‘Only 5% of Japanese fully know who started the Pacific War’
‘Only 5% of Japanese fully know who started the Pacific War’
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  • 승인 2015.03.28 17:38
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Teaching truthful history helps promotion of peace among nations

An article recently written by a Chinese writer, Yan Yuewen, and published by People’s Day of China, entitled ‘Distortion of History is Unacceptable,’ has references that come as a serious alarm to the Korean people. This is all the more so at this time when Japan has been substantially stepping up its campaign to distort the history related with the Dokdo Islets of Korea making an undue claim to the inalienable territory of the Republic of Korea.

The details in point are the result an opinion survey conducted by a leading Japanese media which indicated that the principal source of information that the Japanese people get on the history and relations between Japan and its surrounding countries such as China and Korea are through public education and school textbooks.

The Japanese government has been revising the school text books aimed at convincing the Japanese people that Dokdo belongs to Japan instead of the fact that the islets do to Korea.

The survey said only 5% of the Japanese people knew who started Pacific War (World War II), 44% said they knew ‘a little’ about the War and 49% said they didn’t know the history.

The survey also indicated that education and school textbooks were the main source of information they got on the War.

In this situation what will the Japanese people in general think and say when asked about Korea’s Dokdo Islets?

The awe-inspiring rearmament eagerly sought by the Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe puts the Korean people on the alert.

Is he thinking of making another effort to realize the failed dream of Prime Minister Hideki Tojo of the Imperial Government of the late 1930s? Does Prime Minister Abe, as did Tojo, want to rebuild the failed Daitoa Kyoeiken (‘Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere’)?claiming Dokdo, Korea, China and other countries of Asia as it did during Pacific War?

Why does Prime Minister Abe try to make a contrast from his predecessors? Japan is known to be carrying out an extensive publicity campaign using leading media of the United States to cover up its wrongs done to the peoples of Korea, China and other countries of Asia during World War II?giving the impression as if Japan had greatly contributed to the economic development of the region after the Pacific War.

On this situation, many Korean media recall how Japan more than fully recovered its economy (shattered during WWII)--thanks to the Korean War (1950-3) when hundreds of thousands of young people of 16 countries lost their precious lives.

All the countries of the world have a right to developing their own defense capabilities, and from this Japan is no exception. However, laying a claim to a part of another country through distortion of history can hardly be justified.

Unimaginably high price was paid for the lessons learnt from the Pacific War where millions of people of Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, many countries of Southeast Asia, as well as Japan, died and suffered injuries and property losses from the War. The tragedy must not be repeated.

Correct understanding of the truthful history helps maintenance and promotion of peace among the different countries in Asia and other parts of the world.

Here are details of the article by Chinese writer, Yan Yuewen, published by People’s Daily of China on March 25, 2015:

Distorting history is unacceptable

By Yan Yuewen

The entire world remembers the history of the world's anti-Fascist war and the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

But some important questions about the war must be clearly answered. Who launched the aggression at the beginning? What dark motivations led them to start the war? How did allied nations unite in the strength of justice and how much did they sacrifice to fight for freedom of humanity? The history of World War II (WWII), including its achievements and lessons, should be remembered by all nations. Legally binding international documents signed during and after the war, postwar trials of war criminals as well as historical research conducted over the past 70 years compose an undisputable foundation of the world's shared memory.

At present, some Japanese politicians have brazenly attempted to distort WWII history, intending to relieve Japan of responsibility. The world should be alert to these provocative remarks and acts.

History cannot be reversed. Justice will speak itself. However, we must maintain vigilant against any actions that would seek to distort historical verdicts and deny the fruits of victory.

According to a recent survey conducted by Japan's leading newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, only 5 percent of the surveyed Japanese citizens said that they are "fully aware of" the Japan-provoked aggression and the Pacific War. Around 44 percent of the respondents said that they "know a little" about the war. And another 49 percent of the respondents answered that they are uninformed about the history. The survey also showed that education and school textbooks are the main ways for students to learn the truth of past warfare.

History should not be recklessly tampered with. Such acts are anathema to international law and justice. The postwar arrangement clearly confirmed Japan's responsibility for aggression in WWII, and Japan admitted it unconditionally.

The Cairo Declaration, jointly released by the United States, China and Britain on December 1, 1943, stated, "The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan."

The Potsdam Declaration (or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender), jointly released on July 26, 1945 by the United States, China and Britain with the Soviet Union joining later, stated that Japan shall enforce the Cairo Declaration, and also declared the elimination "for all time of the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest." The declaration went on, saying, "We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners."

Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration in the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War issued by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15, 1945 and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed by Japanese delegates aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri on September 2 of the same year.

Admitting its historical aggression and reflecting on the responsibility for war is a precondition for Japan to reconcile with its Asian neighboring countries that suffered under its military campaigns in WWII.

The China-Japan Joint Statement issued on September 29, 1972 stated, "The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself."

The China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed on August 12, 1978 confirmed that the 1972 Joint Statement "constitutes the basis of the relations of peace and friendship between the two countries and that the principles enunciated in the Joint Statement should be strictly observed."

The China-Japan Joint Declaration released on November 26, 1998, stated, "Both sides believe that squarely facing the past and correctly understanding history are the important foundation for further developing relations between China and Japan. The Japanese side observes the 1972 Joint Statement between the government of the People's Republic of China and the government of Japan and the August 15, 1995 Statement by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious distress and damage that Japan caused to the Chinese people through its aggression against China during a certain period in the past and expressed deep remorse for this."

In a joint statement on advancing strategic and mutually beneficial relations in a comprehensive way, signed on May 7, 2008, China and Japan announced that the two sides resolved to face history squarely, advance toward the future, and endeavor with persistence to create a new era of a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" between Japan and China.

From the perspective of either international system or bilateral relations, admitting aggression in the past and reflecting on the responsibility for the war is what Japan must do. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the world's anti-Fascist war and the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, if Japanese leader denies the history of aggression in his commemoration statement, it will jeopardize current international order and severely harm China-Japan relations. As well, it will have a bad influence on Japan's development and its status in the international community.

Any retrograde step should not be taken on understanding history. If Japan acts willfully and unscrupulously on the historical issue for shortsighted intention, it will swallow the bitter pill at last.

(People’s Daily of China, March 25, 2015)

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