|Is Japan Not Responsible for the War?
|I was only 7 and 1/2 years old when Japan surrendered to end World War II. I have very vivid memories of some of those days though, as one of my Dad’s brothers was captured on Batann and endured the Death March and ensuing captivity in the home islands of Japan. This, plus the fact, that another uncle was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in the ETO has sparked a lifetime of historical research from the layman’s standpoint. As a result of this on going research I make the following points:
1. Japan raped Nanking and has never, to the best of my knowledge, apologized for this dastardly act.
2. Japan did the unthinkable with a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, thereby involving the United States in World War II.
3. To the best of my knowledge Japan has never apologized for starting the conflict in the Pacific.
4. I have read statements made by some of Japan’s leaders during the war and they indicate the things that would take place in the United States if Japan could best them in the war.
5. After some study of the culture of the people of Japan and the actions of their armed forces on nations and peoples that came under their control, I can visulize what would have happened in the United States.
6. Having listened to some of the stories that my uncle told about what happened to him and his fellow soldiers during captivity, at the hands of the Japanese, I have no doubt that the same things would have been inflicted on our people that were done to the peoples of the Philipene Islands
7. The atrocites inflicted on the general populace that came under Japanese control are unspeakable. To the best of my knowledge there has been no public apology for these.
8. Therefore the decision of the leaders of the armed forces of the U.S. up to and including the sitting President, to drop the Atomic Bombs is justified. And those two bombs made the Emperor decide to surrender rather than sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of his subjects during an invasion, which would of course have caused hundreds of thousands of allied casualties.
9. The United States has absolutuly NO reason to apologize for the droping of the bombs.
10, And, indeed, if there were concrete reasons for the United States to apologize, all of those reasons would be negated by the fact that Japan has never apologized for starting the war.
11. Therefore, I would suggest that, a starting point for the nation of Japan would be to face the fact that they started the war. And by doing so could cleanse some of the guilt that they have born for all the years since.
12. Last and not least, from a study of the actions of Japan’s leaders during the war, I firmily believe that if Japan had invented the atomic bomb and had the weapons systems to deliver same, they would have used it as soon as possible, in their attempt to conquor the world and impose their way of life on all subjects that came under their influence.
If you disagree with me, thats fine, state your disagreements and lets discuss them.
And yes, I do hope that these weapons will never be used again, but if some nation attempts to and/or attacks the United States with them, I hope our leaders will not hesitate to retaliate 100 fold. Especially as we are not the type of nation/people to use such items first. Most sincerely desiring world peace.
|The Use of Nuclear Weapons and Japan’s Inhumane Acts are Different Issues.
|Japan’s invasion and its inhuman acts against civilians and prisoners of war indeed weighs on my mind, but there were also many Japanese war prisoners who were abused by their foes. A person like you who is knowledgeable of world history must have heard about the several hundred thousand Japanese prisoners who were detained in Siberia, Russia. These Japanese prisoners were forced to work under severe conditions and many of them lost their lives. What the Japanese military government did was wrong, but we must also realize how warfare can change humans into villains. In this sense, I hope all the people in the world will be opposed to any warfare.
You wrote of your fear of what might have happened to the world if Japan had invaded the U.S. mainland and had been the first creator of the A-bomb. Although it is hard for me to imagine the consequences, judging from our military’s inhuman acts during wartime, I can understand how you feared the Japanese. At the same time, I want you to know that the majority of the Japanese people regretted the war, and our new democratic government enacted a peace Constitution stating the abandonment of military power and renunciation of war shortly after surrendering.
Also, please do not justify the dropping of A-bombs on Japan, nor say that America will retaliate with nuclear weapons if she is attacked with them.
In 1996, the International Judicial Court submitted a recommendation to the U.N. Conference asserting that the use of nuclear weapons was against International Law. We also decided to open our web page, not to criticize America for dropping the A-bomb, but to prevent further use of nuclear weapons by any nation.
