanese government. A new project on which Chungdaehyup is to embark soon is establishment of a fund in Korea to assist the surviving comfort women. 158 women who have identified themselves as former comfort women live in Korea today, according to Chungdaehyup. Because of the hardship they endured during World War II, most of the elderly women are in bad health and in need of medical care.
Korea Herald


Comfort Women Issue May Hurt Cheju Summit

(18/6/96)

The comfort women issue may cause a dent in the avowed commitment of President Kim Young-sam and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to forge a stronger partnership between their countries when they meet this weekend.

South Korean officials already indicated that Kim would focus his discussion with Hashimoto on cooperation for the joint staging of the 2002 World Cup and avoid raising a territorial dispute over the Tokto islets.

Hashimoto also said last Friday he would not take up the issue of overlapped sovereignty claims to the islets. But the Japanese leader made clear his intention of raising the issue of sexual slavery forced on Korean women for Japanese soldiers during World War II when he meets with Kim.

Hashimoto is expected to seek Seoul's understanding of Tokyo's plan to settle the issue by making compensations to victims from private funds and sending a letter of apology in his name. But it would be difficult for Kim to endorse such an attitude without any reservation, observers here said. ``Our position is that the will of the victims should be fully reflected in resolving the issue,'' a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.

South Korean women forced to sexually serve the Japanese soldiers have demanded the Japanese government admit legal responsibility and compensate their sufferings. A former South Korean comfort woman said she would rather take 10,000 won from the Japanese government than 10 million won from the private fund. They felt their wounds were reopened again by recent remarks by a Japanese lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that comfort women were merely recruited as a ``commercial activity'' and were not forced.

It is yet to be seen how far Kim will go in tackling the comfort women issue with Hashimoto. Observers here say Kim is unlikely to demand the Japanese government to make compensation to the comfort women but may indicate its legal responsibility for the wartime sexual slavery at least in an indirect manner. President Kim made it clear in 1993 that Seoul would not request any material compensation with regard to the comfort women issue from Tokyo.

But the South Korean government has stood for the activities of nongovernmental organizations and women's groups for drawing state compensations from the Japanese government, including filing lawsuits in Japanese courts. Such activities were given a boost by a report adopted by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights last April despite opposition from Japan.

The report drawn up by Radhika Coomaraswamy, a U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women urged the Japanese government pay compensation to individual victims and punish those involved in enforcing the wartime sexual slavery. It held the Japanese government legally responsible for the wartime sexual slavery, rebuffing Tokyo's claim that it is under no legal compulsion toward the victims but only a moral obligation.

Korea Herald


Seisuke Okuno: "Comfort women 'did it for money'"

(Sydney Morning Herald, June 6, 1996)

By RUSSELL SKELTON, Herald Correspondent in Tokyo

A senior politician has deeply embarrassed the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Ryutaro Hashimoto, by claiming that foreign women forced to work as sex slaves by the Japanese Army only did it for the money.

Mr Seisuke Okuno, a former education minister and a member of Mr Hashimoto's ruling Liberal Democrat Party, claims the wartime "comfort women" used by Japanese troops were not forced into prostitution.

Mr Okuno told a press conference yesterday foreign women had volunteered to be be sent to the Japanese troops and did it as a "commercial activity" for money.

"The Japanese Army may have arranged the transportation for them to go to the war-fronts for their work, but it didn't force them to go," he said.

His comments, certain to spark fury in countries from which the women were forced into army brothels by Japanese troops, come a day after another coalition MP, Mr Tadashi Itagaki, was involved in an angry confrontation with Ms Kim Sang Hee, 73, a former Korean "comfort woman" now fighting for compensation.

A Government-backed private fund has just decided to pay 300 survivors of wartime prostitution $24,000 each as compensation. The amount has been condemned as derisory by the women's representatives.

Ms Hee told Mr Itagaki she had been kidnapped by Japanese soldiers at the age of 15, taken to an army brothel and forced to work there.

Mr Tadashi accused her of lying and claimed she must have served in the brothel for money. He said the women had been recruited by Korean go-betweens and were not forced to serve the troops.

Ms Kim replied: "I was taken, raped and forced to work as a prostitute. I was 15."

Mr Okuno heads a breakaway faction of the ruling party which refuses to admit Japan was the aggressor in World War II.

The formation of the new group and Mr Okuno's comments come at a sensitive time for the Prime Minister, who is about to issue a public apology to the women survivors.

