To view articles in English only, click HERE. 日本語投稿のみを表示するにはここをクリック。点击此处观看中文稿件한국어 투고 Follow Twitter ツイッターは@PeacePhilosophy and Facebook ★投稿内に断り書きがない限り、当サイトの記事の転載は許可が必要です。このブログの右サイドバーにある Contact Us フォームで連絡ください。Re-posting from this blog requires permission unless otherwise specified. Please use the Contact Us form in the right side-bar to contact us.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kyoto Journal's Interview Article

Kyoto Journal's writer Jean Miyake Downey did an interview article with me.

KJ Online Special
“We Need to Eliminate War in Our Own Minds” – An interview with Satoko Norimatsu of Vancouver Save Article 9

http://www.kyotojournal.org/kjback/72/Norimatsu.html


The topics covered include Article 9, peace education, the Open Letter action, historical reconciliation in Asia, nuclear abolition, etc. The article, to me, has become a lot bigger than Jean and myself. Getting to know and working with Jean has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Jean Downey is a writer who has written the following articles for Japan Focus:

Into the Atomic Sunshine: Shinya Watanabe’s New York and Tokyo Exhibition on Post-War Art Under Article 9

Satsuki Ina's From a Silk Cocoon, Japanese-American Incarceration Resistance Narratives, and the Post 9/11 Era Satsuki Ina's From a Silk Cocoon, Japanese-American Incarceration Resistance Narratives, and the Post 9/11 Era


Also, I was happy that she found a Japan Times article about late Shuichi Kato, whose influence is always behind everything I do.

Pacifist, cultural critic Kato remembered

Love and peace,

Satoko

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hashima/Gunkanjima Island and Its History

Hashima Island, or "Gunkanjima(Battleship) Island" as it is commonly called as its shape resembles that of a battleship, has been available for visitors to land on for the first time in 35 years, after the extensive restoration work done by the City of Nagasaki to make the island into a new tourist site. Hashima Island was built on the rock reef off the coast of Nagasaki, in order to provide a base for coal mining. Hashima Coal Mine was one of the major coal mines by Mitsubishi, and provided coal that fueled the fast economic development of the Meiji Period. However, the structural change in the energy industry in the 1960's from coal to petroleum led many of the coal mines to close, including Hashima. Residents quickly left, and all that was left were empty concrete buildings, and the whole island was abandoned. Michinori Sakamoto, President of the "Association to make Gunkanjima Island into a World Heritage site" says the island "symbolizes the warning from the future of the human kind, after we consumed all resources on this Earth." Tomohiro Shinkai, a board member of Oka Masaharu Peace Memorial Museum, the only peace museum in Japan that specializes in Japanese war crimes and colonizations in the fellow Asian countries, suggests that there is an important perspective missing in the glossy pamphlets that Nagasaki City made for prospective visitors to the Island.

"What we should not forget when we talk about Hashima Island is the fact that some 500 Korean and 200 Chinese forced labourers worked at this coal mine," Shinkai wrote in the July 2009 edition of "Nishizaka Dayori," Oka Masaharu Museum's newsletter. Suh Jeong Woo, who was taken from his home in Korea to work in Hashima when he was 14 years old, tells his story: "There were 7 or 8 of us in a small room, with each one of us given an area smaller than one tatami mattress. We had to start working on the next day of the arrival. I had severe diarrhea, and my health deteriorated fast. But if I took a break, I was taken to a manager's office and got beaten there.... I thought many times that I would jump into the ocean to die. Many of my colleagues committed suicide, or drowned after trying to escape by swimming to the nearest shore. People call Hashima 'Gunkanjima,' but to me, it was 'Kangoku' (prison) Island, with no hope of escaping."

Shinkai heard that in the briefing for Gunkanjima guides, it was suggested that they would not refer to the issue of forced labour in their guiding. The government wanted to stress the island as heritage site for tourism and industrialism. They want the Island to be registered as a World Heritage, so would not want that part of the Island's history to be highlighted. Shinkai sees a similarity between this and another fact. Once, Nagasaki City Peace Promotion Association told the Nagasaki hibakusha that they should only focus on their atomic-bomb experience and should not talk about Japan's war of aggression or their atrocities in Asia. Just as we cannot think about the a-bomb issue separated from the context of the whole war, we cannot separate the history of forced labour in talking about Hashima Island. Shinkai expects Nagasaki City to manage its tourism while it squarely faces its history. "What is being tested is the historical consciousness of Nagasaki City and the people of Nagasaki in how they understand and present the history of Hashima Island," Shinkai concludes.

