It has been confirmed that at least 60 Japanese civilians came to the Korean Peninsula with the U.S. army during the Korean War in 1950 and 18 of them participated in combats.
The Mainichi Shimbun reported on Monday about Japan’s participation in the Korean War, citing a classified National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) document titled, “Unauthorized transportation and usage of Japanese nationals in Korea.”
According to the article, 60 Japanese civilians came to the Korean Peninsula around July 1950 and went back to Japan between January and February of 1951. Out of 60, 27 were given weapons and 18 used them in combats. Most of them were responsible for interpretation works.
Forty-six of them were in their teens and twenties, according to the 800-page document. Eighteen of them were under 20, including a nine-year-old. Forty-eight of them were the employees of the U.S. Forces Japan. When asked why they came to the Korean Peninsula, most of them answered they were recommended by their superiors at the U.S. base. The Mainichi Shimbun wrote that the U.S. army possibly brought the civilians along with them without permission based on personal relationship.
This is the first time that Japanese civilians’ participation in the Korean War has been revealed. It has been known until now that Japan’s involvement in the Korean War was limited to harbor works and the removal of mines by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) at the request of the U.S. Navy. Fifty-seven members of the JCG died on duty.
The Mainichi Shimbun wrote that the document is a proof of Japanese civilians’ participation in the war. “It is shocking to know that Japanese civilians participated in combats during the Korean War,” said Lee Won-deok, professor of Japanese studies at Kookmin University. “But it is difficult to say Japan participated in the war since the civilians were taken to the battlefield by the U.S. army based on personal relationship.”