Chinese, Koreans seek Japan apology

Updated: 2015-04-27 11:21

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Chinese-American and Korean-American activists in the San Francisco Bay Area are demanding a formal apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his country's actions during the World War II era. Abe is scheduled to visit the United States next week.

Around 20 leaders of the Korean community jointed their Chinese counterparts at a press conference co-sponsored by the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (GA), and the Chinese American Association of Commerce, on April 25 in San Francisco. They were protesting what they called the Abe government's revival of militarism.

China and South Korea suffered immensely from Japan's invasion in the 1930s and 1940s, Allen Ho, president of GA, said at the press conference, where signs with slogans such as "No Apology, No Peace" and "Distort History, Shame" were placed around the room.

"We should work together to demand the Japanese government face the history squarely and apologize to the Chinese people and other Asian people through legislation," he said.

"Justice is justice," Seng K. Kang, district president of the Korean-American Chamber of Commerce in the US, told China Daily. "We have similar history. We were both victims of the Japanese Army's atrocity, like 'comfort women'," he said.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and both China and South Korea have been watching what Abe is going to put in his statement. His predecessors, Tomiichi Murayama and Junichiro Koizumi, both expressed "heartfelt apology to the people of Asian nations affected by Japan's colonial rule and aggression" in their 50th and 60th anniversary statements, respectively.

However, Abe expressed only "deep remorse" while addressing the Bandung Conference on April 22. He also ssuggested in an interview on a TV news program on April 20 that as long as he said he agreed with what was written in the previous statements, "I don't think I need to write it again," according to an AFP report.

"We see no sincerity in his remarks," Ho told China Daily. "That's why we demand the Japanese government apologize and compensate for the victims through legislation, so that revisionist actions would be illegal no matter who assumes the office of prime minister."

Ho reached out to the South Korean Consulate General for support. The Korean community in the Bay Area has about 7,600 members actively engaged in efforts to demand an apology and compensation from the Japanese government, Ho said.

He said about 50 to 100 people are expected to participate in the Chinese community's protest at the Japanese Consulate General in San Francisco on Wednesday. Abe is scheduled to address a joint meeting of the US Senate and House of Representatives in Washington that day, during his visit from April 26 to May 3.

More than 500 people overall are expected to appear at the San Francisco protest, said Betty Yuan, GA board member.