September 2, 2005 Vol. 1, No. 2

The Potsdam Declaration

Statement by Prime Minister Koizumi
-On the 60th Anniversary of the End of the War (August 15, 2005)-

On the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, I reaffirm my determination that Japan must never again take the path to war, reflecting that the peace and prosperity we enjoy today are founded on the ultimate sacrifices of those who lost their lives for the war against their will.

More than three million compatriots died in the war -- in the battle field thinking about their homeland and worrying about their families, while others perished amidst the destruction of war, or after the war in remote foreign countries.

In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. Sincerely facing these facts of history, I once again express my feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology, and also express the feelings of mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, in the war. I am determined not to allow the lessons of that horrible war to erode, and to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world without ever again waging a war.

After the war, Japan rebuilt itself from a devastated land owing to the ceaseless efforts of its people and the assistance extended by many countries, and accepted the San Francisco Peace Treaty, being the first step of its reversion to the international community. Japan has resolutely maintained its principle of resolving all matters by peaceful means and not by force, and proactively extended material and personnel assistance for the sake of the peace and prosperity of the world through official development assistance (ODA) and United Nations peace keeping operations.

Japan's post war history has indeed been six decades of manifesting its remorse on the war through actions.

The post war generations now exceed 70% of Japan's population. Each and every Japanese, through his or her own experience and peace-oriented education, sincerely seeks international peace. Today, many Japanese are actively engaged in activities for peace and humanitarian assistance around the world, through such organizations as the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, and have been receiving much trust and high appreciation from the local people. Exchange with Asian countries in a wide variety of areas, such as economy and culture, has also increased on an unprecedented scale. I believe it is necessary to work hand in hand with other Asian countries, especially with China and the Republic of Korea, which are Japan's neighboring countries separated only by a strip of water, to maintain peace and pursue the development of the region. Through squarely facing the past and rightly recognizing the history, I intend to build a future-oriented cooperative relationship based on mutual understanding and trust with Asian countries.

The international community is now faced with more complex and difficult challenges than ever imagined before: progress of the developing counties, alleviation of poverty, conservation of the global environment, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the prevention and eradication of terrorism. In order to contribute to world peace, Japan will proactively fulfill its role as a responsible member of the international community, upholding its pledge not to engage in war and based on its experience as the only nation to have suffered from the atomic bombings and the path it has followed over the 60 years after war.

On this occasion marking the 60th anniversary of the war's end, Japan, as a peace-loving nation, expresses here again that it will work to achieve peace and prosperity of all humankind with all its resources, together with all the nations of shared aspiration.

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Answering China's Japan Bashers
-Part 2 of 3-


-By Kitaoka Shin'ichi
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

This is the second installment of a 3-part series. The first installment can be found here, in Japan Now Vol. 1, No. 1 (published August 5, 2005).

HAS JAPAN SHIRKED ITS WAR RESPONSIBILITY?

Be that as it may, much of the media commentary on the conflict between China and Japan is premised on the idea that China's grievances over Japan's treatment of past events are partially justified. Are they, though? I would like to take issue with this assumption.

Let us begin with the criticism that Japan has never really apologized for its aggression toward China and its role in World War II.

War is a plague that has been with humanity from time immemorial and which we may never completely eliminate. Once a war breaks out, however, it must be brought to a conclusion. Typically this involves (1) territorial concessions, (2) punishment of those responsible, and (3) the payment of reparations.

After World War II Japan relinquished Taiwan, Korea, Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and other territories. The postwar International Military Tribunal for the Far East, commonly called the Tokyo Trial, tried and convicted many Japanese officers of suspected war crimes (lesser criminals were tried in other parts of Asia). The Japanese government paid reparations to Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and it paid quasi reparations to Thailand, with which it was never at war.

Now let us turn to Japan's relationship with China in the wake of World War II. In 1952 Japan signed a peace treaty with the Republic of China. At the time the Japanese government preferred to limit the scope of the treaty to the area over which the government of the Republic of China had control--namely, Taiwan--in order to leave the door open to official relations with the People's Republic of China, established on the mainland in 1949. In the end, however, Tokyo acquiesced to pressured from Washington to recognize the administration in Taipei as the legitimate government of all of China and concluded the treaty accordingly. At that time there was discussion of reparations, but Taipei waived its demands for compensation because Chiang Kai-shek placed greater importance on having his administration recognized as the legitimate government of China. In other words, he chose the political benefits over the economic benefits.

Tokyo and Beijing established diplomatic relations in 1972, and at this point the People's Republic also waived demands for reparations. Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai stated that the war had been the responsibility of a small group of militarists, not the ordinary people of Japan, and that they did not want to punish the people by imposing reparations. The Japanese were impressed by this magnanimity, and Beijing won recognition as the legitimate government of China. This is another example of relinquishing economic benefits in favor of political benefits.

