1st American and Chinese World War II Memorial Monument at Monterey Park


On Nov 22,  2010 at the unveiling ceremony ALPHA-LA  former board member Judge Yosh Yamanaka as a guest speaker gave the following speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honored guests:

I’d like to thank the Monterey Park City Council and the American and Chinese WW2 Memorial Monument Association for inviting me to this commemoration.

We honor the American and Chinese armed forces and civilians who gave their lives to defend freedom and human rights against the aggressions of Japanese imperialism during WW2. This occasion provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon the causes and consequences of war.

Many historians have said that one of the root causes of Imperial Japan’s militaristic expansion into Korea, Manchuria, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia was Japan’s need for raw materials. That aggressive expansion was rationalized as the benevolence of Japan in creating a so-called “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” Some feel that Japan’s attack on the United States became inevitable when the United States prohibited the shipment of scrap iron to Japan.

Opportunistic nations will often go to extreme lengths to gain access to mineral resources and other raw materials located in foreign lands. War is the worst of these measures, because the destruction extends beyond the military to the civilians of the nation being attacked. Soldiers often fail to stop after vanquishing foreign armies and continue their aggressions by brutalizing the civilian population.

Such crimes against civilians were perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial military. Among those crimes were the abduction, imprisonment, sexual enslavement and rape of Korean and other Asian women. Those girls and women were euphemistically called “Comfort Women.”

The government of Japan has never officially apologized to the so-called Comfort Women. Most of those women have now gone to their graves while bearing the agonizing shame and humiliation of having been raped countless times. Let us hope that Japan recognizes its moral obligation to apologize to those it has victimized. Otherwise, the last of the Comfort Women will have died, and with them, Japan’s possibility for atonement.

In 1995, the U.N. began discussions about expanding the Security Council to allow the seating of Japan, Germany, India, and Brazil as permanent members. Talk of Japan obtaining a permanent seat on the Security Council intensified in 2004. That year, as a member of ALPHA-LA, the Alliance to Preserve the History of World War 2 in Asia, I helped circulate a petition which opposed Japan’s accession as a permanent member of an expanded Security Council. We insisted that Japan not be honored with a permanent seat until the government apologized and paid reparations to Comfort Women, victims of chemical and biological warfare, of slave labor, and of the Bataan Death March.

More than one million signatures were collected in the Peoples Republic of China and many more signatures were collected elsewhere in the world. I was part of a delegation which presented those petitions to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan.

My position today is the same as it was in 2004. I continue to feel that Japan should not be honored with a permanent seat on the Security Council until it atones for its victimization of innocent men and women during WW2.

Japan is the country of my birth, and some of my relatives have urged me not to publicly criticize Japan. However, as a free citizen of the world, my conscience requires me to speak out whenever massive crimes are perpetrated by a government, whether that government is that of Japan, the United States, Myanmar, Sudan, or the Peoples Republic of China.

In closing, let me say that it is appropriate that we commemorate the American and Chinese soldiers and civilians who resisted Japan’s imperialist aggression during WW2. Today’s commemoration reminds us that there is a famous wall in Washington D.C. that commemorates American soldiers who gave their lives during our war against the Vietnamese people. And there are other memorials throughout the world dedicated to the memory of those who suffered or died because of war. My hope is that one day, it will be unnecessary to build war memorials, because war will have become an obsolete instrument of our barbaric past.

I believe that if everyone who shares this hope commits to this vision, we can achieve a world which does not choose war as a solution, but one in which all people enjoy a peaceful coexistence.

I wish to again thank the City Council, and the members of the American and Chinese WW2 Memorial Monument Association.

Thank you.

Editor note: Yosh Yamanaka was born in Tokyo, Japan 10 months after VJ Day.  He immigrated to the United States when he was 4 ½ years old and attended public schools in Los Angeles.  He got his undergraduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Yosh got his teaching credential and M.A. in Special Education and taught math, science and photography for 14 years.  In the meantime, he took evening classes at Southwestern, passed the California Bar Exam, and practiced law for 8 years.

Yosh was appointed to the bench and has been a workers’ compensation administrative law judge for the past 16 years.  He has served as an officer on numerous non-profit boards including Pacifica Foundation, L.A. Friends of Tibet, Captive Daughters, and the Alliance to Preserve the History of WWII in Asia.

Yosh will be retiring from the bench next month to teach English in Laos and work on the unexploded ordnance problem in that country.

NEH’s Delusion of “The Legacies of the Pacific War”

From: Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 1:04 PM

Subject: Pacific War “delusions” (UNCLASSIFIED)

In July 2010 the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities, http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/index.html) sponsored a workshop for college professors at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii. The title of the conference was “History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War.” As one of the 25 American scholars chosen to attend the workshop, Professor Penelope Blake anticipated an opportunity to visit hallowed sites such as Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Punchbowl Cemetery and engage with scholars who share her interest in studying this often neglected part of World War II history.

Instead, Professor Blake was treated to the most disturbing experience of her academic career, a conference which she found to be driven by an overt political bias and a blatant anti-American agenda. Professor Blake has forwarded to us the following letter dated September 12, 2010, to Illinois Rep. Donald Manzullo, her congressman, documenting examples of what transpired at the conference. Copies of the letter were also sent to members of the NEH Council and to Leach. Professor Blake writes (all emphases are in the original):

Dear Congressman Manzullo:

As one of twenty-five American scholars chosen to participate in the recent National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Workshop, “History and Commemoration: Legacies of the Pacific War in WWII,” at the University of Hawaii, East-West Center, I am writing to ask you to vote against approval of 2011 funding for future workshops until the NEH can account for the violation of its stated objective to foster “a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups” (NEH Budget Request, 2011).

In my thirty years as a professor in upper education, I have never witnessed nor participated in a more extremist, agenda-driven, revisionist conference, nearly devoid of rhetorical balance and historical context for the arguments presented.