The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows that a nuclear war means human annihilation and the end of the world. I believe there is only one way to avoid such disaster–to do away with all nuclear weapons on this earth. Love and Peace on earth!
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|Blindfolding the Past.
|As an American, it may not be a surprise that I would agree with the premise that the A-bomb was essential in shortening the long-protracted war, and sparing many lives on all sides. That fact should not be disuputed by any dispassionate observer. I do not wish to pound the drum that the Japanese should cease from their claim to victimhood, but perhaps it is a tone that must reverberate until they, as a nation, free themselves from this stupifying denial. Two incidents in my life have shed a sliver of insight into this predicament.
In the early ’70s I was a sailor based out of Yokosuka, Japan. Anyone familiar with that base will understand its strategic importance to the war effort. As late as 1973 the vast system of tunnels excavated out of the hills on and around the base were still not entirely sealed off. In fact, the infrastructure established in some of them (steam generation, etc.) was still in use. This base is also where the small one-man “kamikazi” submarines were constructed (inside the caves) and the concrete apron stretching into the bay was still extant.
But I digress. At the time I was there an American nisei, employed in the civil service, related to me how he had been there since the end of the war – in fact, his job was to serve as interpreter there during the occupation – and he never left. I was taking notes during a survey of the the caves, and he pointed out to me that all the caves had been constructed by Korean slave labor right before the war. He also informed me that the Koreans were caused to dig one last chamber in which they were all entombed when the project was completed.
It was somewhere on the base, but he would not disclose its location. Yokosuka Naval Base serves as an unmarked grave for around 2,000 Koreans slaves. I would classify them as “victims”.
Years later my wife and I hosted many Japanese exchange students while living in Southern California. One evening the students had switched the TV on to a PBS station, which was showing WWII footage from the South Pacific. The wonderment and agitation expressed by these young Japanese to actually see such things was an incredible thing to behold. This topic, yes, this material, is forbidden in Japan. Watching them watch the show on our involvement in the Pacific Theater was a torment for them, and a pitiable thing for me. One of the students told me, “but you Americans started the war!”.
I asked them both about Pearl Harbor. They both looked puzzled, and asked, “What is Pearl Harbor?”. They were incredulous and disbelieving as I explained it. As the saying goes, none are as blind as those who will not see, except, of course, for those who have been blinded. Japan sins against her people by continuing to blind them.
|The Importance of Teaching the Facts.
|It is true what you mentioned Japan’s inhuman acts before and during World War II. Many Koreans and Chinese were forcibly sent to Japan to work at military factories, mines, and construction sites. I have heard that many of those workers died because of severe working conditions, and I also know that many were exposed to radiation. My heart breaks each time I think about these innocent victims, but at the same time, there does not seem to be anything I could have done to save these people.
I was only a 12-year-old powerless high school girl at that time, and under the military education, we were never allowed to question the war. Needless to say, I had no idea about Japan’s evil acts in Asia. Today, knowing that education kept us ignorant and led the country in the wrong direction, I cannot help thinking of the enormous influence that education has.
You mentioned that the ignorance of the Japanese students you had staying with you was a result of today’s Japanese educational system–blindfolding the children and not teaching the truth. Although I am sure that not all young Japanese are uneducated about the war, it is necessary that we put more effort in teaching the “facts” to prevent the occurrence of another brutal war. I also started my web page to show the reality of the disastrous power of nuclear weapons. If we all know the truth, we will despise nuclear weapons and finally rid the earth of them.
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|Don’t Hide the Past and the Sex Slaves.
|I don’t need to reiterate all that has been said about the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese troops in the Second World War, but you, as a woman, should especially be sensitive to the rapes committed by the troops. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Korean, and Filipino women were forcibly raped by the Japanese soldiers – for many of the women, even though they are still alive, their souls are already dead.
To this day, because Japan hasn’t come clean with its past, I am doubtful that militarism will not rise again in Japan – in fact, with events such as the Diaoyu Islands, which *belongs* to the Chinese, and the strength of right wing Japanese movements, it appears Mr. Santayana’s quote “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it,” I would want the Chinese to have nuclear weapons just to deter Japan from invading China again.
