The Associated Press
Thursday, June 21, 2007
BEIJING: A claim by Japanese lawmakers that the death toll in the “Rape of Nanking” massacre has been grossly inflated is an affront to international justice and shows their lack of courage in facing historical facts, China said Thursday.
A group comprised of about 100 Japanese ruling party lawmakers said Tuesday that documents from their government’s archives indicated about 20,000 people were killed in the 1937 attack.
Nariaki Nakayama, head of the group, which was created to study World War II historical issues and education, accused China of inflating the number of victims for propaganda purposes.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said 300,000 people died in the massacre, which he called an “atrocious crime.”
Any attempt to erase or cover the evidence “is a flagrant provocation toward international justice and conscience of human beings,” Qin said at a regular news conference, holding up photocopied pictures of civilians being executed by soldiers.
Historians generally agree the Japanese army slaughtered at least 150,000 civilians and raped tens of thousands of women in the rampage in Nanjing that became known as “The Rape of Nanking,” using the name by which the city was known in the West at that time.
The Japanese lawmakers’ report, which was released after a monthslong review, “shows a lack of knowledge of history and lack of courage to break away from that part of history. It will be universally condemned by the international community,” Qin said.
Anti-Japanese feeling over the Nanjing atrocities among the general Chinese public remains strong. Demonstrators vandalized Japanese shops and smashed windows at Japanese diplomatic offices in Shanghai and Beijing in April 2005 to protest alleged whitewashing of atrocities in Japanese textbooks.
Many Japanese conservatives are disgruntled over what they claim are exaggerated stories of Japanese brutality during World War II.
Nakayama distributed to reporters on Tuesday a document produced by the League of Nations, the forerunner to the United Nations, from a Feb. 2, 1938, meeting during which China’s Nationalist government called for Japan to be denounced for killing 20,000 people in the attack.
“We have no intention to fan the problem over the interpretation of wartime history between the two countries, but we want to achieve justice,” he said.
Historians also say as many as 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, China and the Philippines, worked in Japanese military brothels in the 1930s and ’40s. Many victims say they were forced to work as sex slaves by military authorities and were held against their will.
Qin said the conscription of comfort women “shall not be denied and cannot be denied.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, sparked a controversy earlier this year by saying there is no evidence the women were coerced.
Since then, he has repeatedly distanced himself from the comment.
…And Japanophiles are still dumbfounded at the anti-Japanese sentiment in East Asia while the average Japanese is always placed in a piss-poor position by his or her government when traveling abroad. While the average Japanese actually wants to figure out what the hell is causing the problem and is somehow aware that the government he or she pays taxes to is aggravating the situation, the Japanophiles will simply side with the government by default and dismiss those who are critical of the Japanese government as uneducated and backward racists that simply dwell on the past for selfish reasons. A few would even try to discredit those critics or develop illogical rationalisations for such questionable behaviour.
For example, there was a Taiwanese Japanophile who was in an Asian-American forum claiming that the Japanese committed no atrocities during the Second World War, particularly in Nanjing (Nanking). His reasoning was that the Japanese had a right to kill around 150,000 – 300,000 people in the city because Imperial Japanese Army troops were being killed off by local resistance, either Chinese soldiers or armed civilians, in plain clothes. Therefore, the Japanese had to respond with swift and brute force in order to stop these civilians and it would not be right for the Japanese to just let their soldiers get killed by armed civilians. He then complained how the Chinese (KMT) government at that time kept lodging excessive and distorted complaints that Japanese forces were raping and murdering civilians when the Chinese provoked the Japanese to act in the very first place. and ending his remarks by calling all Chinese people “Peasant boys”.
In a nutshell, he implies Japan had a right to rape and pillage all civilians in Nanjing during World War II because they were getting killed by local Chinese resistance forces who were fending off a Japanese invasion.
I reckon based on this warped logic,, this Japanophile would also assert and even encourage the United States Armed Forces to wage total war, including but not limited to mass killings and gang rapes, on all Iraqi civilians since a handful of Iraqis are attacking US soldiers in civilian clothing in various parts of Iraq.
That is an extreme example of what Japanophiles will do to justify past atrocities. For the most part these Japanophiles will often respond with the pure assumption that Japan is totally blameless because modern-day Japan is so cool and hip compared to the one in World War II that followed bushido and had kamikaze pilots. These people will often place the source of the problems on the critics and maybe make random accusations of racism if those same critics actually present valid facts and points to their concerns towards the Japanese government.
These Japanophiles are actually adding more strength towards the anti-Japanese attitudes with their hacked logic and deluded internalisations of Japan when responding to critics instead of defusing tensions. In the end, the average Japanese will lose out on opportunities and safety when traveling abroad while Japanese business may lose opportunities to foreign competitors who have less historical baggage in the East Asian region.
It’s assholes like the Japanese government officials and their Japanophilic goons that will only make it problematic for average Japanese to be perceived in the world and it will make it difficult to improve regional cooperation in the face of economic interdependence in the East Asian region.