A summary by Satoko Norimatsu of the article "The Past Exposed by'Gunkanjima Island"' by Tomohiro Shinkai. The article appeared in the July 2009 edition of "Nishizaka Dayori," a newsletter issued by Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum in Nagasaki City. The Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Tour visits Nagasaki from August 7 to 10 and will visit this museum, as well as many of the city's A-bomb related facilities.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Tour Will Begin Soon

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Study Tour 2009 will take place from August 1 to 10. 6 Canadian students(1 from the University of British Columbia; 2 from Simon Fraser's University; 2 from Royal Roads University; 1 from Langara College) will join the 20 students from Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto and 14 from American University, Washington, D.C.

広島長崎平和学習の旅が8月1-10日の旅程で今年も始まります。カナダからは6人の学生(ブリティッシュコロンビア大学1人、サイモンフレーザー大学1人、ロイヤルローズ大学2人、ランガラカレッジ1人)が参加し、立命館大学の20人、アメリカン大学の14人とともに学びます。

Our reporting event will take place on October 3, 2009, in Vancouver. Details will be announced on this blog.

この旅の報告イベントを10月3日(土)に開催します。詳細はまたこのブログでご案内します。

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Clarification of Our Messages in the Open Letter

One thing I would like to make clear regarding the Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress of Japan is that we did NOT ask the Emperor for an apology. Some media reports made it sound like we did, but nowhere in the letter we asked him to apologize. Our intention of the letter, instead, was to support his efforts for peace.

To elaborate, the main messages of the Letter are:

- First and foremost, we warmly welcome the Japanese Imperial couple to Canada, a country with a rich diversity of communities and beautiful nature.

- We introduce ourselves as Canadian organizations with different backgrounds, working together to create peace in Northeast Asia.

- We regret that there are non-reconciliatory responses from Japan to the global community’s efforts to help bring healing and justice to the war crime victims of WWII in the Asia-Pacific regions.

- We would like to see redress offered by the Japanese government to the victims of China, Korea, the Philippines, and all the other countries and regions where Japan’s military committed war crimes.

- We are appreciative of how much the Emperor and Empress demonstrated a commitment to peace and history issues, including their paying tribute to the Korean victims’ monument in Saipan, and their visits to China and Okinawa.

- We would like to appeal for their continued efforts to help bring healing and justice to the victims of the Asia-Pacific War, and for their support of the endeavours to keep Article 9 intact in the spirit of peace.


Satoko Norimatsu
Peace Philosophy Centre

Monday, July 13, 2009

JCCA The Bulletin/Geppo Reports Press Conference

JCCA the Bulletin/Geppo reports the July 9th, 2009 Press Conference regarding the Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress of Japan, who are visiting Vancouver from July 12 to 14. Tatsuo Kage, historian and human rights activist and one of the signatories representing JCCA wrote this article, which will be in the August edition of the Bulletin. Click on the image for a larger view.







Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress and Press Conference

On July 9, 2009, 8 organizations in Vancouver (those dedicated to peace causes and those representing some Asian-Canadian groups), including Peace Philosophy Centre, presented an Open Letter to the Japanese Emperor and Empress who are currently visiting Canada. Their visit to Vancouver is from July 12 to 14. The letter asks the Imperial couple for their support for our endeavours to keep Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and to help bring healing and justice to the victims of the Asia-Pacific War. A press conference was successfully held at the BCTF building in Vancouver, attended by 16 media. See at the end of this post for the full text of the Open Letter.

Kyodo News Agency reported the event immediately and the news was run in newspapers across Japan.

See here for the full text of the Kyodo news in Japanese and an English translation.

My friend and peacemaker Eiji Yoshikawa in Japan reported the event on his website, with photos.