War is evil, but change begins at home – you need to make sure Japanese militarism never rises again – write to your government officials about it.
|Committed to Securing an Apology and Compensation from the Government.
|Thank you very much for your response to my web page. It is always a great pleasure to meet a friend with whom I can talk about peace.
I agree with your opinion that the Japanese people, including myself, should more strongly call on the Japanese government not to return to militarism again whatever happens. I have to admit that I need to make more effort in this regard.
Though I don’t have much time to live, I am firmly determined to ask the Japanese government to reflect on what it did in the past and make a formal apology and compensation to the victims of World War Ⅱ.
The Japanese army took hundreds of thousands of lives not only from the Japanese but also from the people in other Asian countries. As a result of a deep introspection regarding the war, the Japanese government enacted Article 9 of the Constitution, proclaiming Japan’s demilitarization.
With my principle “the Peace Constitution is all my life,” I have been making efforts to tell as many people as possible of my experience of the bombing. Also, I always participate in citizen’s rallies calling for no amendment to Article 9, believing that this is my duty and my form of compensation toward other countries.
Meanwhile, I cannot agree with your opinion that “I would want the Chinese to have nuclear weapons just to deter Japan from invading China again.” As an A-bomb survivor who experienced the horror of the bombing, I definitely oppose the idea of possessing nuclear weapons as well as using them on humanity.
You quoted Me Santayana’s words, “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.” I believe the most important thing we need to do is not to possess nuclear weapons, but to eradicate the evil spirit which spurs us on to start war and use nuclear weapons.
In this regard, I think education will play an important role. Peace activities stem from peace education.
Every country must deeply reflect on their errors in the past and make appropriate compensation based on International Law, so that nuclear weapons will never be used again. Let us not forget that each individual has infinite power to change the world into a better place.
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|War Blame Is Not One Sided.
|You probably receive gigabytes of email everyday but after I visited your site I feel I have to talk to you!
For someone who dedicated her active life in the cause of banning nuclear weapons and world peace, you have my greatest respect. I have, however, mixed emotion about the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I am a Chinese Canadian born and raised in HK, my perception of the Pacific War was no doubt influenced by what I read and heard during my formative years. Fortunately, I am still very much interested in the conflict that took so many lives and held untold terrors, and as such I have done a fair of reading on the subject. A few nagging thoughts I wish to share with you.
1. Is it necessary?
Being an oriental, I tend to take the pragmatic approach to solve moral dilemma: with respect to the Bomb, there is no doubt it saved lives. Now one might argue how many American/Japanese casualties might have incurred by the inevitable invasion of Japan according to how you do the estimation and whether you can trust the the figures military provided. No doubt the Americans thought of their own soldiers first and foremost and didn’t give a hoot of Japanese civilian casualties (witness the fire bombing of major Japanese cities at the closing months of the war: who felt sorry for them?). No matter how distasteful it sounds, a number of people die but many more would live: such is the cornerstone of civilization…..
2. Who started it all?
I find it amusing reading the expressed viewpoints of some Americans on the net, they are full of indignation that Japan was such a brutal regime who started the Pacific War and thus shouldn’t be pitied. Well, my feeling is if Japan didn’t attack Pearl Harbor and precipitated the war, then the Americans, British and Dutch would be happy sitting on the sideline while untold atrocities were committed against the Chinese going back as far as 1931 Manchuria Incident? As far as I know, oil and scrap metal that fueled the Imperial war machinery were imported freely to Japan. Britain even chose to close the back roads in IndoChina through which the only material supplies could reach China so as not to anger Japan (all the coastal ports were in Japanese hands by then). Truly, as told by a Chinese proverb, to drop a stone on someone who is inside a well. It was only when the Western power felt the heat when Japan expanded into IndoChina thus threatening their staked territory then they put up an oil embargo which by the way prompted Japan for a showdown: live with the Western colonial interest in the Far East or took a gamble? The sad thing is: the prevalent thinking back in 1940s was if you have guns the world is up for grabs. In Japan’s heart, white colonialism and yellow colonialism makes no difference. But as history reveals, the yellow imperialism was far more brutal than the white…..
