WWII Stolen Treasuries

"It seems that political trends for nations in the next century will tend to go toward communism and socialism instead of capitalist democracies, which economies are in deep decline.

"The Nanking Massacre: Facts, Pictures, WW2, Documentary Photos, Book, Women (1997)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYBZhsNVLBQ

The Nanking Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against Nanking (current official spelling: Nanjing) during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. The massacre occurred during a six-week period starting December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanking, which was then the Chinese capital. (See Republic of China). During this period, hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. Widespread rape and looting also occurred. Historians and witnesses have estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed. Several of the key perpetrators of the atrocities, at the time labelled as war crimes, were later tried and found guilty at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, and were executed. Another key perpetrator, Prince Asaka, a member of the Imperial Family, escaped prosecution by having earlier been granted immunity by the Allies.

The event remains a contentious political issue, as various aspects of it have been disputed by some historical revisionists and Japanese nationalists, who have claimed that the massacre has been either exaggerated or wholly fabricated for propaganda purposes. As a result of the nationalist efforts to deny or rationalize the war crimes, the controversy surrounding the massacre remains a stumbling block in Sino-Japanese relations, as well as Japanese relations with other Asia-Pacific nations such as South Korea and the Philippines.

An accurate estimation of the death toll in the massacre has not been achieved because most of the Japanese military records on the killings were deliberately destroyed or kept secret shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945. The International Military Tribunal of the Far East estimates more than 200,000 casualties in the incident; China's official estimate is about 300,000 casualties, based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Estimates from Japanese historians vary widely, in the vicinity of 40,000--200,000. Some historical revisionists even deny that a widespread, systematic massacre occurred at all, claiming that any deaths were either justified militarily, accidental or isolated incidents of unauthorized atrocities. These revisionists claim that the characterization of the incident as a large-scale, systematic massacre was fabricated for the purpose of political propaganda.

Although the Japanese government has admitted to the acts of killing of a large number of non-combatants, looting, and other violence committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Nanking, a small but vocal minority within both the Japanese government and society have argued that the death toll was military in nature and that no such crimes ever occurred. Denial of the massacre (and a divergent array of revisionist accounts of the killings) has become a staple of Japanese nationalism. In Japan, public opinion of the massacres varies, and few deny the occurrence of the massacre outright. Nonetheless, recurring attempts by negationists to promote a revisionist history of the incident have created controversy that periodically reverberates in the international media, particularly in China, South Korea, and other East Asian nations.

During the 1970s, Katsuichi Honda wrote a series of articles for the Asahi Shimbun on war crimes committed by Japanese soldiers during World War II (such as the Nanking Massacre). The publication of these articles triggered a vehement response from Japanese right-wingers regarding the Japanese treatment of the war crimes. In response, Shichihei Yamamoto and Akira Suzuki wrote two controversial yet influential articles which sparked the negationist movement.

On August 15, 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the Surrender of Japan, the Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama gave the first clear and formal apology for Japanese actions during the war. He apologized for Japan's wrongful aggression and the great suffering that it inflicted in Asia. He offered his heartfelt apology to all survivors and to the relatives and friends of the victims. That day, the prime minister and the Japanese Emperor Akihito pronounced statements of mourning at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan. The emperor offered his condolences and expressed the hope that such atrocities would never be repeated. Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking, criticized Murayama for not providing the written apology that had been expected. She said that the people of China "don't believe that an... unequivocal and sincere apology has ever been made by Japan to China" and that a written apology from Japan would send a better message to the international community.


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