War criminals honoured in Japan

This video from South Korea says about itself:

Korean gov’t expresses regret over Japanese politicians’ visit to Yasukuni Shrine

15 August 2016

Today also marks the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War Two.

Some Japanese politicians chose to mark the occasion by paying their respects to the controversial Yasukuni shrine honoring class A war criminals.

Park Ji-won has more on that and the Korean government’s response. Marking the seventy-first anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II,… Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual donation to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine,… instead of visiting in person.

The shrine honors Japan’s war dead,… including more than a dozen Class-A war criminals.

It’s the fourth straight year Abe has decided to stay away on this anniversary, choosing instead to send donations.

However, dozens of Japanese politicians and lawmakers paid their respects at the shrine during the day.

Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda was one of them,… and Japan’s Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura paid a visit last Thursday.

The Korean government expressed deep concern and regret over both the visits and Abe‘s donations.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho June-hyuck urged Japanese politicians to sincerely reflect on history… and act upon their reflections… to earn the trust of neighboring countries.

Meanwhile,… Japanese Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both spoke at a memorial service marking the 71-year anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Emperor Akihito expressed deep remorse over the past world war,… saying he hopes the ravages of war will never be repeated. “When I look back on the sufferings and tribulations of the past, I cannot help but bear in mind the feelings of deep remorse.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said he will do his best to never repeat the atrocities of war,… but he did not mention Japan’s actions during wartime nor did he express regret or apologize to the victims. …

On this day back in 1945,.. Japan declared its surrender,… which ended the Second World War,… but the psychological trauma and physical damage to neighboring countries, including Korea and China,… still run deep,… even more than seven decades later.

Park Ji-won, Arirang News.

By Ben Cowles:

The problem with the Yasukuni Shrine

Wednesday 31st August 2016

BEN COWLES writes about Japan’s controversial ‘war criminal’ shrine and the delusional alternative history lesson inside it

EARLIER this month marked the 71st anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the allied powers and the end of the World War II.

On August 15 1945, six days after the second of the US’s atomic bombs had been dropped on Nagasaki, killing some 40,000 people, the empire of Japan surrendered unconditionally.

Perhaps because of the controversy surrounding the atomic bombs, Victory Over Japan day is not remembered with the same righteous and patriotic verve as D-day — well that or maybe because it falls in the middle of summer no-one cares to remember it.

The day has special significance in both North and South Korea as with the Japanese surrender came Korea’s independence — which was still a united country at the time.

I lived over in South Korea for the best part of a decade, and though I can’t say I remember people doing much in the way to celebrate, I’m sure the president and various other dignitaries must have some sort of an official ceremony; everyone else just has the day off from their 12-hour workday grind.

In Japan, however, the day goes by an altogether more sombre name: End-of-the-war Day. Though not a public holiday, the Japanese Prime Minister usually does hold an official ceremony, one which ends up enraging most of east Asia — particularly the Koreas, Taiwan and China which tend to respond by issuing stern statements and occasionally pulling out of diplomatic meetings.

However, the anger is not so much aimed at the fact that the Japanese government commemorates their war dead, but more to do with where they decide to commemorate them. And that place is called Yasukuni shrine, a grand Shinto temple located in the middle of Tokyo and not far from the emperor’s official digs.

This year was slightly different however as the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his defence minister decided to forgo a visit to Yasukuni Shrine, though Abe did send an aide in his place, two other cabinet ministers, his brother, and around 70 lawmakers.

Despite the Prime Minister’s absence, the South Korean foreign ministry issued a statement expressing “deep concern and regret” over the visits and urged Japan to show “humble self-reflection and sincere remorse for its past wrongdoings.”

China’s foreign ministry also urged the Japanese government to “earnestly face up to history and reflect on its past aggressive history, and properly handle related issues in a responsible manner.”

The “related issues” probably refer to the uninhabited islands in the South China Sea that the two countries are currently squabbling over.

Making matters worse is the fact that the newly appointed Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada has in the past denied the Nanjing massacre ever happened, downplayed her country’s role in forcing Korean women to sexually service Japanese soldiers, and questioned the legitimacy of the Tokyo war crimes tribunal.

One of the things that both fascinated and depressed me about Korea while I was living there was the venom regular South Koreans express towards Japan and the fact that, unlike in Europe, the governments of South Korea, China and Japan have never properly buried the hatchets of the second world war.