3. There is still more blame to go around: who made a bid to the responsible officers in the infamous 731 squadron, who conducted insidious biological warfare using human using human subjects, granted them immunity in exchange for the data compiled by these human monsters?The occupation force headed by the Americans of course!
4. Sad to say, no long after the war the Chinese were so busy fighting each other (the Nationalist and the Communists) no one was paying much attention to the entangled mess they were in…. In both regimes you think there were no atrocities? Wake up! In the misguided attempt to modernize the country, how many people starved in China? And the disruption to the entire country due to the Cultural Revolution in which millions were dislocated, and died in re-education program.
5. At the end, it sadden me to see a picture of a little girl dying from that blinding ball of flash over Hiroshima, her skin peeling off like some tattered rags off a discarded doll, but I am no more moved than by picturing in my mind, during the Nanking Massacre (1939), civilians roasted alive while bundled by wire, or mothers skewed by bayonets while still holding onto their babies….. War is hell, your presentation will be so much more effective and balanced by inclusion of all war victims!
|Sharing Knowledge—The Key to Halting Indiscriminate Killing
|Thank you very much for your access to my web site. I am very impressed by your comments and I would like to answer your questions as follows.
I understand that some people argue that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the penalty that Japan had to pay for the aggression committed by its army during the war. It is no doubt that the Japanese government should not be allowed to make excuses for its unhumane acts against Asian people.
For example, the Nanjin Massacre in l937. In the course of this massacre, 200,000 to 300,000 of the Chinese people are said to have been killed at the hands of Japanese army, (one source says that approximately 450,000 Chinese people were killed.) In another slaughter committed by the Japanese army in the north-east of China, most of the residents of a certain village were deprived of their lives. Also, a number of killings were carried out under the war cry of “The full extent of killing, burning and plundering.”. And the development of biological weapon by the infamous 731 Unit, using Chinese human bodies. And the use of poison gas on the Chinese continent during the Japan-China war. The cruel acts committed by the Japanese army are unforgivable. When I think of the Chinese victims, I feel my heart is going to break.
As one of the atomic bomb survivors, I tell my story to the young people who visit Hiroshima. Each time, in my story, I never fail to talk about the aggression committed by the Japanese army, feeling sorry for the victims. I will continue to do that as an apology.
As I told you before, there are some people who argue that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the penalty that Japan had to pay for the aggression by its army. I would like to say to those people that this idea should not be the end of their arguments. Because the atomic-bombing is related only between Japan and the United States, so I believe that the atomic-bombing is a war crime committed by the United States. The bombing itself was an indiscriminate mass killing. Meanwhile, I also believe that the aggression by the Japanese army is involved only with Japan and Asian nations, so that Japan’s aggression is a war crime. There is no doubt that aggression of the Japanese army claimed countless lives.
These are crimes that should not be discussed im terms of “measure for measure”. If the Allies argue that the atomic-bombing resulted from Japanese aggression against Asian countries or from the Pearl-Harbor Attack, they criticize the wrongs only of Japan and justify their own evil deeds. Those arguments will end up blaming other parties, and there will be no solution in the end. I am very impressed that you have studied a lot on history, especially on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the World War II. I know you understand the moral dilemma that the atomic-bombing saved thousands of people, otherwise they would have died in the continued war. Moreover you studied if Japan had not attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States and Britain would not have taken part in the war, ignoring Japan’s aggression. And I am more surprised that your studies go deeper and they cover the fact that the United States encouraged the 731 Unit to develop biological weapons and that the Chinese Culture Revolution brought about disruption to the country. Your studies make it clear that all the parties in the war should repent their evil deeds rather than blaming the other parties.
