Saturday, April 23, 2005

Public Apology for Asia from Japan's Prime Minister

In the past couple weeks relations between China and Japan have plunged to a three-decade low, with massive anti-Japanese protests erupting in several Chinese cities over Tokyo's handling of its wartime atrocities in new junior high school textbooks and its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. We have seen and heard this boiling tension between the two Asian powers, with demonstrations against Japan in China and the vandalism of Japanese property and interests in China. Both countries are outraged: China over Tokyo's approval of a textbook that many say denying history, beautifying aggression, and whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities; and Japan over China's refusal to apologize for the current violent protests.

However, as reported by The Jakarta Post Online, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized during the opening of the two-day Asian-African Summit in Jakarta on Friday (April 22, 2005), echoing previous apologies by Japanese leaders, for his country's aggression during World War II, in an effort to ease tensions with China and win support for Japan's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. [Read more....]

A day after this public apology, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met Chinese President Hu Jin Tao during talks in Jakarta and both agreed to rescue ties between their countries. [Read more...]. President Hu urged Japan to reflect on WWII aggression and to back up its recent apologies with action, pressing Beijing's relentless campaign for redress from Tokyo for its handling of wartime atrocities. [Read more...]

For some people this latest row has less to do with history textbooks but more to do with a long-term political and economic rivalry. [Read more...]

Following is Toronto ALPHA's call for action on the Japanese government to redress the wartime wrongdoings and injustices that had been inflicted on millions of innocent lives. Read Chinatown flexes its muscles in Globe and Mail online for this action.

Toronto ALPHA’s Position and Actions
in Response to the Recent Conducts of Japanese Government
(April 2005)

The mandate of Toronto ALPHA is to foster humanity education and racial harmony with its mission to promote public awareness, learning and preserving of the history of World War II in Asia. In light of the recent Japanese government’s authorization to revise history textbooks to distort truth and its attempt to exert international influence by bidding for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, we, as Toronto ALPHA, would like to declare our position on these Japanese government’s behaviours that have heightened tensions along the Asia-Pacific Rim, particularly between China and Japan.

Toronto ALPHA, which upholds the spirit of humanity, does not endorse group animosity of any kind, including anti-Japanese sentiments. However, we do stand firmly against the Japanese government’s continuous act to deny and dismiss the war atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army on the soil of its neighbouring countries during WWII. In recent years, this act has been manifested by its approval of the revised history textbooks, and its continuing tributes paid to the shrine of convicted war criminals. Such blatant behaviours confirm our belief that no real peace and reconciliation can be forged among the Asian Pacific countries without:
  • the Japanese government openly admitting its wartime aggression and brutality against the civilians and prisoners of wars in the victimized countries;
  • the Japanese government offering its official apologies and compensations to war victims and survivors, which Germany has bravely done for a long time;
  • preserving and learning this seldom known history of WWII in Asia as an important human rights lesson and a strong reminder that such a holocaust should never be repeated.

Until all these issues are addressed, we remain vehemently opposed to Japan’s attempt to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

While we understand the strong sentiments among the people of war victimized countries as demonstrated in China and Korea in recent weeks, as an organization for humanity, Toronto ALPHA also wants to discourage any uncontrolled emotional outbursts that might lead to harmful attacks on innocent people. Neither do we think that indiscriminate boycotts of Japanese goods would be practical and effective in pressuring for change. Rather, we need to plan our responses and actions rationally and strategically in order to assure our voice and the truths be heard both emphatically and empathetically by the international community. Real impact can only be realized by exerting pressures at various strategic levels and with the support of different sectors of the broader community. The following are five important ways that we would like our community to endorse at this time.

  1. Petition our Canadian government to oppose Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council unless the Japanese government admits its war crimes and offers formal apologies to WWII survivors in all victimized countries. A Canada-wide online signature campaign is being set up by Toronto ALPHA at You are encouraged to cast your vote through our website, and all collected signatures will then be presented to Ottawa as a joint petition. The Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia has in the meantime posted a world-wide online petition (, and for the past 8 weeks over 40 million signatures from more than 100 countries have been gathered. (Please join the Global Alliance online petition if you haven’t done so.)

  2. Place a full-page ad in the New York Times in late April/early May and in September to express our concerns and opposition to Japan’s UN Security Council bid unless full reparation is made by the Japanese government. The advertisement will be widely circulated to all UN member nations, U.S. Senators and House Representatives, as well as our Canada’s Members of Parliament.

  3. Call for a targeted boycott of commercial goods produced by Japanese corporations, e.g., Mitsubishi and its subsidiary companies*, that are known to have been directly involved in the WWII atrocities. Not only should such a targeted boycott be sustainable and effective, more importantly, it sends a clear message that this is not an anti-Japanese move, but a sign of public indignation, concerns and condemnation over the attitude of those perpetrators who still show no remorse and refuse to face up to their war crimes. The boycott action will remain until the corporation is willing to offer apologies and compensations to the forced labourers who were kidnapped and brutally treated during the war. A list of other Japanese companies which were not involved in the WWII but have been backing its government’s militarist stand will be served notices that warn them of being targeted for a possible second-round boycott if they continue their support for extremist groups.

  4. Educate the public and the younger generations about the WWII atrocities in Asia, which are rarely known in North America and most parts of the world. As global citizens regardless of country or culture, we have the responsibility to know the truth, to be the voice of the innocent victims, and to support their rights in the international community. Toronto ALPHA has been working closely with scholars and educators in promoting the teaching of this important, but largely hidden, history and human rights lesson in secondary schools.

  5. Raise $100,000 in order to carry out the above-mentioned tasks. Toronto ALPHA, being a grass-root voluntary organization (chaired by Dr. Joseph Wong), relies on the generous donations and volunteer help from the community to support its missions. Those who are willing to contribute financially can make cheques payable to Toronto ALPHA with the account #: 0532-5209-009, and deposit them at any TD-Canada Trust branch.

Your support in these five endeavours will be an effective and concrete way to help promote the cause and to collectively pressure the Japanese government to redress the wartime wrongdoings and injustices that had been inflicted on millions of innocent lives.

[Please share this announcement to any interested individuals and organizations for their support. Should there be further queries about Toronto ALPHA’s position and actions, please e-mail:]

*Some of the products include Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Motor, Kirin Beer, Nikon Camera, Isuzu Motors, etc.

Other sources around this issue:

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