War historians estimate 200,000 Asian women, mainly Korean and Chinese, were forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during the war. Groups representing the women have been fighting to win compensation and an apology from the Japanese Government.

Rather than accept direct responsibility for the brothels, the Government set up a private Asian Women's Fund to handle compensation payments. The fund decided yesterday to make payments to 300 women survivors in South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Mr Hashimoto and his predecessor, Mr Tomiichi Murayama, have both agreed to issue a written apology to all the women. A copy of the apology is to be sent with each cheque.

Mr Hashimoto has indicated he would use the sincere meaning of apology - owabi - to express the Government's regret when writing to the women. This has been welcomed by fund officials and women's groups.


Japanese Government Refuse to Compensate "Comfort Women"

Japan's Asian Women's Fund was supposed to solve a delicate problem. The government made it clear that the Fund, which it helped organize, was a private effort to raise money to make "payments of atonement" to "comfort women" -- women forced to have sexual relations with Japanese troops before and during World War II. Many prominent Japanese women supported the Fund; they saw it as the best chance to get help to their Asian sisters. But former first lady Miki Mutsuko has resigned as a leader of its major endorsers because no formal apology to the women is likely to be forthcoming from the government. Next week, the Fund -- it will be one year old in July -- will start to hand out the money it has collected. The original plan was to distribute about $6 million. But it has been able to raise only about $3 million, which it will offer to a selected group of women in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. The government has made it clear it will not make up the shortfall.
Asiaweek, Week of May 24, 1996


US Congressional Resolution Calls for Apology and Reparation from Japan

(May 17, 1996) California Republican Congressman Robert Dornan, joined by his colleagues Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Bob Stump (R-AZ), and Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), has introduced a Concurrent Resolution in the House of Representatives (House Concurrent Resolution 176) calling for: - the Japanese Government to immediately pay reparations to U.S. military and civilian prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW II for at least $22,000 each;
- the Japanese Government to express formally its regret to U.S. military and civilian prisoners of war who the Japanese tortured, neglected, and on whom it conducted experiments; and
- the relevant U.S. Federal departments and agencies to declassify and release documents relating to medical or biochemical warfare experimentation conducted by the Japanese, including the UNIT 731 Detachment, during the war.

Posted by Ignatius Y. Ding, Fri, 14 Jun 1996 17:50:45 -0800


Queen Elizabeth II apologized to the Czechs for Britain's 1938 role

(28/3/96) The Assocated Press is reporting that Queen Elizabeth II has apologized to the Czechs for Britain's 1938 role that led to German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Britain, France, Italy and Germany signed the Munich Pact that surrendered Czechoslvoakia's Sudentenland to Germany.

69 Asian "Comfort Women" Rejected Japanese Offer

(28/3/96) The Associated Press is reporting that 69 women from four Asian countries have rejected a Japanese offer of money from a private fund for former "comfort women,", i.e., women forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese military in WWII; the women demand that the Japanese government apologize and compensate them directly. The private fund, set up by the Japanese government, is being used to evade responsibility claim the women.

The women are attending a conference in Manila, Republic of the Philippines. One attendee is a 75-year-old Taiwanese woman who was forced to become a "comfort woman" in Manila and Singapore when she was 18. She never married and said, "I felt that my serving as a comfort woman would be an object >of ridicule by the public. I demand an apology and compensation from the government of Japan." Also attending the conference are 27 South Koreans, 40 Filipinos and one Indonesian who also claim to have been "comfort women."

It is estimated that 200,000 Asian women, most from Korea, the Philippines, Formosa (Taiwan), Malaysia and Indonesia were forced to serve as sex slaves by the Japanese. The Japanese government finally issued a blanket apology in August 1993 and set up the private fund, the Asian National Fund for Women, for voluntary contributions. But the Japanese continue to refuse to pay the women directly claiming that treaties signed in the 1960s settled all war claims. The goal of the fund was to raise US$10 million but donations are far short of the goal. Corporations are reluctent to contribute fearing that this could be seen as an admission of guilt and generating bad PR.

ILO CONDEMNS JAPAN'S SEXUAL SLAVERY

By HIDEYA TANAKA - Asahi Shimbun
Fri, 8 Mar 1996 17:18:55 -0800

GENEVA (March 5, 1996) -- An International Labor Organization panel of experts on Monday said that Japan s wartime use of Asian women as prostitutes to serve its soldier should be characterized as sexual slaver, a violation of the ILO s 1930 Forced Labor Convention.