The press conference was attended by the following media: Canadian Press/All Media Group/Metro Vancouver/CTV/CBC French/CBC News (Radio)/City TV/Vancouver Korean Press/Omni TV/Vancouver Shinpo/Media Q/Slangan Philippines News & Views/Sing Tao Daily/Fairchild TV/World Journal Daily/Global Chinese Press/CHMB AM1320

Here are links to the CBC , OmniTV and ALL TV news.

Here is my clarification that we did NOT ask the Emperor to apologize.
私たちはこの公開書簡で明仁天皇に謝罪を求めてはいません。一部の報道でそのような印象を与えていますが、それは間違っています。この書簡は天皇の平和への尽力を支持し応援するためのものです。説明および、書簡の本文(英語)をお読みくださればわかります。

Here is ALPHA's summary of media reports, with a link to the photo album.

Here is Tatsuo Kage's article in the August Edition of JCCA the Bulletin/Geppo with a detailed summary of the letter in Japanese. 日本語による報告、書簡の要約はこちらをどうぞ。

Below is full text of the Open Letter. (The only official letter is the one in English. There is Chinese translation, but there is no Japanese translation. この公開書簡はカナダの公用語である英語によるものだけを提出しました。中国語訳はありますが、日本語訳はありません。日本語訳が自主的にされている場合がありますが、公式なものではありません)

******************************************************
Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan
c/o Consulate-General of Japan in Vancouver
800-1177 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
V6E 2K9

By Fax: 604-687-2236

July 9, 2009

Your Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan,

We are writing to you as some representatives of groups of Canadians that make up the rich diversity of this country: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and European. We hope you enjoyed your visit to Eastern Canada, and we would like to extend you our warm welcome to Vancouver, Canada’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific region.

With so many immigrants from all parts of Asia, we believe that Canada is an ideal place from which to promote peace and understanding among the Asia-Pacific nations. For example, Japanese-Canadians, along with people from other cultural heritages, have been working to raise awareness of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Here in Vancouver, one of the first Article 9 groups outside of Japan raised funds to send Canadian delegates to the world’s first Global Article 9 Conference held in Chiba, Japan.

As Canadians with Asian connections, we also work together to heal the wounds of Japanese aggressions in the Asia-Pacific region before and during the Second World War, and to learn from the history of devastating wars to create a peaceful future together. For example, every year a group of Canadian educators travels to China and Korea to learn about the history of the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945), including the Nanjing Massacre and Japan’s military sex slavery system. A group of Canadian students also travels to Japan every summer to learn about the history of atomic-bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and these educators and students share their learning with the wider community when they return. Our aim is never to foster bitterness toward a specific country or group of people; instead, our goal is to create an environment for open-minded learning that transcends national borders and cultural differences.

While our educational activities have been well-received among communities in Canada, Asia and beyond, we have witnessed many non-reconciliatory responses from Japan to the global community’s efforts to help bring healing and justice to the war crime victims of this tragic chapter of history. The Japanese Parliament has yet to pass a resolution that fully admits and apologizes for Japan’s responsibility for the loss and suffering of the victims of the Asia-Pacific War, or to pass laws that stipulate compensation to those victims.

Canada is among the nations that are concerned with these issues. On November 28, 2007 the Canadian House of Commons unanimously passed a motion urging the Japanese government to take full responsibility for the involvement of the Japanese Imperial Forces in the system of forced "comfort women”, to offer a formal and sincere apology to these women, and to continue to address those who are affected in the spirit of reconciliation. Although Canada as a nation has not been perfect in addressing its own past wrongdoings, one of Canada’s achievements in this regard has been the compensation of Canadians of Japanese ancestry who were interned during the Asia-Pacific War. We would also like to see such redress offered Japanese government to the Canadian POWs captured in the Battle of Hong Kong and to the victims of China, Korea, the Philippines, and all the other countries and regions where Japan’s military committed war crimes. We would also like to see Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution remain as it is, as we and many people in Asia see Article 9 as Japan’s pledge to the world never again to engage in wars of aggression.

