Plan of the Symposiums on the 70th Anniversary of Nanjing Incident


OYAMA Hiroshi

Japanese Lawyer

                    Head of the Defense Counsel for the Lawsuits of Chinese War Victims


1. Right Wing Trends in Japan


In Japan the right wing trends have come to carry influence over politics since 1990.  Especially since Junichiro Koizumi became the Prime Minister, the trend has become more powerful.  Prime Minister Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine have damaged the relationship between Japan and China, and also between Japan and Korea to the greatest extent in these years, as is well known.

As for the school textbooks, every textbook used to mention "comfort women," sex slavery by Japanese Army in World War II.  At present, however, school textbooks have no statement on historical facts of Japanese wrongdoing.  Textbooks also tend to justify the Asian and Pacific War from 1931 to 1945.

Not only textbooks but also books and articles were published to say that there was no Nanjing Incident at all. From this point of view, lawsuits are being raised against people, (for instance, the lawsuit on defamation of character against Ri Shuei, the similar lawsuit against Ka Shukukin, the lawsuit on defamation of character against Katsuichi Honda for writing about One Hundred Slaughters Incident.)

Concentrated attack is made concerning Nanjing Massacre because the right wing people think that if they only could cross out Nanjing Incident, they can erase every inhuman behaviors of Japanese Army during World War II.  Right wing people think this Incident is the most important key in beautifying the past wars. 

At school, hoisting Rising-Sun Flags and playing and singing Kimigayo are forced on pupils and teachers.  At Tokyo many teachers are dismissed for not standing up and singing Kimigayo.  This kind of compulsion violates the freedom of thought, principle and religion, for pupils and teachers, and it also violates academic freedom of teachers.  Education of freedom and democracy is becoming impossible.  (Article 19 and Article 20 of The Constitution of Japan and also Article 18 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for the right of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. Article 61 of Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers guarantees the academic freedom of teachers.  Education for freedom and democracy is guaranteed by Article 13 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.)

At schools in Japan, there are not a few Christians among pupils and teachers.  Quite a number of Korean and North Korean residents, Chinese and other residents also go to school in Japan, but the government does not have any consideration for them.

Compulsion of Rising-Sun Flag and Kimigayo is considered the most important tool for implanting patriotic spirit into children.  This kind of implanting patriotism means teaching children falsely that Japan was just in waging the past war, and making children proud of what Japanese people did.  That is to cover up the past wrong doings and to justify the war.  In the center of these ideas there is the discriminatory prewar ideology that Japan is "a nation of a god succeeded through the unbroken line of emperors," which is totally unfounded and nourished by a narrow-minded sense of superiority.  These ideas, together with excessive confidence in the economic and technological powers of Japan, make these people assume an arrogant attitude towards the people in China, Korea and Southeast Asian countries.  

Quite recently a former teacher was invited to the graduation ceremony.  He appealed to the parents before the ceremony that the ceremony in which the teachers are punished for not standing up for Kimigayo is quite extraordinary, and he pleaded with them not to stand up and sing Kimigayo.  He was prosecuted for saying that and was found guilty at Tokyo District Court for forcible obstruction of business. 

Not only at school but also at many places people cannot say what they think freely.  It is quite deplorable that Japan can not be said to be a country of democracy. 

In the lawsuits of Chinese war victims, many judgments recognize the fact of wrongdoings of Japan but deny the legal responsibility.  It is totally against the legal justice that the judgments dismiss the appeals while they recognize the wrongdoings of Japanese government and army in the past.  The courts toe the Government's line obediently.  It is likely that the courts are also influenced by the right wing trend.  They are, however, not accepted by international society.


2. Plan of the Symposiums on the 70th Anniversary of Nanjing Incident


We history scholars, NGO people and lawyers, are thinking of holding a series of symposiums in Japan, China, USA, Singapore, other Asian countries, Germany and U.K. from September through December in 2007.

The objectives of the symposiums are as follows:

Firstly, as I stated, the Nanjing Massacre is the target of attack by right wing politicians and scholars as well as by not a few public people.  Therefore, it is necessary to restrain this trend.  The success of the above mentioned overseas symposiums will help to open people's eyes open towards global views.  We think that the symposiums in Japan need to gather important scholars and highly educated people. They will also be of benefit to universities in Japan which could offer lectures by international experts. The survivors of wrongdoings by Japanese government and military should also be invited to participate in our events.                

Secondly, we take up the Nanjing Incident because it is a symbolic incident of inhuman, violent acts by Japanese government and military during World War II. As we take up the incident as a symbol, we will also take up the massacre in Singapore when we hold a symposium in Singapore.

Thirdly, this kind of symposium will promote mutual understanding and friendship among the citizens in China, Japan and other Asian countries.  It will help to improve the political relations, which are said to have become quite "cold" between Japan and China and also between Japan and Korea.  Building up friendly relations between Japan and China and also between Japan and Korea could promote political stability, economic cooperation, and joint effort for solving environmental issues.

Fourthly, mankind experienced two tragic world wars and resolved not to make another war. Nevertheless, we have wars and racial as well as religious disputes across the world, resulting in massacres and mass destruction.  Humanity heartily wishes that in the 21st century  massacres and mass destruction should no longer happen.  In order to accomplish that, each nation, each people, and each tribe should acknowledge one's wrong-doings, apologize sincerely, and compensate for those wrong-doings. Only that will dissolve mutual misunderstanding and distrust, and help to build up true reconciliation.

It will be really profitable, in accomplishing humanity's wish, that people in Japan should refresh their memories of the Nanjing Incident and other violent deeds, analyzing their true causes. If we could do that, and make the people, including the government, think the same way, we would be a good model of humanity along with the people in Germany.

We fully realize that there would be challenges in holding this kind of symposiums successfully. We would like to overcome the difficulties and succeed in holding the symposiums. We firmly believe that the success of the symposiums will bring an enormous impact on the making of a peaceful world.