In both the required preparatory readings for the conference, as well as the scholarly presentations, I found the overriding messages to include the following:

1. The U.S. military and its veterans constitute an imperialistic, oppressive force which has created and perpetuated its own mythology of liberation and heroism, insisting on a “pristine collective memory” of the war. The authors/presenters equate this to Japan’s almost total amnesia and denial about its own war atrocities (Fujitani, White, Yoneyama, 9, 23). One presenter specifically wrote about turning down a job offer when he realized that his office would overlook a fleet of U.S. Naval warships, “the symbol of American power and the symbol of our [Hawaiians’] dispossession…I decided they could not pay me enough” (Osorio 5). Later he claimed that electric and oil companies were at the root of WWII, and that the U.S. developed a naval base at Pearl Harbor to ensure that its own coasts would not be attacked (9, 13).

2. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor should be seen from the perspective of Japan being a victim of western oppression (one speaker likened the attack to 9-11, saying that the U.S. could be seen as “both victim and aggressor” in both attacks); that American “imperial expansion” forced Japan’s hand: “For the Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western Imperialism” (Yoneyama 335-336); and the Pearl Harbor attack could be seen as a “pre-emptive strike.” (No mention of the main reason for the Pearl Harbor attack: the U.S. had cut off Japan’s oil supply in order to stop the wholesale slaughter of Chinese civilians at the hands of the Japanese military.)  Another author argued that the Japanese attack was no more “infamous” or “sneaky” than American actions in Korea or Vietnam (Rosenberg 31-32).

3. War memorials, such as the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery (where many WWII dead are buried, including those executed by the Japanese on Wake Island and the beloved American journalist Ernie Pyle), are symbols of military aggression and brutality “that pacify death, sanitize war and enable future wars to be fought” (Ferguson and Turnbull, 1). One author stated that the memorials represent American propaganda, “the right to alter a story” (Camacho 201).

4. The U.S. military has repeatedly committed rapes and other violent crimes throughout its past through the present day. Cited here was the handful of cases of attacks by Marines in Okinawa (Fujitani, et al, 13ff). (What was not cited were the mass-murders, rapes, mutilations of hundreds of thousands of Chinese at the hands of the Japanese throughout the 1930s and 40s. This issue is a perfect example of the numerous instances of assertions made without balance or historical context.) Another author stated that the segregation in place within our military and our “occupation” of Germany after the war was comparable to Nazism (‘we were as capable of as much evil as the Germans”) even though the author admits, with some incredulity, that he “saw no genuine torture, despite all the [American] arrogance, xenophobia and insensitivity.” He attributes American kindness towards conquered Germans to our “wealth and power” which allowed us to “forego the extreme kinds of barbarism” (Davis 586). Another author/presenter compared the temporary relocation camps erected by Americans during the war to Nazi extermination camps (Camacho 206). (This is perhaps the most outrageous, offensive and blatantly false statement I have ever read in a supposedly scholarly work).

5. Those misguided members of the WWII generation on islands like Guam and Saipan who feel gratitude to the Americans for saving them from the Japanese are blinded by propaganda supporting “the image of a compassionate America” or by their own advanced age. One author/presenter questioned whether the Americans had saved anyone from anything (Camacho 177, 209), arguing that the Americans could be seen as easily and justifiably as “conquerors and invaders” (199).

6. It was “the practice” of the U.S. military in WWII to desecrate and disrespect the bodies of dead Japanese (Camacho 186). (Knowing this to be absolutely false, I challenged the speaker/author, who then admitted that this was not the “practice” of our military. Still, the word remains in his publication. As he obviously knew this to be false, I can only assume that his objective was not scholarship but anti-military propaganda.)

7. Conservatives and veterans in the U.S. have had an undue and corrupt influence on how WWII is remembered, for example, successfully lobbying to remove from the Smithsonian Enola Gay exhibit images of the destruction caused by the atom bomb and the revisionist portrayal of the Japanese as victims in the war (Yoneyama). (What the presenter and author, Ms. Yoneyama, failed to explain was why all representations of Japan’s murderous rampages throughout China and the Philippines were removed from the exhibit as well…surely not at the request of American veterans or conservatives. When I challenged Ms. Yoneyama to explain this issue, a tense exchange ensued, but I finally established that Japanese influences had also played a role in “shaping” the exhibit. This never would have been mentioned had I not demanded the speaker address this distortion in her presentation. Ms. Yoneyama clearly intended to present a one-sided attack on those who wanted the exhibit to emphasize the many reasons why the atom bombs were necessary.) Ms. Yoneyama concluded her essay with a parting shot at the veterans, whom she mockingly labels “martyrs of their sacred war,” and “conservative elites” who objected to the Smithsonian’s revisionist history: “the Smithsonian debate ended in the defeat of those who sought critical rethinking, as well as the defeat of those who questioned the
self-evident…, and the victory of those who felt threatened by obfuscation of the contours of conventional knowledge” (emphasis mine, 329,339). The author’s elitist dismissal of those who questioned the Enola Gay exhibit is representative of the perspectives and tone of much of the conference, as illustrated by the following point.

8. Conservatives are reactionary nationalists (no distinction was made between nationalism and patriotism), pro-military “tea baggers” who are incapable of “critical thinking.” Comments were made about “people who watch Fox News” not caring if the news “is accurate or not” (Yoneyama, Lecture). The end result of this deprecation within the conference room was to discourage debate and create an atmosphere of intolerance to opposing views, in direct violation of the stated objectives of the NEH. Several participants told me privately that they considered me “brave” for speaking up, thus begging the question: At a conference supposedly committed to openness and tolerance of all views, why should it take bravery to speak one’s mind?

9. Relating to the above, even members of the NEH review board are not immune to “reactionary” pro-military views. One essay recounts how an earlier attempt to receive funding for a similar conference was denied because some NEH reviewers thought the “program lacked diversity and balance among points of view”….and that the organizers possessed “a very specific, ‘politically correct’ agenda,” noting that “bias is dangerously threatening throughout.” The authors of the essay dismissed and denigrated these NEH reviewers with the same elitist attitude they exhibited towards the “Fox News” viewers: “Clearly this reviewer was unable to comprehend our understanding” of the conference objectives (in other words, he/she is stupid), and “what he or she really desired was the inclusion of defenders of American nationalism and militarism” (Fujitani, et al, 24).
10. Veterans’ memories of their own experiences in the war are suspect and influenced by media and their own self-delusion (Rosenberg, 18, 24). Therefore, it is the role of academics to “correct” their history. As one organizer commented, this will be more easily accomplished once the WWII generation has passed away. Another wrote, “America’s nostalgic war memories are beginning to fray around the edges” (White, 267).