Your Imperial Majesties, we are aware and appreciative of how much you have demonstrated a commitment to peace and history issues. For example, your paying tribute to the Korean victims’ monument when you visited Saipan in 2005 was considered a gesture of reconciliation. When you visited China in 1992, you also expressed regret for the suffering that Japan brought to China during the Asia-Pacific War. Your words were a positive step toward healing a historical wound. Your 1993 visit to the Okinawa sites where tens of thousands of civilians died in the war was also appreciated by many people throughout Japan and beyond. We would like to appeal for your continued efforts to help bring healing and justice to the victims of atrocities committed by Japan before and during the Asia-Pacific War, and for your for support of the endeavours to keep Article 9 intact in the spirit of peace.

Thank you for your attention to our letter, and again, we would like to sincerely welcome you to Canada’s West Coast. We hope you will enjoy the beautiful sunshine, ocean and mountains of our land, and the rich and dynamic communities of our multicultural society.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed by the following organizations)

Thekla Lit
Co-chair, Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of
WWII in Asia)

Satoko Norimatsu
Founding Director, Peace Philosophy Centre


Tatsuo Kage
Member, Human Rights Committee of Japanese Canadian Citizens Association


Ellen Woodsworth
President, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Vancouver


Fernando P. Salanga
President, Philippine War Veterans & Ex-servicemen Society of BC


Jane Ordinario
Chairperson, Migrante-BC


Beth Dollaga
Chair, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights


Kevin Sung,
Director, Korean Drama Club Hanuree

****************************************************

I am happy that our letter got a lot of attention from the local and international media. I hope it will reach the hands of the Emperor and the Empress.

Satoko

Friday, July 10, 2009

加拿大社民团体致天皇的公开信(中文版)

Peace Philosophy Centre co-signed this Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress of Japan, who are visiting Vancouver from July 12 to 14 of 2009. For the full text in English, please check this link:
http://peacephilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/open-letter-to-emperor-and-empress-and.html

For more information on this topic, please check this link:
http://peacephilosophy.blogspot.com/search/label/Letter%20to%20the%20Emperor%20and%20Empress

和平哲学中心与其它数个加拿大市民团体在日本天皇及皇后访问温哥华之际向日本领事馆提交了一封致天皇的公开信,并委托领事馆转呈天皇。公开信英文全文请参照以下链接:
http://peacephilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/open-letter-to-emperor-and-empress-and.html

公开信相关信息,媒体报道等信息请参照以下链接:
http://peacephilosophy.blogspot.com/search/label/Letter%20to%20the%20Emperor%20and%20Empress

7月10日本地中文媒体报道了公开信相关的新闻。以下是7月10日星岛日报(加西版)的截图。点击放大。

以下是公开信中文全文:

2009年7月9日

日本國皇與皇后閣下:

我們是加拿大日裔﹑華裔﹑韓裔﹑菲律賓裔及歐洲裔的民間團體代表。願您們加東的行程愉快﹐並歡迎您們前來訪問溫哥華,這個連接亞太和加拿大的橋梁城市。

在這裡,大批來自亞洲不同國家的移民共同生活在這片國土上,大家彼此融洽相處,因此我們深信,加拿大是促進亞太國家之間相互理解及和平共處的理想地方。例如日裔加拿大人聯同其他族裔團體早已致力提高加拿大人對日本憲法第九條的關注。(第九條的內容指明日本永遠放棄發動戰爭、不以武力解決國際間之爭端、不維持陸海空軍及其他戰争力量。)我們在本地建立了日本海外第一個關注日本和平憲法的團體。致力宣傳和保護日本憲法第九條。也曾籌集資金資助加拿大代表參加去年於日本千葉召開的全球保護憲法第九條大會。

作為與亞洲有深厚淵源的加拿大人,我們共同努力,希望能撫平日本發動的太平洋戰爭期間所造成的歷史傷口,並從毀滅性戰爭吸取歷史教訓,一起開創和平的未來。每年夏天,一些加拿大教師會前往中國和韓國訪問學習關於太平洋戰爭(1931-1945)的史實--比如南京大屠殺和日本從軍性奴隸制度等。 一些加拿大學生也會在每年夏天訪問長崎和廣島市,學習關於原爆的歷史。這些加拿大學生和老師返回加拿大後都會將他們的經歷與本地社區人士分享。我們這些努力絕非針對某一國家或群體﹐相反,我們希望有助於剔除偏見﹐以開放的態度學習此段歷史﹐從而跨越國界及文化之差異。

