CANADIANS FOR RECONCILIATION SOCIETY
An open letter to all citizens of Japanese heritage
Recently we were made aware of a lack of understanding among many citizens of Japanese heritage of Japan’s role in the Second World War. While Japan’s WW2 military role and atrocities are well-engraved into any Asian countries invaded by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, such education apparently has been missing in Japanese schools, media and culture. So for most citizens of Japanese heritage, they apparently are unaware of the WW2 horrors inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces who believed they were fighting a war for a living god—the divine Emperor, and were receiving praises, honour, and even divinity for the courage to commit such atrocities.
We feel a candid understanding of the WW2 truth is overdue since four months ago the long dispute over ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands was turned into something dangerous when Japan unilaterally bought the Islands. For the Chinese, this was like pouring salt over unhealed wounds as Japan has yet to acknowledge the WW2 atrocities it committed in China and other Asian countries. Sadly emboldened by the US, which is more interested in using Japan as a pawn to contain China, Japan has upped the dispute to increasingly high-stake naval and air patrols from both countries near the Islands. Such an insensitive move occurred only months before the 75th anniversary of the notorious Nanjing Massacre, where 250,000 to 300,000 Chinese were mass murdered by the Japanese Imperial Army. This month also marks the re-election of Shinzo Abe, who has been using nationalism to divert attention from a depressed Japanese economy. However whether it is the plan to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, to land or man the Islands, or to amend the constitution so Japan can have an army for offensive purposes, they all will result in regrettable escalation of tensions with China.
As Japan and China will be geographical neighbours forever, such sabre-rattling is dangerous for present and future relationship. Besides, history should not be covered to protect the few war mongers while putting tens and millions of innocent citizens at risk of another war and $billions of Sino-Japanese trade at a standstill. As a Canadian group focused on reconciliation, we are appealing to all peace-loving citizens of Japanese heritage to consider understanding the above history, expressing the regrets and joining a new grass roots movement towards reconciliation. Such reconciliation does not imply defeat, or shame. On the contrary, it means victory and honour for our shared humanity. As this also is not a top down effort, we hope you can start from wherever you are, by as simple as searching the internet for Japanese war atrocities, to sharing with your friends and neighbours about the right thing to do in the current crisis. Thank you for your help!
Chair, Canadians For Reconciliation Society