Although Japan did not pay reparations to China, it has been providing economic aid ever since the conclusion of the bilateral Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978--some 3 trillion yen over the years. This is not the same as war reparations, but neither is it ordinary foreign aid. It was the first time Japan had given aid to a military power in possession of nuclear weapons, and not everyone in Japan was comfortable with the idea of providing assistance to a communist country. Such a program would have been difficult to carry out had the Japanese people not felt the need for expiation.

Japan's aid to China has been extremely effective in promoting that country's economic development. The Chinese economy today is driven by foreign investment, but without adequate infrastructure, foreign businesses would not have invested. And a large portion of that infrastructure was built with Japanese funding.

Most Japanese aid to China has been in the form of concessional lending (although Tokyo has also provided some 140 billion yen in grant aid). However, the fact that the aid has been in the form of loans does not diminish its value. Everyone knows the importance of low-interest loans when purchasing a car or home. This is the kind of assistance Japan has provided to China, and China in turn has always kept up with its payments. The success of an aid program can be judged on whether it leads to the economic development of the recipient country and can be repaid according to a reasonable timetable. In terms of both these criteria, Japan's economic assistance to China has been a resounding success.

At present the United Nations is calling on the advanced industrial countries to boost their allocations for official development assistance to 0.7% of gross domestic product. I question the basis for this request. It is exceedingly difficult to achieve lasting results from economic aid, and when it comes to providing assistance that leads to economic development, few countries have a record better than Japan's.

HAS JAPAN FAILED TO APOLOGIZE?

The Chinese frequently charge that Japan has never truly apologized for its conduct during and prior to World War II. Let us take up that issue now.

To begin with, it seems to me that Japan's acceptance of the verdicts of the Tokyo Trial and its extensive economic aid to China in the years since World War II constitute an apology in themselves. However, Japan has also apologized explicitly on several occasions---in the Japan-China joint communique of September 1972, in the 1978 treaty, and in the Japan-China joint declaration of 1998--and China acknowledged these apologies at the time. Furthermore, on the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II in 1995, Prime Minister Murayama issued the following statement:

During a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology. Allow me also to express my feelings of profound mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, of that history.

If this is not a clear-cut apology, then what is?*

(*On April 22 this year, in an address to the representatives of more than 80 countries assembled for the Asian-African Summit in Bandung, Indonesia, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro delivered an apology of similar content.)

Some have complained that Japan's apologies are not as clear-cut as Germany's apologies. But how can the two be compared? Germany was apologizing for the Holocaust, a plan for exterminating an entire race unprecedented in human history. Not even the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Stalin's "gulag archipelago," or Pol Pot's massacres can compare with the Holocaust.

And what about other countries? Has China apologized to Vietnam for invading it in 1979? Have the United States or Russia or Britain apologized for their past invasions and wars? Surely powerful victors are not exempt from the duty to apologize for past aggression. It is not my intention to criticize these countries but simply to highlight the nature of war. In any case, the charge that Japan has not apologized is patently false, and the charge that it has not apologized in the manner expected of an aggressor is also untrue.

(To be continued in Part 3, which will be published in Japan Now Vol. 1, No. 3, 2005 (September 2005)...)

Kitaoka Shin'ichi received his doctorate in law from the University of Tokyo. He has been a professor at Rikkyo University and the University of Tokyo. He is now deputy permanent representative of Japan to the United Nations. He is the author of Nihon no Jiritsu: Tai-Bei Kyocho to Ajia Gaiko (Japan's Autonomy: Cooperation with the United States and Asian Diplomacy) and numerous other works.

Excerpted from Japan Echo, Special Issue 2005, pp. 12-17, which was in turn translated from "Iware naki Nihon Hihan o Haisu," Chuo Koron, June 2005, pp. 54-63., with some revisions by the author as of April 20 (Courtesy of Chuo Koron Shinsha and Japan Echo).

Gender and Healthcare Issues Addressed at JICC

On July 14, a panel discussion called "From the Capitals to the Community: Women and Public Policy in the United States and Japan" was held at the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan. The discussion featured eclectic women professionals from both countries (seven from Japan and two from the US), including scholars and professors, practitioners of law, members of national legislature, and leaders of both NGOs and private corporations. Each person drew on their expertise to describe the challenges women face because of the aging of their populations, the decline of the number of working people, and declining fertility rates. They then explained what the organization they represent are doing to counter these issues.

Professor Leonard Schoppa of the University of Virginia was moderator for the two-part discussion. He first presented the general problems facing women in both Japan and the United States. "In both counties, there is a rapid increase in elderly citizens, and this is a particular issue for women, because women have taken a disproportionate share of taking care of elderly relatives," Schoppa said. The aging society is a problem particularly when combined with declining fertility rates, which then leads to less working age citizens who can support the elderly in the future.