上述教育活動得到本地與亞太及其他地區的普遍肯定,但國際社會為撫平戰爭歷史傷口﹑為戰爭暴行受害人爭取公義的努力﹐卻碰到不少來自日本國內不利於和解的回應。日本國會至今尚未通過承認戰爭責任並道歉的決議,也沒有通過向受害者提供賠償的法案。

包括加拿大在內的很多國家都對日本的上述態度表示關注。2007年11月28日,加拿大國會下議院全票通過了敦促日本政府承認日本皇軍強征從軍性奴隸的責任,敦促日本政府向受害者作正式及真誠的道歉,並以達至和解的精神處理她們的訴求。儘管加拿大在歷史上也曾犯下錯誤,例如在二戰期間日裔加拿大人遭到了不公平的隔離和驅逐,但值得肯定的是加拿大政府已向受害者致歉並作出賠償。我們希望日本政府也能像加國政府一樣,對香港保衛戰中被俘及受虐待的加拿大軍人﹐對日本二戰暴行中的中國﹑韓國﹑菲律賓及其他有關地區的受害者真誠致歉並作賠償。我們期望日本保留憲法第九條,因為我們和很多亞洲人視日本憲法第九條為日本永不再發動侵略戰爭的承諾。
我們留意到日皇閣下曾表示過對和平的嚮往和對歷史的反省,我們對此表示欣慰。我們留意到您在2005年訪問塞班島時曾在當地的韓裔受害者紀念碑前致以哀悼;我們也留意到1992年您訪問中國時曾就日本在侵華戰爭中造成的傷害表示遺憾;您的上述話語對撫平戰爭所造成的歷史傷口是邁出正面的一步。您於1993年到訪沖繩戰役中數以萬計平民枉死遺址的舉動也被許多日本國內外人士稱許。我們籲請閣下繼續努力,協助日本二戰暴行受害人早日討回歷史公道﹐使他們的歷史傷痕早日得到愈合,並籲請閣下本著維護和平的精神﹐支持維護日本憲法第九條的完整無缺。

相信閣下已明白我們的訴求。在此我們再次歡迎您們的來訪。希望您們喜歡卑詩省美麗的陽光﹑大海與山巒,以及我們這個豐富又充滿活力的多元文化社會。


聯署團體﹕

列國遠
加拿大二戰浩劫史實維護會共同主席

乘松聰子 (Satoko Norimatsu)
和平哲學中心創會理事

鹿毛達雄
日裔加人協會人權委員會成員

伍愛鄰 (Ellen Woodsworth)
婦女爭取和平與自由國際聯盟溫哥華會長

Fernando B. Salanga
菲律賓退伍及退役軍人協會加西會長

Jane Ordinario
卑詩省菲律賓移民協會 (Migrante-BC) 主席

Kevin Sung
韓裔 Hanuree 劇社理事

Beth Dollaga
菲律賓裔加人人權團結委員會主席

Japanese media reports the Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress



Kyoto News Agency reported the open letter to the emperor. Please click the link to see the full text in Japanese, which is quoted below. See under the Japanese news for the English translation.

As far as we have searched on the web on July 13, the newspapers that ran the Kyodo news include:
Tokyo Shimbun/Chunichi Shimbun/Shizuoka Shimbun/Nishinippon Shimbun/Nagasaki Shimbun/Kumamoto-nichinichi Shimbun/Sanyo Shimbun/San-in Chuo Shimbun/Kitanippon Shimbun/Kobe Shimbun/Shimotsuke Shimbun/Chiba Nippo/Shikoku Shimbun/Kahoku Shimpo/Yamagata Shimbun/Iwate Nippo/... the list goes on.

(Links may be lost after a certain number of days.)