11. War memorials like the Arizona Memorial should be recast as “peace memorials,” sensitive to all viewers from all countries, especially the many visitors from Japan. The conference dedicated significant time to the discussion of whether or not a Japanese memorial in honor of victims of the atom bombs should be erected at the Arizona Memorial site, in order to pacify Japanese visitors who may be offended by the “racism” [anti-Japanese] of the Arizona Memorial. To this end, the conference organizers discussed a revised film (1992) shown to visitors to the Arizona Memorial which removed some of the earlier (1980) film’s “Japan-bashing” and warnings about the need for the American military to remain prepared in the future. The new film, which emphasizes the reasons (justifications?) for the Japanese bombings of Pearl Harbor, includes fewer battle scenes and “transforms the triumphant feelings of victory with a more mournful reflection of losses inflicted by war” (White 285), thus sending a more pacifist, anti-war message and offering a perspective which makes people “less angry” after viewing the film (the author acknowledges that this has worked well, except for “older citizens” who are outraged by the “revisionist” sympathy towards the Japanese) (287). The new, more “inclusive” film features visual images of both American and Japanese dead, Japanese Buddhist monks visiting the memorial, and a culminating text which reads “Mourn the dead” as opposed to “Mourn American dead” or “Mourn our dead” so that “it represented the U.S. and Japanese” (emphasis mine, 288). The memorial’s superintendent, Donald Magee, summed up the tone of the new film: “We don’t take sides….here at Pearl Harbor we don’t condemn the Japanese” (292). Based on the author’s description, I refused to attend a viewing of the film, in protest of its appeasement of treachery and attempts to revise historical fact.

As overwhelming and pervasive as these politically-correct and revisionist messages were, the conference did feature a few presentations and articles which represented truly excellent examples of balanced, well-researched scholarship. One highpoint of the conference was a panel of WWII veterans who shared with us their personal experiences of the war. But, given the overall anti-military bias present at this conference, I could not help but shudder to think how these amazing men would feel if they knew the true focus of the conference. I honestly felt ashamed of my profession and my government for sponsoring this travesty.

I am aware that my comments may well have been dismissed by the conference organizers in the same manner they dismissed other opposing voices as “nationalistic” or simplistic. So be it. But I am no blind patriot, Congressman Manzullo, nor am I ignorant of the complexities inherent in the telling and re-telling of history. I also acknowledge, research and teach the many mistakes this country has made, and I am as suspect of the extreme right as I am of the extreme left. But I am also a historian who knows that despite all of their mistakes, this nation and its military have defended, protected and freed more people in their comparatively brief existence than all of the nations in Europe and Asia combined. Allied efforts, however imperfect, defended the world against two of the greatest forms of evil the world has ever known, European Fascism and Japanese Imperialism. This perspective was never, not once, offered at this conference except as a concept that will be well-buried with the WWII generation. If nothing else, I have shown that any imminent celebration of the demise of these concepts may be premature.

As a daughter of two WWII veterans and the niece of a man who gave his life to help defend his country in WWII, I simply will not stand by and allow their history to be usurped and corrupted by a revisionist and iconoclastic political agenda within academe.

The NEH is requesting an operating budget of 161 million dollars for 2011, including over 71 million to support conferences like the one I have described. I ask that you do everything in your power to delay approval of this request until the NEH does the following:

1. Reviews all NEH conference and workshop proposals and supporting materials to eliminate any overt political agenda;

2. Illustrates to Congress and the American people an ability to create programs which support sound and objective scholarship and provide forums for debate in which all sides are recognized and encouraged;

3. Eliminates all intolerance and pejorative language towards any group or viewpoint;

4. Commits itself to a fair and balanced view of our nation’s history and humanities, acknowledging its mistakes but also honoring its achievements.

To demonstrate the above, any group or institution requesting a grant from the NEH should be required to submit its entire schedule of presenters and a complete list of the literature which will be discussed at the conference to ensure that varied sides of any issue will be represented and respected.

Until these actions are taken, I sincerely doubt that the majority of Americans would approve of their tax dollars supporting this academic attack on American history and culture. I plan to do everything in my power to inform American voters of this issue, and I trust our elected officials will take heed of their constituents’ reactions.

Citations for the sources I have used are attached to this letter. Should you wish any further documentation on the issues I have raised or have any questions, feel free to contact me.


Penelope A. Blake, Ph.D.

What is to be done? The East-West Center has already been funded by NEH to conduct a similar workshop in the coming summer, plus one for high-school teachers that is likely to be similarly tendentious. These expenditures could be frozen pending a full investigation, or rescinded, or otherwise handled in a way that recognizes the seriousness of the problem.

Professor Blake makes reference in her letter to various parts of a book called Perilous Memories <http://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Memories-Asia-Pacific-War-s/dp/0822325640>, coedited by Geoffrey White; White was the director of the workshop attended by Professor Blake. This book (or parts of it) was required preliminary reading for the participants in the workshop, and is something like the ur-text that reveals the intentions and worldview behind the workshop itself. It is an appalling if characteristic example of radical postmodernist gibberish complete with all the buzzwords about transnationality, the construction of public memory, and so on.

Professor Blake teaches Humanities at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Readers desiring a copy of the sources cited in her letter can write me at powerlinefeedback@gmail.com with “Sources” in the Subject line. Thanks to Professor Blake for entrusting this story to us.

Remembering Nanking from a Canadian perspective

Remembering Nanking from a Canadian perspective
Olivia Cheng, the Edmonton-born actress and former Global TV journalist who starred in the docudrama Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking, has been invited by Japanese peace groups to speak.

