A Declaration to the Japanese Government and the Japanese People

Ignatius Ding

06/25/95, 1995

Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia

P.O. Box 2066, Cupertino, CA 95015-2066

As the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, there is a real need to assess the history of the war -- as a cautionary lesson for future generations.

In modern times, Japan's ambition to conquer Asia has brought death and destruction to its neighbors. During the second World War in Asia, the Japanese military killed more than 30 million Chinese people and destroyed property and natural resources on a scale unprecedented in the 20th century. The mass raping, looting and slaughtering of civilians and prisoners of war in Nanjing, for example (which lasted from December 13, 1937 to the following spring) became known as the infamous "Rape of Nanjing." During the first six weeks of this incident alone, more than 340,000 Chinese -- including women, children, and disarmed prisoners of war -- were mutilated and massacred with a brutality that shocked the world.

Unlike post-war Germany, Japan to this day has never offered genuine apology or adequate atonement for its action in China. Beginning in 1958, it has enshrined wartime militarists who in 1948 were convicted and sentenced to death for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo War Crimes Trial). What is more, a number of Japanese officials refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing of their government towards China, or other Asian countries, during the Second World War. As recently as May 1994, a prominent minister stated that the "Rape of Nanjing" was a Chinese fabrication. Similarly, school children in Japan are not taught about the war. Their textbooks sanitize that part of history, if it is mentioned at all. Has Japan learned the lesson of war?

We, the people of Chinese descent worldwide, call on the Japanese government and its people to resolve the issue of its war responsibility. Until this is done, the Chinese people, as well as other Asian people, will be hard put to believe in Japan's commitment to peace. Without a genuine basis of trust between Japan and Asian countries, Asians cannot work together for peace in the next millenium. Denial will not make the past go away. It must be remembered, after all, that the Chinese and the Japanese share the same cultural root. Only by facing history with courage, and by working with its neighbors to heal the wounds of war, can Japan bring the war to a final closure and truly live up to its claim as the "good" neighbor in Asia.

We urge the Japanese people of conscience to press the Japanese Government to immediately address the long overdue issues of war responsibility and reparation to Asian victims. Japanese Government must:

1. Offer a sincere, written apology to the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

2. Write in its history textbooks the true history of Japan's invasion and occupation of China and Asia.

3. Build monuments in memory of the Chinese and other Asian victims of the Imperial Japanese Army as a reminder to future generations of the Asian holocaust.

4. Make reparation to the victims or their families and descendants.

5. Make available materials in the Japanese national archive of the aggressions against China and other countries, and assist historians to research and document Japan's past misdeeds.

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