(共同のニュースからの引用開始)


陛下に「慰霊続けて」 アジア系団体が公開書簡

【トロント9日共同】カナダ西海岸のバンクーバーを拠点に活動するアジア系などの市民団体が9日(日本時間10日)、天皇、皇后両陛下のカナダ公式訪問を機に「日本が引き起こした戦争での犠牲者の慰霊をこれからも続けていただきたい」と天皇陛下に呼び掛ける内容の公開書簡を日本総領事館に提出すると発表した。
 両陛下が今後訪れる予定のバンクーバーにはアジア系住民が多数住む。書簡を提出するのは中国系の「第2次大戦史保存会(カナダALPHA)」や、日本人が代表を務める平和団体「ピースフィロソフィーセンター」のほか、韓国やフィリピン系の団体で、戦後補償や従軍慰安婦問題に取り組んでいる。
 書簡は「日本の国会が、戦争被害に対する全面的な謝罪と補償を認める決議をしていない」と指摘。両陛下のバンクーバー訪問を歓迎し「両陛下がどれだけ平和と歴史の問題に関心を寄せられてきたか、わたしたちは知っています」と両陛下の戦没者慰霊を評価。
 その上で、陛下に「平和の精神に基づき日本の憲法9条を守りたいと考えているわたしたちの活動を支持していただきたい」と求めた。

(引用終了)





The following is the English translation of the Kyodo news:


Asian organization sends an Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress, asking them to continue visits to war memorial sites


(Toronto, July 9th, Kyodo) On July 9th, several Asian and other civil organizations in Vancouver, on the West Coast of Canada, published an Open Letter to the Emperor and Empress who are visiting Canada, through the Consulate General of Japan. In this letter, these Canadian organizations requested the Emperor and Empress to continue paying tribute to the victims of the war initiated by Japan.
The Emperor and Empress are visiting Vancouver, where many residents are Asian immigrants. The open letter was co-signed by the Chinese-Canadian Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia), Peace Philosophy Centre(a peace organization represented by a Japanese-Canadian), and other organizations including Korean and Filipino ones. These groups are involved with activities regarding the post-war compensation issues and the "comfort women" issue.



This Open Letter points out that "the Japanese Parliament has yet to pass a resolution that fully admits and apologizes for Japan’s responsibility for the loss and suffering of the victims of the Asia-Pacific War." The Open Letter welcomes the Emperor and Empress to Canada, recognizes their reconciliatory efforts, saying "we are aware and appreciative of how much you have demonstrated a commitment to peace and history issues."
Furthermore, this Open Letter appealed for the imperial couple's "support of the endeavours to keep Article 9 intact in the spirit of peace."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Press Conference regarding an Open Letter to the Japanese Emperor and Empress by Vancouver's Peace and Ethnic Groups

MEDIA ALERT

WHAT:
Press Conference regarding an OPEN LETTER to the Japanese Emperor and Empress issued by multi-ethnic organizations

WHEN:
July 9, 2009 (Thursday) at 10:30 am

WHERE:
Ovans Room, G/F, BC Teachers’ Federation Building, 550 – West 6th Avenue, Vancouver

Representatives of the multi-ethnic organizations to speak at the press conference:
  • Thekla Lit, Co-chair of Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)
  • Satoko Norimatsu, Founding Director of Peace Philosophy Centre
  • Tatsuo Kage, Member of Human Rights Committee, Japanese Canadian Citizens Association
  • Dr. Marlene Le Gates, Acting President of Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Vancouver
  • Fernando P. Salanga, President of Philippine War Veterans & Ex-servicemen Society of BC
  • Jane Ordinario, Chairperson of Migrante-BC
  • Kevin Sung, Director of Korean Drama Club Hanuree


MEDIA CONTACT PERSONS:

Thekla Lit (604-313-6000) or Satoko Norimatsu (604-619-5627)

BACKGROUNDER:
Representatives of groups of Canadians that make up the rich diversity of this country: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and European extend their warm welcome to the Japanese Emperor and Empress’s visit to Canada. At the same time, they appeal to the Emperor for his continued efforts to bring healing and justice to the victims of atrocities committed by Japan before and during the Asia-Pacific War, and for his support of the endeavours to keep Article 9 intact in the spirit of peace.


The Open Letter will be made public at the press conference, and will be put on this website immediately after that.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

6 Japanese Parliamentarians Work for A-Bomb Monument and Museum in Washington, D.C.

Hiroshima Peace Media Center is an institute within Chuogoku Newspaper, which is widely read in the Chugoku Region (Western end of Honshu Island) of Japan. Their "Peace News" covers a wide range of topics from nuclear abolition to peace education.