Around two years ago, while visiting some old friends in Tokyo, I decided to visit Yasukuni in the hopes of figuring out what the controversy surrounding the shrine is all about.

There are thousands of similar shrines dotted around Tokyo, so why should this place of quiet worship enrage so many in the Far East whenever Japanese dignitaries visit it?

Well, that’s probably down to the alternative history lesson inside the shrine’s museum, and the fact that around a thousand souls of the roughly two million enshrined within Yasukuni were executed as war criminals.

Obviously, the shrine wasn’t originally built as an exclusive graveyard for war criminals. It was actually constructed in 1869 to honour those who died during the complicated series of uprisings and civil bloodshed known to history as the Boshin war — thankfully Hollywood has simplified the whole convoluted affair for us all in the Last Samurai by having a white US guy (played by Tom Cruise) save the day yet again.

Ever since it was built the shrine has been used, in its own words, to “commemorate those who dedicated their precious lives to their mother country.”

I’d question whether all those who “dedicated their lives” — ie died for the whims of the ruling classes — did so entirely of their own free will.

The grounds at Yasukuni are peacefully theatrical. The huge iron gates that lead up to the shrine are particularly impressive. While I was there, I overheard a Korean camera crew filming the shrine and wondered how impartial their report was likely to be.

People were praying silently and my blissful ignorance left me quite at ease.

It was only when I walked into the museum, however, that I began to see where the controversy surrounding Yasukuni stems from.

The museum is distorted by wild and unblinking patriotism — not unlike museums in London, Washington, Paris, etc. It starts off by displaying all the fascinating samurai gear you’d hope to see, but then leaps to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and describes the start of Japan’s overseas empire.

One display shows the Western superpowers encircling Japan, implying that empire was forced upon it, which, to be honest, is probably true.

However all the descriptions of what led up to the east Asia war (as the second world war is called in Japan), the annexation of Korea, the creation of Manchuria, the seizing of Hong Kong and Singapore, the bombing of Pearl Harbour etc, are all incredibly vague. Of course, not a word is mentioned of the massacres at Nanking, Singapore or Manila, slave labour, human experimentation or sexual exploitation.

The most delusional display in the whole museum is a map of Asia that has on it the dates, flags and portraits of all the independence leaders in the region — including Gandhi, Aung Su and Tunku Abdul Rahman. And under this is this quote: “In the early stages of the east Asia war, Japan’s victories inspired the rest of Asia to gain independence from the Western superpowers.”

I wondered what people from Korea, Manchuria, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia, etc, would think of that? Had they not tried to overthrow their European oppressors before the Japanese imperial army showed up? What about the Boxer, Sepoy, Moro and countless other rebellions?

Of course Japan is not the only country in the world with museums, education systems, governments, corporations and media dedicated to the propagation of selective, censored or deluded histories. Untold numbers of people were sold into slavery, butchered, raped, oppressed and bombed into oblivion so that we in the West may live in the opulence their natural resources and cheap labour have provided us.

Yet all that is swept under the rug so that we may focus on the evil doings of people and cultures different from our way of life.

After taking a good long gander at a kamikaze plane, imagining the final moments of the pilot’s life and the intense horrors of their targets, I had to escape the unbound nationalistic nonsense of Yasukuni and head back into the neon-jungle wonderland of Tokyo.

Korean survivors of Japanese sex slavery sue government

This video from South Korea says about itself:

Arirang Special: “Comfort Women“: One Last Cry

This documentary aims to highlight the issue of “Comfort Women” or girls forced into sex slavery by the Japanese Army during World War II as grave violation of human rights that affected AND continues to affect women all across Asia and Europe.

The film begins in South Korea and moves on to meet victims in Wuhan, China, Shanghai, the Philippines and Australia.

It was aired on March 1st, 2013 on Arirang TV, Korea’s only global network

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Victims sue Seoul for sex-slavery deal

Wednesday 31st August 2016

SOUTH KOREA: Twelve victims of sex slavery at the hands of the Japanese army in WWII said yesterday they will sue the government over its settlement with Tokyo.

The so-called “comfort women” filed a lawsuit against the government for signing the agreement with Tokyo even though Japan refuses to acknowledge formal legal responsibility for the slavery.