The world should unite wisdom to prevent the repetition of massacre by atomic-bombing and aggression as we have seen in the past. In order to do that, it is essential that the countries concerned in the war will repent their acts, based on the correct understanding of history and make appropriate compensation. Also to realize this aim, it is vital that the voices of ordinary people will be heard on the political stage. In that sense, we, ordinary citizens would be wise not to allow hypocritic politicians to repeat their evil deed. That’s why I have worked for nuclear abolition as a atomic-bomb survivor who experienced the horror of the bomb.
Here I would like to emphasize one more thing in terms of nuclear weapons. My belief is that the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should not be recognized as just one of the war crimes, because after the atomic-bombing, humanity went into the nuclrar era have not been which I would describe as “the era of destruction” We, atomic-bomb survivors have not been free from the horror of cancer for even a day since the bombing. Still, every year year many atomic-bomb survivors die from cancer caused by radiation.
The number of nuclear weapons of the 5 declared nuclear countries—the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain—amounts to well over 30,000. Those nuclear weapons are many thousand times as destructive as the one which was dropped on Hiroshima. It is also estimated, based on the devastation of Hiroshima, the current nuclear weapons can wipe out all humanity on this earth several times over.
So if nuclear weapons are ever used again on humanity, there will be no choice but the extermination of humanity.
If nuclear war should take place, neither winner nor loser would survive. Moreover, there would be no aggressors nor victims. Nothing would be left. In that sense, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a tragic experience beyond the concept of aggressor and victim, and human beings should learn from Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to survive the future.
As long as nuclear weapons exist on this earth, human beings cannot expect a bright future. And that’s why I began to strive for nuclear abolition.
There are still many things that I have to do. And because of a lack of time and physical strength, please forgive the fact that my web-site has not covered all war victims. I still agree with you that my web-site should be more balanced. Here I recommend that you have a look at the web-site “Atomic Bomb WWW Museum”
“http://www.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/NanjingMassacre/NM.html which has a feature of Nanjin Massacre.
I really hope that you and I will contact with each other by e-mail on any occasions.
|Thank You for Your Response.
|Thank you for the reply, wasn’t expected it knowing you must be busy with all the correspondence. You allow me to have a glimpse into how you go by educating peope about the atrocity of atomic and war crimes in general, for that I am very grateful. You confirm my initial high regards for someone who devotes his/her life for a worthy cause.
I am with heavy heart knowing there is still so much work trying to bring more understanding to people, but at the same time warm to make your acquaintance, yes there are still people out there who can make a difference!
Please keep up the faith and may you enjoy good health!
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|Remember All Asian War Victims.
|I am a student at the university of Victoria, Canada, and I have taken some pacific studies courses. I am of Chinese descent, and totally saddened with reading about War, especially about the Raping of Nanking and Japanese’s inability to give real respect to other asian nations’ lost ones.
Like Japanese thinking that Japanese soldiers are the victims and praising them each year and buidling a war memorial to them, but is this not continous slap in the face of the dead that they caused. Japan is a great country but in this repect have failed to look at themselves. They would never forget the atomic bomb, but how about war deaths they have caused. Well, the real question I ask is I have read that there were many Korean slaves in Nagasagi(or Hiroshima, forgot, and can’t seems to find the article at the moment) and taht many Koreans died when the bomb was dropped. I have also read that when Japanese Koreans asked that the dead koreans be put into the nagasagi (or Hiroshima) peace memorial, and was denied because there was no room for them. I know some Japanese and people that went tot he momorial and they say that it is huge and that what the Koreans were told was bull. I was wondering if Koreans were ever entered into the memorial??
I have read much about Japan, and still think Japan is a great country, but I am saddened with such flaws in society. I guess that all society has flaws, but extremly sadden with this flaw in Japan.
I think that the bomb dropped was not needed, but a new theory about the dropping was because AMerica wanted to end the war before Russia declared war, then the Japanese would surrender to the Russians. There was a agreement in the allies to declare war a week after defeating Germany. SO the dropping I believe is another extension of the war between Communism and Capitalism.
