Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Issues remnant of World War 2 in Asia.....世界第二次大戦戦後問題....二戦残りの問題

This post is to highlight some of the issues left over from the Japanese invasion and occupation of large parts of Asia. As my internet is not working at home, i have not included Chinese and Japanese names and key words which will be included once i get my internet working again cos i can't type them using the computers i'm using now. I hope that the issues highlighted will allow my readers to gain an insight and understanding of WW2 in Asia and raise awareness of many historical incidents and facts which are unknown or all but forgotten by not only Westerners but also Asians.

The Manila Massacres:
I didn't know about this horrendous massacre until very recently and was horrified to know about it. It is a pity that not more publicity is given to this horrendous episode in Phillipine history and that many people including a Japan and Ww2 historian like myself didn't know about it until recently.
The Manila Massacre refers to the 100,000 filipino civilians killed by retreating Japanese troops as the Americans sought to recapture the capital in Feb 1945. The month long massacre by Japanese troops of filipino civilians was as a result of venting out demoralised attitudes and feelings as well as an attempt to use the filipinos as a human shield against the Americans.

Below is a Wikipedia page giving more detail on the massacre:

The Singapore 'Sook Ching' (Purge thru Purification):
This is a reference to the Feb- March 1942 massacre of around 50,000 Chinese men in Singapore when the Japanese occupying forces conducted a whole island screening when they took over Singapore officially on 15 feb 1942 to root out anti-japanese elements. Many men were simply driven off and shot at the beaches on mere suspicion of being anti-japanese with no concrete evidence whatsoever. The ex-PM of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew also records in his memoirs how he narrowly escaped them. The massacre was uncovered only after the war when war memoirs of many people corresponded and mass grave sites were uncovered revealing the horrible incident.
Below is a Wikipedia site giving more detail on the massacre:

Japanese War Orphans Left in China:
At the end of WW2, 1 million Japanese people were residing in Northeast China (previously known as Manchuria) as part of the then Japanese government's plan of populating the area with their own nationals so as to consolidate their control over it. At the end of the war in August 1945, when the Soviet troops invaded and occupied Manchuria, many Japanese were stranded and chaos reigned. About more than 500,000 Japanese soldiers were taken to Siberia to work in labour camps by the Soviets and Japanese civilians tried to make their way back home to Japan in the chaos. However, at that time, about 10,000 or so children and infants were abandoned by their japanese parents or were separated in the ensuing chaotic period or were simply handed over to Chinese adoptive parents by their Japanese parents whom thought that they would have a better chance of surviving if they were left with Chinese people. Their parents didn't even know if they could survive themselves even less so if their children would be able to and thus left them to Chinese adoptive parents. Thus, when China closed to the outside world with the Communist takeover in 1949, all hopes of recovering their children was lost. In the 80s, these parents and their children left behind in China made attempts to reestablish contact and many were successful. Many of these 'war orphans' were able to reunite with their biological parents. However, they have been experiencing difficulties with fitting in Japanese society given that they did not speak any Japanese and were brought up Chinese.
Below is an article on the 'Japanese War Orphan' issue.
EDITORIAL/ War-displaced Japanese 12/04/2006 (Asahi Shimbun)

Japanese abandoned as children in China at the end of World War II had long yearned to live in their home country with dignity. However, foot-dragging by the Japanese government delayed their return home. Not only that, the government was deficient in providing assistance so that these war-displaced Japanese could live independently since they settled here. The Kobe District Court recognized these facts in a group lawsuit filed by war-displaced Japanese and ordered the central government to pay more than 460 million yen in total compensation. This is the first victory for the plaintiffs among suits filed in 15 areas across the country. The plaintiffs are all advanced in years and anxious about their futures. We urge the government to accept the ruling and not appeal it. The lawsuit in question concerns Japanese who were left behind in Northeast China (former Manchuria) and raised by Chinese. The Japanese government finally began inviting them back to Japan in 1981 for identity verification, opening the path for them to return home. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs slammed the government for not fulfilling its responsibility to protect its citizens. The Kobe District Court ruling squarely addressed that issue. The court said that Japanese who journeyed to the former Manchuria as farmers were not properly apprised of the war situation and were left unprotected in the postwar chaos. Thus, the court ruled, the postwar government had a political responsibility to provide relief to those war-displaced citizens. The court also pointed out that the government could have offered assistance by taking advantage of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China in 1972. However, the Japanese government did not acknowledge the war-displaced Japanese as its own citizens, treating them as non-Japanese and even requiring their relatives in Japan to act as guarantors if they wished to return to Japan. This caused the extensive delays in allowing them to permanently resettle here. The Kobe District Court determined that it was illegal to place restrictions on their return to Japan, and ordered the government to pay compensation of 100,000 yen for each month of delay. In addition, the court said the plaintiffs should be paid 6 million yen per person based on the fact that governmental financial support was less than the program for citizens abducted by North Korea. Of approximately 2,500 people who have returned to Japan, about 2,200 joined in the series of group lawsuits. Most cannot speak Japanese fluently due to a lack of government assistance, which has limited their job opportunities. The fact that more than 80 percent of those who returned have resorted to legal suits reflects how impoverished they are. Nearly 70 percent of all war-displaced Japanese who returned to Japan are living on welfare. They are eligible for a part of national pension payments, yet the amount they receive is only slightly more than 20,000 yen each month. The sum is deducted from their livelihood subsidies. The court ruling says the government must establish separate benefit and pension systems from the subsidy system so that these people have a means of support. We wholeheartedly agree with this decision. Diet members in the ruling coalition have set up a project team to study a benefit plan, but it has not made much progress. New legislation is needed to set up a program quickly. For those orphans who feel they were abandoned by their country twice--when Japan lost the war and then again after they returned home--the lawsuit has been a battle to regain their dignity as human beings. They are now happy to say that they have finally become Japanese again, and the government must not trample upon their sentiments. --The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 2(IHT/Asahi: December 4,2006)


jw said...

thanks for that, 100,000 filipinos, that's on a similar scale to the Nanjing massacre. I didn't know about the Japanese orphans either. How sad.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

JW: Its good to allow more people to become aware of the multitude of issues that have been left by the Pacific War....i am always heartened to hear that people have gained a further understanding of the war in Asia during WW2 as a result of my writing.