Each of them is seeking 100 million won (£68,000), the same sum Japan has offered them in compensation.

Japanese government’s small compensation for forced prostitution survivors

This video says about itself:

South Korea: ‘Comfort women‘ foundation launched amid protests

28 July 2016

South Korean police have forcibly removed students protesting against the launch of a foundation for women used as sex slaves during the Second World War.

The centre’s been set up as part of an agreement to try to end years of anger over the so-called ‘comfort women.’

Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Comfort women get just £68,000 in compensation

Friday 26th August 2016

SOUTH KOREAN women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army in World War II will receive a mere £68,000 in compensation, announced Seoul’s Foreign Ministry yesterday.

The 46 living victims are eligible to receive some 100 million won from a foundation that the Japanese government has agreed to fund providing that Seoul refrains from criticising Japan over the issue.

The families of 199 deceased victims — abducted and sent to Imperial Japanese Army slave brothels to become “comfort women” — will get 20m won (£13,500).

The ministry said it expected Japan to transfer 1 billion yen (£7.5m) to the foundation set up last month.

The opening of the foundation’s office in Seoul was met by protests as many people in South Korea believe the government settled for far too little in talks between the two nations last December.

Japan has yet to grant compensation to North Korean or Chinese victims.

Japanese pro-nazi revisionist now ‘defence’ minister

Pictures from Japanese neo-Nazi Kazunari Yamada’s website show him posing with Shinzo Abe’s internal affairs minister, Sanae Takaichi, and his party’s then policy chief, Tomomi Inada

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Abe gives military brief to war crimes apologist

Thursday 4th August 2016

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe risked upsetting regional neighbours yesterday by naming as defence minister Tomomi Inada, who has excused her country’s war crimes.

Ms Inada, a former minister for regulatory reform who most recently held one of the top posts in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, replaced Gen Nakatani as defence minister.

Mr Nakatani was notorious for pressing for Japan to have a pre-emptive strike capability.

The new defence minister is a regular at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honours war dead, including convicted war criminals.

Ms Inada has excused Japan’s wartime atrocities, including forcing many Asian women into sexual slavery in military-run brothels, and has headed a party committee to re-evaluate the judgement of Allied war tribunals.

Her link to a notorious anti-Korean group was acknowledged by a court this year in a defamation case she lost.

She was also seen posing with neonazi group leader Kazunari Yamada in a 2011 photo that surfaced in the media in 2014.

With ministers like Ms Inada, ‘defence minister’ sounds more than ever like an euphemism for war minister.

In the wake of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) gains in last month’s upper house election, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday in a move that presages further steps towards remilitarisation and pro-market restructuring. The most significant promotion was that of Tomomi Inada to the post of defence minister. Inada, a protégé of Abe, is well known for her extreme right-wing nationalist views. Although in parliament for just 11 years, she has already been mentioned as a possible future prime minister: here.

Emperor Akihito suggested he be allowed to abdicate and indirectly implied opposition to remilitarization and constitutional revision: here.

Japanese mass murderer of disabled people is neo-nazi

This video says about itself:

New Nationalism: Far-right voices get louder in Japan

10 January 2014

Some parts of Japanese society want to drag the pacifist nation to the right. Nationalist groups are growing louder in their calls for the country to take a harder line against enemies home and abroad.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Japanese murderer tied up hospital workers

Today, 12:42 …

More gruesome details have been published about the way the Japanese man who stabbed nineteen disabled people to death proceeded. Satoshi Uematsu first tied hospital workers so that he could proceed undisturbed. …


The perpetrator had neo-Nazi sympathies. His last tweet pointed in that direction, says correspondent Kjeld Duits. He wrote: “Beautiful Japan”. That’s a code word for nationalists who want to return to pre-war Japan,” says German.

In February Uematsu pleaded in a letter to parliament for euthanasia for the disabled. He wrote that he wanted to “help” in that and named the name of the clinic.

After this he was himself admitted to an institution. There he is said to have said that he supports the ideology of Hitler. He thought eugenics was a good idea. That is genetic ‘improvement’ of human beings. Based on that idea the nazis have killed tens of thousands of disabled people in the Second World War.

Uematsu was in the psychiatric ward only for a short time. The doctors thought soon he was well again.