I hope taht no atomic bomb is ever used again, and extremly saddened by the lost of life for the Japanese people and future sufferings.
>4. How do teachers in your school handle Hiroshima and >nuclear issues and to what extent?
The education system here are very good and we have descussions on this event many times in Highschool.
>5. What do you think is the most important for building a >peaceful world?
I believe that truth is the only way that can free people and help true understanding and trust between to nations.
>6. What do you think Hiroshima’s role should be in the >attainment of world peace?
I think that Hiroshima is a bad incident, but you have to also see the silver lining. I think that without the incident of Hiroshima, there woudl be more Nuclear weapons in the world. With Hiroshima and Nagasagi being the example of what happened, I hope that the world will never forget. But lives are priceless and Japan paid hard like all nations during war.
|Never Repeat the Military Government’s Mistakes.
|Thank you for accessing my web page. I am glad to know that you are interested in world peace and studying hard about it. I am sorry it took a while to respond, but here is my response to your questions.
In Japan on August 15, the anniversary of the end of WWⅡ,a memorial service takes place for all the war victims. This memorial is held to comfort the souls of the soldiers and civilians who died for the sake of war, regardless of their nationalities. So far no plan has been reported to erect a memorial for these war victims. However, the Japan Bereaved Family’s Association will open a memorial hall for the war orphans in March, 1999.
I know there were many Koreans in Hiroshima who were also exposed to the A-bomb. Those Koreans were forced to come to Japan, and they worked under severe conditions. It is estimated that 50 thousand Koreans were exposed to radiation.
In 1970, the South Korean Residents Association in Japan erected a memorial for the Korean A-bomb victims and for Prince Lee-Woo who was a nephew of Koreas last emperor. The Prince was an educational adviser at the Second General Headquarters in Hiroshima. The memorial was erected close to where the Prince was found after the bombing. Since the memorial was located outside the bounds of Peace Park, it was seen as a symbol of discrimination against the Koreans.
In 1990, Hiroshima City gave permission to move the memorial inside the park. Nevertheless, there is still an on going debate as to whether they should move the present memorial or erect a new one for the victims of both South and North Korea.
As I have mentioned, there were not only Japanese but also many foreigners who became A-bomb victims. When we question why so many Koreans lived in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, we Japanese must rethink what our military government did to the people of other countries. From the time two A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, human beings entered the nuclear age. It is hard to say that we live in a peaceful world, but we must make constant efforts to achieve world peace. We are responsible for ensuring that peace prevails on earth for our children.
I will answer your question “What do you think is most important to achieve world peace?” There are many problems we must solve in order to achieve world peace, such as the abolition of nuclear weapons, and avoiding civil wars, population growth, and environmental pollution. However, if you ask me to choose one thing, my answer will be changing people’s thinking through education, cultural exchange, and religion. How can our world become peaceful when we do not desire it? Each of us needs to respect our lives and become a peace maker. At the same time, each person should not hurt others for his or her own benefit but should be more altruistic and hope for each other’s happiness. Peace can never be obtained without hoping for it; therefore, we must start with bringing the concept of peace into ourselves.
Needless to say, Hiroshima will take the initiative to abolish nuclear weapons and say “No” to violence and warfare which threatens our lives. More than 50 years have passed since the end of WWⅡ and Hiroshima has been appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons since the day the A-bomb was dropped. Hiroshima must pass on the message of anti-nuclear weapons and the importance of world peace to the next generation, so that nuclear weapons will never be used again.
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|Information on Japanese Atrocities Should Be Included.
|In order to present a fair and balanced web site, on Japan’s “Pacific war” you should include links to pages about the atrocities committed by the Japanese which include;
Attacking and invading Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, The United States …
The Rape of Nanking which includes baby killing for fun by the Japanese soldiers
Some of the horrors committed by unit 731 including:
Live vivisection of Chinese civilians biological weapon development
The maltreatment of POWs including a 37% death rate amongst allied POWs in Japanese camps
The list goes on.