Here is her rehearsal of that speech.  Her dad and I are founding members of Edmonton ALPHA, the group I have been involved with these past couple of years.


Unveiling Ceremony of American and Chinese World War II Memorial Monument

Monterey Park City Council
American and Chinese World War II Memorial Monument Association

Request the honor of your presence
In the witness and celebration of historical unveiling of a memorial monument
dedicated to the American and Chinese armed forces and civilians who gave their lives
during World War II to defend freedom and justice of mankind against aggression

on Monday, the twenty second of November
Two thousand and ten
at eleven o’clock in the morning
at the front lawn of the Monterey Park City Hall
320 West Newmark Avenue
Monterey Park, California
( Light refreshment after ceremony)

The Woman Who Could Not Forget Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking



The Woman Who Could Not Forget
Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking

A Memoir by Ying-Ying Chang

On November 9th, the world remembers Iris Chang whose work forever changed the way the world views World War II in Asia

Six years ago today, Iris Chang, author of Thread of the Silkworm, The Chinese in America, and the bestselling The Rape of Nanking, tragically ended her own life. Yet it is not how she died, but rather how she lived, that still continues to fascinate and influence the world. Iris’ book The Rape of Nanking shattered preconceived notions about WWII in Asia and brought to light a “Second Holocaust.”

It all began with a photo of a river choked with the bodies of hundreds of Chinese civilians that shook Iris to her core. Who were these people? Why had this happened and how could their story have been lost to history? She could not shake that image from her head. She could not forget what she had seen.

In 1997, Iris revealed this second Holocaust to the world. The Japanese atrocities against the people of Nanking were so extreme that a Nazi party member based in China actually petitioned Hitler to ask the Japanese government to stop the massacre. But who was this woman that single-handedly swept away years of silence, secrecy and shame? What is her story?

Iris’ mother, Ying-Ying, provides an enlightened and nuanced look at her daughter, from Iris’ home-made childhood newspaper, to her early years as a journalist and later, as a promising young historian, her struggles with her son’s autism and her tragic suicide as a result of untested medicinal side-effects.

The Woman Who Could Not Forget cements Iris’ legacy as one of the most extraordinary minds of her generation and reveals the depth and beauty of the bond between mother and daughter.

Pegasus will publish in hardcover in May 2011. Ying-Ying is available for print and radio interviews. Please contact Jessica Case at Pegasus Books, Jessica@pegasusbooks.us, 212-504-2924 to request a review copy or to schedule an interview.

“In this brave memoir you will share in the celebration of a life, allowing us to experience her presence again. Full of courage and conviction, full of life.” ­–Richard Rhodes

Ying-Ying Chang is the mother of Iris Chang. She has a PhD from Harvard in biochemistry and was a research associate professor of microbiology at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with her husband, Shau-Jin, a physics professor. She lives in San Jose, California and is on the board of the Iris Change Memorial Fund.

$29.95 • 400 pages • Hardcover • 978-1-60598-172-7 • Biography/Memoir • May 2011

GA 2010 Biennial Conference report 15 October 2010

Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia

2010 Biennial Conference report 15 October 2010

1. Introduction and Summary

The 2010 GA Biennial Conference was held over the extended weekend of 8-10 October 2010, Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. The suburban campus of Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing, New Jersey was our main venue. The Conference was billed as an international education conference for teachers, students, historians, researchers, and activists with the theme: “Acknowledgment, Apology, Reconciliation,” and aimed at ending tensions felt in all nations of the Pacific with Japan over unresolved issues of war crimes and atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces on mainland Asia and island nations of the Pacific during WWII. The Conference also discussed these issues in the larger context of human rights violations, global citizenship, and resolution of past historical injustices. A GA board meeting was conducted Sunday afternoon. Attendance ranged from roughly 40 on Friday to about 100 on Saturday.

The Conference featured presentations by distinguished guests from the US, China, Canada, and Japan, and screened four films. All sessions Friday and Saturday were held on the Oakcrest Campus; Sunday’s sessions were conducted on the nearby campus of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, a modern college campus very recently constructed in the 1960s. Dinner Friday and Saturday, lunch on Saturday, and coffee breaks were provided by the staff of the Oakcrest High School cafeteria, served buffet-style in a pleasant and comfortable dining hall. The Days Hotel of Egg Harbor Township became the Conference hotel. For those staying there, breakfast was included.

The major job of managing, organizing, and administering the Conference, and attending to innumerable details, was shared by the NJ-ALPHA GA Affiliate organization, Oakcrest faculty and staff, and faculty and staff of Richard Stockton College. The State of New Jersey Holocaust Education Commission performed a vital task of communication with teachers from the local area, and arranging for Sunday’s sessions at the Holocaust Resource Center of Stockton College.

Many Oakcrest High School students volunteered to help during the Conference. They assisted with parking information, greeting arriving guests, directing participants to Oakcrest facilities, and offering clerical help. A critical factor in the Conference success was arranging transportation and accommodations for attendees, invited guests, and speakers. This included international travel between Canada, China, Japan, and the US, as well as local travel between and within New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

2. Conference Program Notes

Friday, 8 October

We began Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. with registration. The NJ-ALPHA photo exhibit was displayed in the Oakcrest campus building entrance hall, depicting scenes from the Japanese Imperial Army invasion and occupation of China. The film, “Nanjing, Nanjing (City of Life and Death),” was screened. This film, directed by Lu Chuan, has been released world-wide. It was a 2009 winner at the 57th San Sebastian Film Festival.

Following a light dinner, the film, “Iris Chang – The Rape of Nanking,” was presented. This is a 2008 major motion picture production by a Canadian film company, Reel2Reel. Starring Olivia Cheng, produced by Anne Pick, and directed by Anne Pick and Bill Spahic, the film combines documentary footage, victims’ testimonies, and newly discovered documents. The film brings into focus Iris Chang’s passion, courage and single-minded devotion to truth and social justice. The film also provides background information on the WW II conflict in the Pacific with its devastating consequences on the victims—not only in China but the whole of East and Southeast Asia. This film was the result of a tireless effort by GA Affiliate Toronto ALPHA, which secured initial funding. Iris Chang’s parents, Drs. Ying-Ying Chang and Shau-Jin Chang, participated in a Q&A session, and also showed some personal slides of Iris.

