December 16, 2001 Seeking Justice, Reconciliation and Peace for the 21st Century In the first half of the last century, Japan invaded China, Korea, Philippines and many other Asian countries, inflicting great suffering and grief upon people. On this very day 64 years ago, the massacre, raping and looting of Chinese in Nanjing by Japanese soldiers were going on. Within 6 weeks, 350,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers were slaughtered in the Nanking Massacre. However, in Japan, 64 years has passed without sincere confrontation with its past aggression .
We have gathered in Hong Kong from all over the world and held the Witnessing Forum on Japanese Atrocities in the Asia-Pacific War. Survivors of Japanese atrocities from different countries, redress supporters, lawyers, scholars, and people who have been living with pains of aggression, came together for discussion. We heard testimonies from survivors of military sexual slavery, Nanjing Massacre , biological and chemical warfare, forced labours, POW abuses and many other war crimes and crimes against humanity. We heard also confessions of repentant perpetrators including former soldier of the infamous Unit 731. After half a century, wounds of Japanese atrocities still continue to inflict immensely. In the 1990’s, these victims filed lawsuits against Japanese government and corporations and demanded formal apology and compensation. However, the Japanese government insists the redress issue has been already resolved. Judges in Japan have consistently been dismissing charges one after another claiming lack of jurisdiction while they recommend resolving these redress issues by political solution, i.e. by parliamentary legislation.
We fully support the demand of war victims who have been looking for justice and the recovery of human dignity.
We fully support that a full accounting for the Asia-Pacific War is imperative when ruling elements of the Japanese Government foster collective amnesia and ultra-nationalistic citizens engage in denial, justification and whitewashing of Japanese war crimes committed in the first half of the 20th century
We like to extend our sympathy and friendship toward the people of Japan and of Japanese descent elsewhere, for they too have been victims of Japan's militarism.
We invite all people of goodwill to join in our endeavor to bring justice to the victims of Japanese atrocities, foster reconciliation and peace in the 21st century.
These are our minimal demands based on our goals:
That through resolution and/or legislation passed by the Parliament of Japan, the Government of Japan must:
Offer an official and unequivocal apology acknowledging the commission of atrocities in China, Korea and other Asian countries and Pacific states during the Asia-Pacific War
Authorize full disclosure and preservation of documents relating to this dark chapter of history
Mandate inclusion and teaching at all levels of schooling lessons of humanity learned from Japan’s wars of aggression and its related war crime issues in the first half of the 20th century
1) all identified surviving victims and surviving family members of the deceased victims, and
2) victims whose properties were looted and/or destroyed.
Amend all statutory limitations under Japanese laws to make them non-applicable to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Japanese Imperial Forces during the Asia-Pacific War such that victims could seek due redress in the courts of Japan.
Provide funding for the creation of a memorial museum in Tokyo dedicated to commemoration and remembrance of war victims of the Asia-Pacific War
and to prevent future wars of aggression.
Outlaw public denial of war crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Forces, prosecute the living Japanese war criminals that have escaped international war crime trials after the end of the war, remove relics of all war criminals now enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine and prohibit honoring and worshiping of war criminals in that Shrine or any other religious establishments of national significance.
Establish a national day of remembrance for victims of the Asia-Pacific War.
Return all looted national treasures, including cultural and historical relics.
Honor the "military monetary certificates" issued by the Japanese occupational authorities for which people of victimized countries were forced to exchange their national currencies with due interest payment and adjustment for inflation.
Only when Japan sincerely acknowledges and works toward discharging its post war responsibilities as set forth in our minimal demands is Japan ready to become a responsible and respectable member of the international community, including becoming a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Council.
We also appeal to governments of all victimized countries to actively support the redress demands from the Japanese government for the victim survivors and to conscientiously educate this chapter of history to younger generations so as to prevent such tragedies from repeating.
We believe unless with the presence of justice, world peace will never be achieved.
Adopted at the Witnessing Forum on Japanese Atrocities in the Asia-Pacific War on December 16, 2001