Why Nanjing Matters

 
Denying the Nanjing Massacre violates Japan's post-war commitment, tramples the dignity of the victims and hurts their families' feelings, according to Motokazu Nogawa, a lecturer of Nihon University.

Nogawa, a researcher on historical revisionism issue of Japanese right-wing forces, said Japanese nationalist right-wing groups always deny the Nanjing Massacre, citing Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura who claimed that the Nanjing Massacre was entirely fabricated.

"In fact, their real purpose is to get dominance in the political field rather than the academic field," Nogawa said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the eve of China's first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims on Dec. 13, which also marks the 77th anniversary of the mass-slaughter.

On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops captured the then Chinese capital Nanjing, killing some 300,000 unarmed people within six weeks.

According to Nogawa, Japanese right wingers use all kinds of communication tools to deny the Nanjing Massacre. On the contrary, few impartial stories about the massacre could be heard from Japanese media. "This kind of imbalance makes it difficult for the public to have access to historical facts," he said.

"The Nanjing Massacre trampled the victims' dignity and hurt their families' feelings deeply. However, a majority of media organizations focus on interpretation that the incident is simply 'a block against Sino-Japanese relations' or 'a controversial topic between right and left wing forces'."

"Meanwhile, some intellectuals in Japan know the historical facts, but choose to keep silent. Most of them have a good knowledge about Western countries' firm attitude toward the massacre of the Jewish population, when it comes to the Nanjing Massacre, however, they are excessively tight-lipped," Nogawa said.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, established for war crimes and other wartime atrocities after World War II, ruled the Nanjing Massacre was among war crimes.

To Nogawa, recognizing the verdict constitutes the premise of Japan's return to the international community in the post-war era and the signing of the China-Japan Joint Statement.

In the statement signed in 1972, the Japanese government expressed its "deep introspection" on Japan's responsibility for the enormous losses sustained by the Chinese people as the result of the war and expressed its stance to strictly follow the " Potsdam Proclamation".

So, Nogawa said, on China's side, denying the Nanjing Massacre not only means denial of Japan's war crimes, but also goes against Japan's commitment to the international community.

He also suggested that the Chinese side emphasize to Japanese citizens "Japan's recognition of the Nanjing Massacre is a symbol of reconciliation in bilateral relations."

Regional prosperity cannot be achieved without peaceful co- existence and full awareness of the past, Nogawa said, adding "I hope nationals of the two countries to remember those Chinese people who have suffered from the war and honor the victims of the massacre."

Zhu Chao

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