Saturday, 9 October

Conference Chair, Dr. Peter Stanek, opened proceedings at 9 a.m.

Werner Gruhl, a retired NASA statistician and author of “Imperial Japan’s World War Two, 1931-1945,” delivered an analysis of the full dimensions of the human catastrophe visited upon the world by Japan in the war. He noted that most of this information is largely unknown, having been suppressed both in the West and in Japan. Currently the Japanese government seeks to portray Japan as the victim of WW II, whereas in fact Japan not only started the war but pursued its dream of empire with unparalleled savagery and cruelty.

Gruhl’s presentation was followed by Prof. Zhang Lianhong of Nanjing Normal University, who discussed the continuing effort to uncover information on the Rape of Nanjing. Prof. Zhang together with Hua-Ling Hu authored “The Undaunted Women of Nanking, The Wartime Diaries of Minnie Vautrin and Tsen Shui-Fang.” This history is a compilation of diary entries from identical dates during the massacre, and provides further historical evidence of the scale and savagery of the Japanese invasion and occupation and also of the heroic efforts of foreign and Chinese upstanders. A research project at Nanjing Normal University seeks to uncover further documents from the wartime period.

Following Prof. Zhang, Ms. Kang Jian, Esq., Chinese Lawyer and Delegation Leader, presented an overview of Chinese Forced Labor Litigation. She was introduced by Judge Julie Tang of the San Francisco Superior Court. Ms. Kang explained the complexities of pursuing legal remedies for victims of Japanese war crimes through the courts in Japan over the last ten years. The original plaintiffs, Chinese peasants who endured slavery under the Japanese government, had sued for payment, and for an acknowledgment and apology by the government of Japan. Although the Japanese Supreme Court ruled that the Chinese laborers were horribly treated, it also ruled that the rights of Chinese laborers to claim damages was waived based on the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951. Because of this ruling, the Chinese plaintiffs were unsuccessful in their objectives, but highly successful in bringing Japanese crimes to world-wide attention.

Immediately after the ruling, many people, including many lawyers in Japan, recognized a serious flaw in the Japanese Supreme Court ruling, because the People’s Republic of China was not a participant nor signatory in the 1951 Treaty. In the meantime, the Japanese Nishimatsu Corporation offered an unacceptable solution, which was rejected by all of the original plaintiffs. The Chinese victims are still seeking justice. Although unsuccessful in their initial objectives, the Chinese plaintiffs were very successful in bringing Japanese crimes to world-wide attention.

Following lunch, the Conference was resumed with personal statements by direct victims of Japanese aggression in China. Mr. Chang Chu-Yeh described his experiences in Nanjing during and after the massacre. Prof. Jean B. Chan went on to describe the horrors she and her family experienced, living in a Chinese village during the Japanese occupation.

The Conference then screened a documentary film, “Lessons in the Blood (Unit 731 & Germ Warfare)”, followed by discussion with film director James T. Hong. This movie explores eleven “lessons” of the Pacific War, graphically depicting Japanese war crimes of murder, rape, chemical and biological warfare, and the consequences that are still felt throughout China.

Mr. Daniel Barenblatt, author of “A Plague Upon Humanity: The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan’s Germ Warfare Operation,” presented a discussion of current literature about the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces during the war. He highlighted a children’s book written on a bizarre theme of Korean aggression against Japan, which although historically inaccurate has achieved a certain following in the US.

The Conference resumed with a presentation by Ms. Wang Xuan and an overview of her research into sites in China where the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces conducted biological and chemical warfare. Ms. Wang was joined for panel discussion by four researchers from China and Japan: Mr. Shoji Kondo, Ms. Song Fangfang, Mr. Chen Zhuo, and Ms. Zhang Huifang. This group will later travel on to Washington, DC to study the National Archives for further data to be found in the files. Mr. Kondo made a special plea for help in uncovering information that may have been buried in official US documents for more than sixty years.

In the next presentation, Thekla Lit, President BC-ALPHA, shared the experience in working with different related organizations, including the Ministry of Education, school boards, Teachers’ Federation and Social Studies Teachers’ Association etc. in order to motivate the school system in the incorporation of the teaching of Asia Pacific history, 1931-1945. To provide concrete support to teachers, annual Peace and Reconciliation Study Tours for Educators have been organized since 2004. Student Symposia youth conferences have also been organized so that students can learn lessons of the Asian Holocaust from teacher presenters who have participated in the Study Tour. The Canadian system emphasizes teacher and student involvement in regional and national conferences to spread history information about the War.

Following this presentation, teachers Doug Cervi and Bob Holden described their motivation to bring Pacific War history to their classrooms in New Jersey. They participated in a 2006 summer China Study Tour of historically significant locations in China and interviews with Chinese victims and survivors of Japanese atrocities. This led them to spearhead, with local colleagues, the development and implementation of the NJ-ALPHA/NJ Holocaust Education Commission Curriculum and Teachers Guide, a comprehensive approach to bringing this history to the classroom. They wrote and published the First Edition of the Curriculum and Teachers Guide in 2007. Then Frances Flannery and Maryann McLoughlin, participants with the 2008 China Study Tour, announced the publication of the Second Edition of the Curriculum and Teachers Guide, that was written by them and Rosemary Wilkinson.

After dinner, again at Oakcrest, the program continued with a presentation by Flora Chong, Vice-President Toronto ALPHA, on developments in the international redress and reconciliation movement, including the recent establishment of an ALPHA chapter in Japan. Toronto ALPHA has published texts and brochures, and conducted seminars and school meetings to encourage students to pursue history studies actively in Canada. These projects have significantly raised awareness of redress and reconciliation issues for the Canadian public.