For the first part of the discussion, Schoppa asked the panelists what the responsibility of the Japanese and American governments are in dealing with such issues. Keiko Higuchi, from the Women's Association for a Better Aging Society in Japan, is a strong advocate of kaigo hoken, or insurance for at-home care, and as a former member of the Japanese Diet, had a central role in bringing that into law. Besides calling to both the Government and corporations to take adopt new policies to deal with the increasing number of women in the public sector and the workplace, she frequently made the audience laugh by joking about how even the gender roles inside the household affect the use of healthcare funds. "Some men rely on their wives too much to take care of their children and their elderly relatives. These men will become unable to take care of themselves. Women who cater to their husbands will create physically weak men, who then use up all the kaigo hoken," she said.

Among other panelists in the first discussion, Kiyoko Fujii of the Yokohama Women's Association for Communication and Networking emphasized the importance of dealing with low birthrates (which is currently 1.29% in Japan), and Karen Fraser, a Washington State senator, spoke about improvements that can be made in healthcare in the United States. Hiroko Mizushima, a Tochigi Prefecture Representative in the Japanese Diet, said that the Japanese government needs to take measure to improve work and life balance for the individual worker, and create a ministry of children and family affairs.

For the second part, Schoppa's question to the panelists was how the society in turn can help improve these issues. Professor Tsuyako Nakamura of Doshisha University in Kyoto demonstrated the difference in men and women in Japanese corporations. To take care of their children, 49.6% of all women workers are part-time, while only 7.82% of workers who are men are employed part-time. She said that progress must be made in promoting childcare in the corporate sector, modifying an excessive work orientation, and guaranteeing human rights.

The international discussion was fruitful in that it promoted US-Japan relations by addressing common problems that industrialized countries face. "We have a lot of events in Washington related to US and Japan issues, but rarely have an opportunity to focus on these very important gender issues," Schoppa said. "People in this panel are an example of international networks that are now forming among women's groups and individuals interested in gender issues, realizing that these are common challenges that women face around the world."

This event was sponsored by The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the National Association of Japan-America Societies, with support from the Japan-America Society of Washington, Inc. and cooperation with JICC. Citigroup and All Nippon Airways provided funding for the panelists' visit.


Amb. Ryozo Kato with wife
Hanayo, Yumi Yoshimura (left center),
and Ami Onuki (right center)

Puffy AmiYumi Performs in Washington, DC

On Aug. 22, Puffy AmiYumi, a Japanese singing duo, performed in a live concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. Called "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi--Rock Show from Tokyo Japan," the concert featured the two singers--Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura--with a backing of five band musicians.

Puffy AmiYumi is, according to their official American website, "more than just a chart topping group: much, much more. They are, quite simply, a cultural phenomenon." Indeed, they have been very well known in Japan since breaking out with the 1995 single "Ajia no Junshin (Pure Heart of Asia)," which sold more than a million copies. After continuing with hits such as "Circuit no Musume (Circuit Girl)" and "Kore ga Wastashi no Ikiru Michi (This is My Way of Living)," their music ventured into the United States. They recently saw an explosion of fame with an American cartoon show called "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" (on the Cartoon Network on Fridays at 7:30pm ET/PT). The show follows the pop stars as they travel the world, portraying their
adventures in animated and live-action segments.

The live concert at the 9:30 Club was loud, nearly shaking the building with the booming drums, the strong guitar, and Puffy's voice that had even bigger power. Ami and Yumi stomped on the stage in shorts, baggy T-shirts and sneakers, tossing their hair about as they sang. The audience cheered, clapped, danced, and bounced up and down while Puffy sang songs that were mostly from the cartoon show soundtrack. They also sang "The Song of Origin," which is the theme song to the latest Pokemon film, now showing in Japan.

The crowded audience included not only children, which was expected from the popularity of the cartoon show, but many young people in their teens or twenties: men and women of all races.

In between songs, Puffy spoke to their audience in husky, accented English, punctuated by the occasional Japanese phrase. On one occasion they joked about their language abilities, asking bilingual Japanese people to translate for them. "Aren't the Japanese people here in the United States to study English? If so, you should be able to translate the following," they said, and proceeded to read elusive phrases such as sounandatte ("I heard that's what happened") and yoroshiku ("Nice to meet you," "I look forward to working or associating with you," or "I trust you to take care of this matter," depending on the context) off of the index cards they brought.

Another comical moment was when Puffy asked the group, "What should we see in DC?" Most people in the audience shouted their recommendations of the Washington Monument, the Congress, and some museums, but there was one tattoo-covered youth who shouted, "My house!". When Puffy next asked the audience what the local specialty food was and what they should eat in DC, the same man declared, "Me!".

The best part of show, however, was perhaps at the encore. They sang a cover of the immensely popular Green Day's "Basket Case," appealing to both Japanese and American audiences who may not be familiar with all of Puffy's music. They then performed "Ajia no Junshin," their debut single and the song for which they are best known.