Had an invasion of the the Japanese mainland been necessary to end the war casualties on both sides would have far exceeded those of the Atomic bombing.
In fact Japanese school children were given weapons training in the eventual case that there would have been an allied invasion (i.e. Japan was prepared to fight to the last woman and child.) It was expected that school girls from Japan would have thrown themselves (as human bombs) into the war machines of the allies.
The desperation in which Japan fought was clearly demonstrated by the use of kamikaze forces.
Now I know that Japan does not teach these things in their public schools, but I think it should.
And I beleive you should also include this information on your web site.
|The burden of Sin That Japan Shoulders and the Importance of Nuclear Abolition.
|While the German government took responsibility for the Nazi’s inhuman acts, the Japanese government has not taken any responsibility for what it did in the past. This is because the Japanese government believed all problems of the war had been solved by the concluding treaties, such as The San Francisco Treaty and the Peace Treaty between Japan and the Republic of Korea.
In 1996, the Murayama cabinet, which formed a coalition government with the Social Democratic party, LDP, and the Frontier Party, reconsidered Japan’s responsibility of the war and expressed a formal apology to other nations for the first time. Nevertheless, the Japanese government has been taking a cold attitude toward individuals who ask for personal compensation. I also feel that we Japanese should strongly request our government to apologize and compensate other nations which suffered as a result of Japanese invasion.
As you mentioned, it is true that Japan were violent in their invasions of Asian countries during the war. Especially against the Chinese, Japan committed atrocities called the three point strategy: burn, plunder, and murder to exhaust. The 731 corps developed biological weapons and experimented with them against the Chinese. It is also becoming clear that many chemical weapons were used in China. I cannot forgive these evil acts as a human being, and my heart breaks to know what a heavy sin Japan committed against other nations.
Although I am critical of the irresponsible attitude of our government, I do need to say that nuclear weapons are entirely different from conventional weapons. As an A-bomb survivor, I can assert this.
From the time America dropped two A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, human beings entered the nuclear age, a new age where people have to live in constant fear of human annihilation. In this respect, the dropping of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki should not be considered a single act of war. The damage caused to Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows that nuclear weapons will determine the continued existence of mankind.
There will be no time to discuss who started the war or who is to blame for it when all the people disappear from the earth. Please understand this point and please understand the purpose of our nuclear weapon abolition movement.
As you know, India and Pakistan became new nuclear powers and it is feared that North Korea and the Middle Eastern nations may also soon have nuclear weapons.
Once again, we are in a situation with a threat of nuclear dispersion. As an A-bomb survivor, I earnestly hope that we can all join hands to achieve nuclear disarmament.
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|I have explored this web site with interest. Although the argument sounds simplistic, I think that there is a deep truth in the prescription: “Don’t start wars”.
One of the key causes of wars has been overlooked in the material and commentary on this page — so far, in the history of the world, no two DEMOCRACIES have ever gone to war with each other. The reason, perhaps, is that democracies have to “sell” their actions to the citizens, who have the least to gain and most to lose from war.
Wars are nearly always started by military dictatorships, who can ignore the interests of ordinary citizens. There is a fairly large literature on this subject — check out the “Journal of Democracy” for starters.
Perhaps the best way to insure that wars are not started in the future is to work for democratic government and human rights today.
Despite the emotional arguments on these pages, I think that no one today seriously believes that Japan would start a future war — and the reason is that Japan is now a democracy where free and open discussion can take place, and the government must answer to the populace for its actions.
I would like to remind participants that criticism of Japan’s role in starting W.W.II is criticism of the imperalist militaristic government that ruled with an iron fist, in Japan as well as abroad; NOT criticism of the Japanese people.
|Importance of Political Awareness; Citizen’s Must Share Responsibility for Their Leaders.
|Thank you very much for your valued comment. As you have mentioned, I also believe that war is caused by the few leaders who are selfish enough to ignore the opinions of their citizens. This means that leaders are in extremely powerful positions. However, it must also be emphasized that the leaders cannot rule their countries without the support of their citizens. In other words, it is the citizens who will determine the performance and the future of their leaders. Therefore, the citizens must always be politically aware and ensure that they elect the right leaders who will work for their people. In this sense, I agree with your opinion that the people have to work hard to establish a democratic government and fight for human rights.