The evening concluded with a screening of “Torn Memories of Nanking,” the work of independent Japanese film-maker, Tamaki Matsuoka. This remarkable film records the horrors of the Nanjing Massacre in a series of interviews with former Japanese soldiers who participated in committing the atrocities, as well as with their Chinese victims. Ms. Matsuoka began her studies of this history in 1988 with a visit to Nanjing, wondering what actually was the “Nanjing Massacre”. She encountered two widely diverse opinions about the event, which ultimately led to this film. In the summer of 1997 Nanjing high school students had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of the Nanjing massacre victims. Ms. Matsuoka and friends organized a group of eighteen Japanese students to participate in this project. Since then she has visited Nanjing seventy times to film interviews and conduct research. These were joined with the filmed interviews of former Japanese soldiers in her movie.

Sunday, 10 October

The Conference moved to the campus of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. We were the guests of Prof. Maryann McLoughlin, who gave us a brief campus tour and an introduction to the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center, located within the College Library. We continued at the Resource Center conference room.

Prof. McLoughlin introduced Gail Rosenthal, Director of the Holocaust Resource Center, who gave us an overview of the Center and presented a short film.

A paper by Prof. Irving Horowitz: “The Unitary Character of Good, Evil and History” was delivered by his colleague Paul Myatovich, Transaction Publishers (as Prof. Horowitz was traveling in Europe). Transaction publishes many volumes in Asian Studies, and works closely with Rutgers University.

The Board entertained reports from GA Affiliate organizations. Canadian ALPHAs reported on the recent Toronto Conference and on work in Canada.

Prof. Peter Li led a discussion of reflections and future directions for the summer study tours. He was joined by former participants of these tours and others, and will be developing plans for future GA-sponsored travel to China.

After lunch at the College cafeteria, the Conference resumed with formal GA business. The Chinese victims’ law suit, the Diaoyu Islands dispute, and methods to inform political leaders and public opinion were discussed.

3. GA Board business actions

The Board passed the following resolutions:

A. Whereas it is our belief that the following principles should not be compromised in any in-court or out-of-court settlements between Chinese victims of wartime forced labor abducted to Japan and any of the perpetrating parties, namely the Japanese government and the complicit Japanese corporations:

1. It is imperative that the concerned perpetrating parties need to demonstrate unequivocally that they are not evading their historical, moral and legal responsibilities.

2. It is not acceptable that any settlement would be based on the premise that the 1972 China-Japan Joint Communique extinguished the right to claim damages of Chinese individuals as this is only an unilateral interpretation of the Joint Communique by the courts of the perpetrator country. To insist on incorporating such a premise into a settlement document is the unequivocal sign of denying legal responsibility by the perpetrating party.

3. An empty expression of regret by a perpetrating party without corresponding provisions in the settlement document on the grave crimes against humanity committed against the victims is an unequivocal sign of insincerity and such “regret” and “apology” is meaningless and unacceptable.

4. Any settlement payment to the victims or their heirs must be just and honorable compensation for the sufferings inflicted on the victims and cannot be camouflaged as or tinted by hues of charitable relief. Any attempt by a perpetrating party to position itself as a benevolent relief giver is in defiance of the spirit to reach out for forgiveness from the victims.

Whereas, breaching of any of the above principles will not be able to reach a meaningful settlement nor to lay the foundation for reconciliation between the victims and the perpetrators.

Therefore, it is resolved that the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia supports settlements that satisfy the above four principles.

(Proposed by Thekla Lit; amended by Peter Li and Joseph Wong)

B. Whereas the Sara and Sam Shoffer Holocaust Resource Center Exedra Names Wall recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions not only to our intellectual life, but also to the advancement of human dignity and decency;

And whereas Iris Chang is also a recognized humanitarian who has made an enormous contribution to advancement of human dignity and decency through her work;

Therefore, it is resolved that the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia propose to the directors of the Holocaust Resource Center that the name of Iris Chang be added to the names on the Wall;

And it is further resolved that Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia will support reasonable costs to accomplish this resolution.

(Proposed by Thekla Lit)

C. Whereas Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Holocaust Resource Center has an excellent collection of Holocaust information.

Whereas Holocaust is one part of WW II history, and the Japanese Military Atrocities, 1931-1945, is another part of WW II history.

It is resolved that GA undertake an initiative to establish a section of Japanese Military Atrocities 1931-1945 at Richard Stockton College Library, adding to the College holdings on Genocide.

(Proposed by Victor Yung)

The Board conducted elections according to the bylaws of the organization. The outcome is this list of elected officers for the term 2011-2012:
President: Peter Stanek
Executive Vice President: Ignatius Ding
Treasurer: Charles Shao
Secretary: Allen Ho
Vice President and Spokesperson: Peter Li

4. Acknowledgment

Special thanks are due certain individuals, whose dedication, diligence, talent, thoughtfulness, and kindness were responsible for our success (alphabetically ordered):

Doug Cervi, Oakcrest High School
Prof. Maryann McLoughlin, Richard Stockton College
Don Tow, Ph.D., NJ-ALPHA
Paul Winkler, New Jersey Holocaust Education Commission
Rosa Yeh, NJ-ALPHA
Victor Yung, NJ-ALPHA

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010

Press Release 24 October 2010

19 October 2010. Governor Schwarzenegger has signed into law The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010, which seeks the elimination of slavery and trafficking from product supply chains. This legislation gives California consumers and businesses the opportunity to halt the import and purchase of goods tainted by slave labor. The bill demands that retailers and manufacturers implement policies to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from supply chains for products sold in California.

During WW II, Japanese corporations conspired with the Japanese Imperial government to kidnap 40,000 Chinese, other Asian, and Allied POWs as slave laborers for Japanese corporations. The time has long since passed for those guilty of such war crimes and atrocities to confess, and to make just and fair repayment to their victims and surviving families. This new legislation opens the door to meaningful albeit belated resolution, and can help bring closure to past war crimes of Japan.

