Tuesday, 28 February 2012

State of denial - Japan and war crimes

A Chinese-Japanese judo event due to have been held in the Chinese city of Nanjing has been cancelled following a Japanese politician’s denial of his country’s notorious ‘Rape of Nanjing’ in 1937.    The Mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, said only "conventional acts of combat" had taken place.

Nanjing and Nagoya were twinned in 1978, but now the Chinese have suspended all exchanges between the two cities.    This is the latest in a series of remarks by leading Japanese politicians that indicate a reluctance to face up to the crimes committed by the country during World War Two.

The Japanese took Nanjing in December 1937.   Women and girls aged 10 to 80 were abducted for systematic rape and usually murder, civilians were shot down in the street, captured soldiers were burned alive or tied up and used for bayonet practice, or ripped to pieces by dogs.   Others were machine-gunned, beheaded, or buried alive.

In just a few weeks in December 1937 and January 1938, the International Military Tribunal of the Far East, reckoned the Japanese killed more than 260,000 non-combatants in the city, though some believe the real number was 350,000.   For the full story, see A Disastrous History of the World.

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