I do wish that politics would not be abused by certain autocrats. Politics must be based on the human dignity and it must focus on the benefiting the people. Moreover, politics should contribute to preventing the outbreak of wars and to solving all sorts of problems in the world, such as hunger, poverty, overpopulation, and pollution. I would like to join hands with you to change our world into a better place!
INDEX（War on the side of aggressors and victims）
|Taking Responsibility for Our Actions.
|I was born in Kure-City, Hiroshima Prefecture and currently live in the SF Bay Area. I was lucky enough to come across your and the A-bomb web-site.
I had the chance to read other visitors comments regarding the Web-site, and to tell you the truth, some what saddened by many of the comments.
One visitor insisted that if Japan didn’t want the Bomb dropped on her, then she shouldn’t have started the War. Well, I feel that two wrongs do not make right and on top of that, the purpose of the web-page, I don’t think, was not to justify what Japan did or to attack US for dropping the bomb.
There’s a need for Web-sites or information regarding A-bombs in general, Hiroshima and Nagasaki experience, Pearl Harbor experience, the Japanese American Internment experience, the Jewish experience in the Concentration Camps, etc.
These topics are all valid subjects for different web-pages. It is unfair to criticize one by stating that you got what you got because of what you did first, therefore, you have no room to talk about it.
I hope that people understand, that most Japanese people know what they or their ancestors did during WWI and WWII. However, whether they like to admit it or talk about it, varies with the individual.
Often, it is told that, we (Young Japanese) do not know our History, because we are not taught accurate information. This angers me because of the fact that most Japanese know what we have done. Yes, it makes us uncomfortable to speak about it, but that doesn’t mean that we do not know about it or we do not feel remorse.
And if I was to use the argument of the other visitor, I can always say. The Americans have no room to talk about the omittance of Japanese war crimes from our text books, when the Americans omit African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American and other minority group contribution to the building of the US of A.
Although I do not believe that this argument is valid, to that particular visitor, it should be very valid.
We all need to take responsibility for our actions. We cannot place or replace the blame on someone else by saying but you did this first or you did something else that was much worse. The fact is we did what we did, and we cannot deny it. And they did what they did and they cannot deny it either.
|We Shall Not Repeat the Evil.
|Thank you very much for your valued comment. As you have pointed out, when talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki we cannot avoid the argument about “who started the war”, and therefore about whether “the use of atomic bombs was inevitable and justified”. However, if the argument stops here, there will never be a solution nor compromise between the two countries. I also agree with what you wrote in your last two lines about there being two truths–that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and that America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan.
I think it is important for both sides to admit what they did, to reconsider the past and future, and to take action to prevent the reoccurrence of tragic nuclear wars. And in order to take action, we must recognize the truth. In this respect, not only the atomic-bomb victims, but also all people who have suffered as a result of war must speak of their experiences to others. The mass media and educators should take the initiative in informing people of the facts. People who rightly brlieve in peace must get together and work together for world peace.
I have been recounting my experience of the A-bomb to students who visit Hiroshima, hoping that Japan will never start warfare again and that nuclear weapons will never be used again. In my talk, I never forget to explain the meaning of the epitaph on the A-bomb cenotaph. The epitaph—Please rest in peace; for we shall not repeat the evil —is an oath that all the people who visit this memorial must swear. I also believe the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are responsible in sending this message to the world. Even when I travel abroad, I talk about the epitaph, hoping that this prayer will cross every border and resound eternally.
As a person who was born in Hiroshima, I believe that we can achieve and maintain peace if each of us makes the most of his or her ability. I would love to join hands with you, too!