One piece of bright news that I found recently is:

Japanese parliamentarians seek to establish A-bomb museum in Washington, D.C.



The "NPT Promotion Committee" that consists of 6 parliamentarians from different parties, plans to unveil a monument to "express the hope of eliminating nuclear weapons" in next May, when the NPT Review Conference takes place. Also some time in the next year, they aim to open "a permanent museum to convey the consequences of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."



Peter van den Dungen, who leads the International Network of Museums for Peace, said during the 6th International Conference of Museums for Peace in Hiroshima in October 2009, that he would like to see A-bomb museums in the capital cities of all the nuclear-possessing countries. This move initiated by a group of Japanese parliamentarians will be a great start.



According to Chugoku Newspaper, the six members of the "NPT Promotion Committee" are:



Minoru Terada, LDP (House of Representatives,) 寺田稔(自民、衆院広島5区)

Tsutomu Tomioka, LDP (House of Representatives) 富岡勉(自民、衆院比例九州=長崎1区)

Hideo Hiraoka, DPJ (House of Representatives) 平岡秀夫(民主、衆院山口2区)

Kenzo Fujisue, DPJ (House of Councilors) 藤末健三(民主、参院比例)

Nobuto Hosaka, SDP(House of Representative) 保坂展人(社民、衆院比例東京)

Akira Kasai, JCP (House of Representative) 笠井亮(共産、比例東京)



(LDP=Liberal Democratic Party; DPJ=Democratic Party of Japan; SDJ=Social Democratic Party of Japan; JCP=Japan Communist Party)



While it is great to see collaboration across the party boundaries, I wonder: where are the women? I should make an inquiry.



Satoko

8 Japanese Municipalities Have Submitted Position Statements on the "Comfort Women" Issue

As of July 1, 2009, a total of eight municipalities in Japan have submitted a position statement on the wartime military sex slavery issue to the central government.

These eight cities are:

Takarazuka City, Hyogo
Kiyose City, Tokyo
Sapporo City, Hokkaido
Fukuoka City, Fukuoka
Mitaka City, Tokyo
Mino-o City, Osaka
Koganei City, Tokyo
Kyo-tanabe City, Kyoto

As an example, here is the translation of Mino-o City's position statement.
http://ajwrc.org/jp/modules/bulletin/index.php?page=article&storyid=465

(Start)

Bill submitted by members of City Council Member No. 13

Position Statement Requesting sincere handling of the "Comfort Women" issue by the Japanese Government

It has been 64 years since Japan caused massive suffering to neighbouring countries in the war. To date the wounds of the victims of war have not been healed.

The U.S. Congress, in July 2007, has passed "the resolution that demands the Japanese Government to officially admit and apologize for the fact that the Japanese military coerced women into sex slaves."

Subsequently, similar resolutions passed the parliaments of Netherlands,Canada, and EU, and international organizations like the United Nation shave issued recommendations for swift resolution of the matter. Back in1993, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kohno announced a statement which reads, "We would like to convey our apology and repentance. We should further seriously discuss how and in what form our country can express these feelings". There has been, however, no progress since then.

We, therefore, request that the Japanese Government investigate the truths of the "Comfort Women" issue, pay efforts to recover the dignity of the victims, and deal with this matter sincerely so that it does not contradict Kohno Statement. Here we submit this position statement in accordance with the Article 99 of Local Government Law.

June 22, 2009

City Council of Mino-o

(End)

I wanted to share these positive moves bravely taken by cities of Japan, and I hope the list will be longer. Cities are often more progressive than states. One great example is Mayors for Peace, a network of 2,963 cities in 134 countries that are together working for abolition of nuclear weapons. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima City, which initiated the organization with Nagasaki City, argue that cities are directly accountable for the safety of their citizens while states get away with lying to people.

Cities don't draft people away to war and and kill them. States do. The world is a collective body of cities, towns, villages and other territories. Yet we tend to look at the world as a collection of states more often than otherwise. We can change this mindset. Some people think it is worthwhile dying for one's country, but would one die for a city? Maybe not. Why can't one die for a city while one can die for a state? The only explanation I can give is that states propagate to its people how wonderful it is to die for them.

Way to go for those cities who stand up and go out of their way (their cities) for a peaceful world!

Satoko