Perhaps Puffy attracts fans of all backgrounds because they are a combination of tomboyish cuteness and grunge rebelliousness. Neither their fashion nor their songs are girly in a traditional way, and yet there seems to be something very feminine about the contradiction between their tough-adolescent exterior and cute mannerisms.

Even Japan's Ambassador to the United States, Ryozo Kato, is not immune to their charm. He invited the duo to an embassy reception the following day, where he said that although he is a bit too old to really enjoy their music, Ami and Yumi are very nice and smart, and that he is very much impressed by them.

The Emperor and Empress's Visit to Saipan


-By Yoshihisa Ishikawa
First Secretary, Management & Coordination Section, Embassy of Japan
  Translation:
Umi yukaba, mizuku kabane If I go away to sea,
I shall become a corpse floating in the water;
Yama yukaba, kusa musu kabane If I go away to the mountain,
I shall become a corpse from which grass grows;
Okimi no he ni koso shiname
Kaerimi wa seji
If it is for the Emperor,
I will not regret my death.

I still remember hearing the sorrowful melody of Umi Yukaba during my recent trip to Saipan. On June 28th, the Emperor and Empress visited Saipan's senior community center, Manamko, which means "elderly" in the Chamorro language. During the visit, an elderly Chamorro man sang Umi Yukaba, which he had learned in Japanese when he was young. After listening to this song of lament that was popular during the Second World War, many senior citizens of Chamorro and Japanese descent had tears in their eyes as they recalled to Their Majesties the hardship they underwent during and after the war.

From June 15, 1944, when the American military landed on Saipan, until their occupation on July 9th, a total of 43,000 Japanese soldiers and 12,000 Japanese civilians were killed. Among these individuals, many chose to die rather than surrender. At the steep cliff on the northern part of the island, while ignoring the American military’s call for surrender, Japanese men and women clutched their children and shouted "Hail to the Emperor!" as they jumped, one after another, into the sapphire sea. During this time, Japan viewed Saipan as an invincible strategic defense zone. Considering the fact that after Saipan's defeat, the American bombers that departed Saipan and its neighboring island, Tinian, took part in the Tokyo Air Raid and dropped the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Saipan's strategic importance is evident. Also, we have not forgotten the more than 5,000 American soldiers and approximately 1,000 local civilians who lost their lives in the battles of Saipan.

The Emperor and Empress's recent visit to Saipan was a response by the Government of Japan's request, in light of Their Majesties' wish to pray for all victims of the Second World War, remember the sadness of the families left behind, and continue to aspire for world peace. Sixty years have passed since the end of the War, but this is the first time Their Majesties have visited a foreign country with the main purpose of prayer for those who passed away and for world peace. On this note, one can say that this visit was of great historical significance.

During their visit, Their Majesties offered flowers at the memorial for all war victims, which was built by the Government of Japan. The memorial pays tribute to those who passed away, regardless of nationality, not only in Saipan but also in the entire Mid-Pacific region. Their Majesties then visited Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff, where many Japanese people jumped to their deaths. Their Majesties also paid floral tribute at the American Memorial Park, which honors the American military personnel and local civilians who passed away. In addition, although not originally included in the initial schedule, Their Majesties visited the Okinawa Peace Memorial and the Korean Peace Memorial. Throughout their visit, Their Majesties listened to various stories of indescribable tragedy and offered their sincere condolences to the bereaved families of the war victims, members of veterans' associations, and Saipan residents of Japanese descent who recalled their personal experiences.

As a staff member who was fortunately able to witness Their Majesties' visit, I felt Their Majesties' strong desire to pay respect to the war victims and to pray for world peace. I believe that the visit was smoothly completed because of Their Majesties' sincere wish for peace, the local people's warm welcome, and the cooperation of the many staff members of the United States Government, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and all others who were involved.

Blessed by the brilliant sun, the endless emerald sea, the burning red colors of the native Flame Tree, and the sparkling stars of the Southern Cross, Saipan today is a peaceful paradise. Standing in this environment, I am overcome by emotions when I think of the cruelty of war that took place sixty-one years ago, the tragedy, the sorrow of the war victims, and the hardship of those who survived. I sincerely hope that the Emperor and Empress's visit to Saipan will be regarded by as many people as possible as a cause to mourn the honorable sacrifices of the people before us, to appreciate the peace that we live in today, and to express the determination to never again repeat the tragedy of the past.

The Emperor and the Empress visited Saipan from June 27 to June 28. Along with Ambassador Ryozo Kato, Yoshihisa Ishikawa was one of 16 staff members who visited Saipan from the Embassy of Japan, to prepare for Their Majesties' visit. Mr. Ishikawa is First Secretary of the Management & Coordination section.