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“Japan Should Build a War Memorial to Replace Yasukuni”

“Japan Should Build a War Memorial to Replace Yasukuni”

Posted December. 15, 2005 08:59,   


The International Crisis Group (ICG), a non-profit organization that studies international conflicts, recommended that Japan build a separate war memorial that would replace the Yasukuni Shrine in order to resolve conflicts over the “distortion” of the past history with neighboring countries.

The ICG wrote in its report, “Flow of Conflict in Northeast Asia” to be released on December 15, that “the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery are good examples of paying tribute to the fallen soldiers while avoiding a controversy over ‘beautifying’ wars. We recommend building a similar war memorial.” This paper obtained the report on Wednesday, prior to its release.

The report also points out that the Japanese officials, at least the cabinet members, should refrain from making provocative remarks. In addition, the report suggests that the Japanese government set up a public fund for comfort women, former living body experiment subjects, and victims of forced recruitment.

Within the Japanese political circle, the ruling coalition partner New Komeito has argued that some of the budget should be allocated to review the establishment of a national war memorial, but Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is firmly against the idea.

The ICG report is notable in that it presents what has so far been a domestic issue of Japan as an international issue – the building of a war memorial to replace Yasukuni.

Meanwhile, the report also touches on the conflict over the history between Northeast Asian countries, suggesting that “related countries should stop linking the past history debate with diplomacy and resume inter-governmental talks at all levels.”

The report said the Chinese government “should allow Chinese internet users freer access to websites of Western and Japanese media so that the public can form a rational opinion toward Japan.”

The report said the Korean government should express gratitude to Japan for providing economic aid in the past and said, “It is irrational to call every ‘change’ Japan seeks to make as militarism.”

The report criticized the U.S. saying, “The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal) was convened to punish leaders that initiated invasions, but not a single Korean victim was present. There are reports that the U.S. hid evidence in return for living body experiment results from Japan.”

As policy measures for all Northeast Asian nations, the report suggested halting independent military training within disputed regions and holding regular talks to launch an “East Asia Peace Institute” with participation from scholars, separate from the formal talks between governments.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com