The bill further recognizes the important educational role that businesses can play, as well as enabling consumers and investors to make informed purchasing and investment decisions. It becomes especially significant for Japanese manufacturers and suppliers to California markets. Japanese corporations that are free of a history of profiting from slave labor practices during WW II may now advertise that fact. Consumers and government agencies may then comfortably and in good conscience purchase goods and services from those same firms that choose to comply with this law.

The Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia now urges all Japanese companies to use the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 and make their histories known immediately in anticipation of the law’s effective date, 1 January 2012, and to take corrective action. If Japanese manufacturers and retailers wish to do business in California, including bidding for government contracts, they can now make full disclosure of and correction for slavery and human trafficking practices.

According to Governor Schwarzenegger, “…this bill requires businesses … to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery from their supply chain … This will increase transparency, allow consumers to get more information and make more choices and motivate businesses to ensure humane practices.”

The Global Alliance is a federally chartered 501c3 educational organization and a California corporation. We seek acknowledgment and remedy for war crimes and atrocities of the Japanese Imperial Army committed during WW II in mainland Asia and island nations of the Pacific. For more information, please contact gainfo@Global-Alliance.net.

When did World War II begin? The answer may surprise you

Shore News Today

When did World War II begin? The answer may surprise you
Written by CLAIRE LOWE
Friday, 15 October 2010 14:51

International conference at Oakcrest explores untold story of Asia-Pacific War

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Oakcrest High School welcomed the international community last weekend when it hosted the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia’s biennial education conference.

The conference included two days at Oakcrest, Oct. 8-9, and one at the Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township Oct. 10. Speakers ranged from professor Zhang Lian-Hong from Nanjing University to author James Bradley, and included many films, some of which were making their American premiere, as well as recollections from survivors and eyewitnesses,

Oakcrest history teacher Doug Cervi, who gave a presentation during the conference, said the idea of the conference is to spread knowledge about the events of World War II in Asia.

Cervi contends that American history books are very Euro-centric when discussing World War II, with portions pertaining to Asia limited to Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said most Americans believe that World War II started in 1939.

“The war actually begins in 1931,” Cervi said.

“In 1937, the Japanese attack mainland China,” he said. “In December, they go into the city of Nanking and murder about 300,000 people.”

The massacre in Nanking (now Nanjing), the former capital of China, inspired the book “The Rape of Nanking,” by Iris Chang, one of the focuses of the conference.

Iris Chang died in 2004 from an apparent suicide at the age of 36. Representing Iris Chang at the conference was her mother, Ying-Ying Chang. She and her husband participated in an informal discussion Friday regarding their daughter’s book and film.

“We know she had a lot of ideas and dreams to make this history and tour the world,” Chang said of her daughter in an interview Saturday.

She said the story depicted in the book is not a secret.

“This story was on the front headlines on the news at the time in 1937,” Chang said.

But, she said, due to the Cold War and the United States’ ties with Japan at the time, the story of Nanking Massacre rarely made it into history books.

Chang also claimed that because of the United States dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese are perceived as victims in the war.

“They are the victims, instead of perpetrators. It’s not fair,” she said.

According to Chang, whose parents were able to escape the massacre, Iris Chang’s interest in the subject was sparked by stories from her grandparents.

“She knows a lot because of her grandparents,” Chang said. “We told all the war stories to her.

“She is very curious and asks why we have to settle in the U.S.,” she said.

After the death of their daughter and upon their retirement, Chang, a biochemist at the University of Illinois, and her husband, Shau-Jin Chang, a physicist there, decided to actively participate in the effort of the Global Alliance.

“I just feel I have to continue her dream to get the message out,” Chang said.

Peter Stanek, president of the Global Alliance, said it wasn’t until reading Iris Chang’s book that he became personally involved with the Global Alliance.

Stanek said the Global Alliance has two principal objectives: an acknowledgement and apology from the government of Japan, and a program of repayment to the victims. In order to achieve these things, Stanek said, the Global Alliance hosts study tours to China for teachers where they visit historically significant places.

“It tends to be a life-changing experience,” Stanek said.

It was Cervi’s participation in one of these trips that led to his involvement with the Global Alliance. In the summer of 2006, Cervi was approached by Paul Winkler, executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, during the annual New Jersey Education Association Convention.

Winkler had recently returned from Beijing, China where he attended the Global Alliance’s sixth conference, and asked Cervi if he would be interested in a trip himself. Two years later, Cervi and Bob Holden, an adjunct professor of history at Atlantic Cape Community College, traveled across the world; and one year later, the two had written an entire curriculum focusing on Asia in World War II.

“They have been very, very supportive at Oakcrest about teaching this subject,” Winkler said.

Winkler, who gave Friday’s keynote address during the conference, said the process of getting the Global Alliance conference to Oakcrest High School was really eight years in the making. But it was two years ago that the Global Alliance decided to bring the conference to New Jersey.

Mary Emilie Steinacker, supervisor of social studies, performing arts and ELL at Oakcrest, said having the conference at the high school was an “incredible experience.”

“I think it opened the venue for the students and teachers in our district to share this curriculum,” she said.

Cervi has made his and Holden’s curriculum available to all the teachers in the district. Cervi himself said he was able to take a lot from the conference, including a video he plans on showing to his classes during World War II lessons.

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U.S. takes neutral stand toward sovereignty over Senkaku Islands


U.S. takes neutral stand toward sovereignty over Senkaku Islands

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated during recent Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial talks that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, which are disputed between Japan and China.

However, her statement is far from reassuring for Japan. Article 5 applies only to “the territories under the administration of Japan.” Clinton stopped short of saying the United States recognizes the Senkaku Islands as Japan’s territories. In other words, she only repeated the U.S. position on the issue.

Chinese fishing surveillance ships are now regularly confronting Japan Coast Guard (JCG) patrol boats of the islands. China is demonstrating to Japan that it is exercising its administrative rights over the islands by dispatching government boats to the area. If the situation continues, Senkaku will no longer be subject to Article 5 of the treaty. In fact, the treaty does not apply to the Northern Territories — four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido — and the Takeshima islets, which are virtually ruled by South Korea.