The committee s report was submitted to the Governing Body of the ILO and could become the subject of further discussions at gatherings of the ILO s supreme body, the International Labor Conference.

The allegations refer to gross human rights abuses and sexual abuse of women detained in so-called military comfort stations, a situation which falls within the prohibitions contained in the Forced Labor Convention, the panel s report says.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights called on Japan in early February to pay compensation to the surviving World War II sex slaves, mostly Koreans, Filipinas and Chinese.

The ILO committee s report could bring more pressure on the Japanese government make monetary amends. So far, the government has resisted calls that it pay official redress, opting instead to set up a private fund that solicits funds for the women.

The report also is likely to trigger a new wave of global criticism of Japan for its wartime activities.

The ILO committee began looking into Japan s sex slave issue after receiving a letter from the Osaka Fu Special English Teacher's Union (OFSET), a group of about 50 foreign teachers working in Osaka Prefecture.

In the letter, OFSET appealed for payment of wages, compensation and other benefits arising from the forced labor of the women concerned, the report says.

The committee said it does not have the power to order the payment of such compensation. But it added that on the basis of the allegations ... it would appear that these women would have been entitled to wages and other benefits under the 1930 convention.

It called on the Japanese government to give proper consideration to this matter expeditiously, in view of the time that has elapsed.

The ILO panel is made up of 20 experts on labor law and related issues from 20 different member nations.
Posted by Ignatius Ding


South Korean president cancelled meeting with Japanese to protest Tokyo's claim over Tokdo Islands

(10/2/96)

INTRO: SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT KIM YOUNG-SAM SAID SATURDAY HE WILL NOT MEET WITH A JAPANESE DELEGATION, SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE IN SEOUL NEXT WEEK, CITING ANGER OVER A TERRITORIAL DISPUTE WITH TOKYO. SHIN NA REPORTS FROM SEOUL ON THE DIPLOMATIC ROW.

TEXT: SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT KIM YOUNG-SAM CANCELLED HIS MEETING WITH A DELEGATION OF JAPANESE POLICY-MAKERS SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 12TH, EXPRESSING HIS ANGER AT TOKYO'S CLAIM OVER TWO SMALL ISLANDS LOCATED BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. THE HEAD OF THE DELEGATION EXPRESSED HIS REGRET OVER PRESIDENT KIM'S DECISION, AND SAID THE MISSION WOULD COME TO SEOUL NEVERTHELESS, TO URGE THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCEPT TALKS.

SEOUL MAINTAINS THE TOKDO ISLANDS, CALLED TAKESHIMA BY THE JAPANESE, BELONG TO SOUTH KOREA. PRESIDENT KIM'S SPOKESMAN SAID A SOUTH KOREA-JAPAN SUMMIT MEETING SCHEDULED FOR EARLY MARCH MAY ALSO BE CANCELLED, IF TOKYO CONTINUES TO CLAIM SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE ISLANDS. THE LAST SEOUL-TOKYO SUMMIT WAS CANCELLED AFTER A JAPANESE LAWMAKER OFFENDED SOUTH KOREA BY SAYING JAPAN'S COLONIALIZATION OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA WAS LEGITIMATE.

THE PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN SAID IN A STATEMENT THAT SOUTH KOREA FIRMLY REJECTS TOKYO'S CLAIM TO THE ISLANDS AND WILL RESOLUTELY DEAL WITH ANY PROBLEMS ARISING FROM IT. THE SPOKESMAN CALLED JAPAN'S POSITION "INTOLERABLE" AND CRITICIZED TOKYO FOR STIRRING THE ANGER OF THE KOREAN PEOPLE. BOTH SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN HAVE CLAIMED THE ISLANDS SINCE THE EARLY 1900'S. JAPANESE BOATS PATROL NEARBY WATERS WHILE SOUTH KOREA HAS GUARDS STATIONED THERE.

THE DISPUTE FLARED UP RECENTLY AMID REPORTS TOKYO WAS PREPARING TO DESIGNATE AN EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE INCLUDING THE ISLANDS. JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER YUKIHIKO IKEDA PROTESTED TO SEOUL FRIDAY AFTER SOUTH KOREA RESUMED CONSTRUCTION ON A WHARF ON ONE OF THE ISLANDS.
10-Feb-96 4:28 AM EST (0928 UTC)


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