If an armed conflict were to occur between JCG patrol boats and Chinese surveillance vessels off Senkaku, would U.S. forces in Japan be dispatched to the area? It is highly unlikely.

In 2005, Japan and the U.S. agreed during bilateral security talks that Japan should respond to any attack on Japanese remote islands on its own, as Ukeru Magosaki, former director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Intelligence and Analysis Bureau pointed out in a TV program.

This is the reality of the Japan-U.S. alliance. It would be too risky if Japan excessively counts on the United States for support on the issue and simply take a firm stand against China over the matter. Rather, Japan should flexibly pursue a path of compromise.

The issue of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands emerged in 1971 when Tokyo and Washington signed an agreement on the reversion of Okinawa. Under the accord, the United States returned the administrative rights over the Ryukyu Islands — including the Senkaku Islands — and the Daito Islands in Okinawa to Japan.

The Republic of China, or Taiwan — which Japan then recognized as the legitimate Chinese administration — protested the move. “Diaoyutai lieyu” (the Taiwanese name for Senkaku) is not part of the Ryukyu Islands, but historically and geographically part of Taiwan,” it said.

The People’s Republic of China, with which Japan had no diplomatic relations at the time, also claimed that the Diaoyudao (the Chinese name for the islands) is part of its territory because it is part of Taiwan.

Japan countered by arguing that the Senkaku Islands are part of Japan’s territory because they are part of the Ryukyu Islands returned from the United States.

Washington remained neutral regarding the sovereign rights over the islands. The U.S. Department of State told Tokyo at the time that any territorial dispute over the islands should be addressed by the parties concerned, noting that administrative rights and sovereignty are separate, according to the book “Post-war Japan-Taiwan relations and international laws” by the late former Taiwanese diplomat Lin Jinjing (Yuhikaku Publishing Co.).

Around the same time, Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser to the U.S. president, was involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations with the People’s Republic of China to improve their relations.

In February 1972, President Richard Nixon paid a surprise visit to China. When the United States returned Okinawa to Japan in May of that year, it removed a nuclear missile targeting China from Okinawa to show consideration to China.

Washington is also showing its consideration to Beijing by taking a neutral position on the sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. It appears that the United States has a different face it shows only to China. (By Hidetoshi Kaneko, expert senior writer)

Amid Tension, Japan Is Releasing Chinese Captain

Asia Pacific September 24, 2010
url: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/world/asia/25chinajapan.html

Amid Tension, Japan Is Releasing Chinese Captain

TOKYO — Japanese authorities said on Friday that they will release the captain of a Chinese trawler whose arrest two weeks ago near islands claimed by China and Japan had caused growing tensions between the two Asian powers.
Japanese prosecutors said they decided not to press charges against the captain, identified as Zhan Qixiong, 41, who was detained on Sept. 8 after his boat collided with Japanese Coast Guard vessels that were pursuing him near the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The arrest had sent Japan’s ties with China to their lowest point in years. China reacted angrily to the arrest by cutting off ministerial-level talks, with Premier Wen Jiabao threatening further unspecified actions if he was not released.

While appealing for calm, Japanese leaders had initially stood firm in saying that their country’s laws applied to the captain, who was detained in waters administered by Japan but claimed by China and also Taiwan.

It was unclear if Tokyo had decided to give in to China’s demands, or even if central government officials had any hand in the captain’s release. However, prosecutors on Ishigaki island, where the captain was being held, did cite diplomatic considerations in their decision not to indict him on charges of obstructing officials on duty.

“Considering the effect on the people of our nation and on China-Japan relations, we decided that it was not appropriate to continue the investigation,” the prosecutors said in a statement.

Facing growing nationalist outrage at the arrest, authorities in Beijing had been raising the pressure on Tokyo for the captain’s unconditional release. Earlier this week, Chinese officials said Mr. Wen would probably not meet Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan, during a United Nations development conference in New York.

China has argued that the issue is one for diplomacy, not Japan’s legal system. Known as Senkaku in Japanese or Diaoyu in Chinese, the islands have been in dispute for decades, but until now Japan has usually turned back Chinese vessels that approached too closely.

Sentiment in Japan, however, has hardened against China in recent years, as Chinese warships have made more frequent forays into Japanese waters, including an incident in April when a Chinese helicopter buzzed a Japanese warship.

Chinese analysts said the move could help ease tension between the two economic partners. Wang Xiangsui, a foreign policy analyst at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said China especially objected to Japan using its domestic laws to deal with the captain. This implied that the territories were Japanese and not subject to negotiation.

“This was a move that Japan had to make or China would have taken further steps,” Mr. Wang said. “Now the two sides can discuss this more calmly.”

The most recent flare-up comes as China faces disputes with its neighbors to the south over control of islands in the South China Sea. It has also objected to American military exercises in waters near Korea.

The Japanese prosecutors’ decision followed news in Beijing on Thursday that four Japanese citizens had been arrested for videotaping military installations.

The report by the official Xinhua news agency said four Japanese citizens were detained at a military base near the city of Shijiazhuang, about 190 miles southwest of Beijing.

“Currently, the case is being investigated,” said a statement issued by authorities and carried on the Web site of China Daily, a government-controlled newspaper. Japan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that four of its citizens were being held.

The four being detained are employees of the Fujita construction firm, a spokesman for the company said.

It was unclear whether those arrests were linked to the detention of the captain.

The last communication Fujita had with the workers was a cell phone text message from one of them on Tuesday that read, “help,” said a company spokesman, Yoshiaki Onodera.

The employees and their interpreter, a Chinese national, were in Hebei to research possible sites to excavate for weapons left behind by the Japanese army during World War II, Mr. Onodera said. The Japanese government has been funding a program to remove such weapons in China and Fujita is one of the contractors.

Economic ties between the countries — the world’s second- and third-largest economies — appeared to be fraying over the matter. Some metals traders say China has halted sales of rare earth metals to Japan, although China denies this.

Martin Fackler reported from Tokyo, and Ian Johnson from Beijing. Hiroko Tabuchi contributed reporting from Tokyo.

© Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company