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Japan apologizes to former Canadian prisoners of war.

Sythen

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http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20111208/japan-apologizes-canadian-prisoners-second-world-war-111208/

OTTAWA — The government of Japan has issued a "heartfelt apology" to former Canadian prisoners for their suffering during the Second World War.

The apology was delivered today in Tokyo by Toshiyuki Kato, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs.

On Christmas Day 1941, the Allies surrendered in Hong Kong after almost 18 days of fighting in which 290 Canadians were killed and 493 wounded.

Those who survived were held prisoner in Hong Kong and Japan until Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, 1945.

Another 267 men died in the camps, where they were subjected to backbreaking labour and were frequently beaten and starved.

Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney led a delegation of Canadian veterans to Japan for the apology and a commemorative ceremony.

"This important gesture is a crucial step in ongoing reconciliation and a significant milestone in the lives of all prisoners of war," said Blaney in a statement."

"It acknowledges their suffering while honouring their sacrifices and courage."



Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20111208/japan-apologizes-canadian-prisoners-second-world-war-111208/#ixzz1fwcUpSd4
 

The Bread Guy

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The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today recognized the heartfelt apology from the Government of Japan to former Canadian prisoners of war (POWs) for their suffering during the Second World War. The apology was delivered earlier today in Tokyo by Mr. Toshiyuki KATO, Japan's Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"It is my honour to join Canadian prisoners of war in acknowledging the apology by the Japanese Government for the treatment and suffering of prisoners of war under Japanese control during the Second World War," said Minister Blaney. "This important gesture is a crucial step in ongoing reconciliation and a significant milestone in the lives of all prisoners of war. It acknowledges their suffering while honouring their sacrifices and courage."

"The terrible pain and heavy burden of the Second World War have given way to a mutually beneficial, respectful relationship between Canada and Japan as mature democracies-a legacy of all who served in the Pacific campaigns," said Minister Baird. "Today's apology will help in healing as our two great countries move forward."

On Christmas Day 1941, unable to fight any longer, the Allies had no choice but to surrender. During 17 and a half days of fighting, 290 Canadians were killed and 493 were wounded while trying to defend Hong Kong.

Those who survived the heavy fighting were imprisoned in prisoner of war camps in Hong Kong and Japan until Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945. For nearly four years, the Canadians were subjected to deliberate and systematic mistreatment at the hands of their captors.

The prisoners of war were forced into backbreaking labour in construction sites, mines, shipyards and foundries, and were frequently beaten and starved. Another 267 men died in the camps before the survivors were liberated. Many of those who returned to Canada suffered serious disabilities as a result of their experiences in Hong Kong, and many died prematurely ....
Gov't of Canada Info-Machine, 8 Dec 11

Earlier this week, the Japanese government honoured Brian Mulroney for apologizing for and compensating Japanese families interred in Canada during WW2.
 

chapter11lawyer

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This was as good a thread as any to post m views on the war with Japan, since I didn't want to start a new thread.

While December 7, has drawn to a close, I wanted to post my thoughts on this 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

On this day in 1941, my stepfather, already in the military, was ending a leave that day. He was having lunch at Lindy's, a New York restaurant, with his family and was scheduled to return to service that night. While eating, an announcement came over the loudspeakers that war had just been involved the U.S. and that all soldiers must report to their base. He immediately walked to Grand Central Terminal to take the train down to either North Carolina or Virginia.

Elsewhere, days later, my natural father, now long deceased, enlisted in the Navy.

The United States Congress, at the request of President Franklin Roosvelt, declared war the next day. We fought to win, as did Canada.

Imagine the same situation these days. There was probably be an agonizing debate about even seeking a U.N. resolution condemning the attack. There would be discussions about whether going to war would interfere with the "national aspirations of the Hawaiians", who are after all Oriental. There would be a debate about whether Pearl Harbor was "blowback" for English occupation of Australia and the suffering of the aboriginals. Or for the occupation by Portugal of Macao or Britain of Hong Kong. Or the activities of white traders trying to do business in Japan. There was be discussion of a "negotiated" solution.

In short there would be self-flaggelation rather than defense of national interests.

If we went to war and some Japanese prisoner somewhere was humiliated, there would be cries of anguish in the New York Times. The shocking brutality of Japanese torture techniques would have gone undocumented, or buried in back pages. There would be discussions about hiving off a chunk of Australia for the Japanese (oops, maybe not, it's not a Jewish state).

The policies that were pursued would never be done now, for fear of "angering" the Japanese. Well apparently the atom-bombing and total defeat didn't anger them too much; they are intensely allied with the West now. Their businessmen live on guest visas for years. Their children attend our schools and are accepted. Well, maybe we should "anger" our enemies a bit more that way.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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...and the above poster is full of shyte.
he has already been banned under the name JBG
 

M Feetham

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I think this is huge. When i was a kid one of our neighbors had been a POW. He had lost an eye while there and i remember that every remembrance day he was at the parade. He lived next to our family for close to 10 years when he died. He would never talk about it to us kids but i remember my dad telling me about it after he died. I think at the time i was whining about how unfair life was  at 16. After that i shut up. Yes this is definitly huge.

Marc
 
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jollyjacktar

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They had an interview with a Hong Kong veteran locally on CBC radio today.  For him, he does not accept the apology from the Japanese Gov't.  He reasoning was that the present people have no connection with what was done to him, he wanted an apology from those who were his captors those 3 1/2 years.  I can understand his feelings.  That being said, I never thought the day would come that Japan would at least say sorry.
 

VIChris

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Well said. I have a co-worker who's grandfather was a POW there, and who is there now for this event. I asked my pal what h thought of it all, and it was the same response. A nice gesture, but too late to have real meaning. Still a very honorable move, and I guess being removed from the situation, I take a lighter view of it all.
 

daftandbarmy

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Excellent. Now we can hound the curs to pay millions in compensation to the helpless Canadians that they tortured and murdered in flagrant definace of long standing international law, or their heirs and successors.

Looking forward to the trial of the Emperor at The Hague as well.

In your own time, carry on! :salute:
 
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daftandbarmy said:
Excellent. Now we can hound the curs to pay millions in compensation to the helpless Canadians that they tortured and murdered in flagrant definace of long standing international law, or their heirs and successors.

Looking forward to the trial of the Emperor at The Hague as well.

In your own time, carry on! :salute:
With all due respect, such would be impossible, as Japan never signed the pivotal 1929 Convention. Not to mention the two previous conventions which were solely such in the loosest possible definition of a term far removed from "long standing international law".
MacArthur pretty much used the Emperor to mold the post WW2 Japanese environment, leaving many a loose thread.

Long standing international law at best dates from 1949.

Though if one might venture a starting point:
While not insignificant, the  number of Canadian POWS, pales in comparison to that of the Chinese.
Another sticking point in South East Asia remains: the comfort women from Korea, China, and Formosa.
To say nothing of the male draftees,  sent in as cannon fodder or mine-clearers.
 

tomahawk6

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Japan in 1942 did agree to abide by the terms. As an interesting aside the US didnt sign the 1954 accords.
 

Maxadia

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Ignatius J. Reilly said:
Though if one might venture a starting point:
While not insignificant, the  number of Canadian POWS, pales in comparison to that of the Chinese.
Another sticking point in South East Asia remains: the comfort women from Korea, China, and Formosa.
To say nothing of the male draftees,  sent in as cannon fodder or mine-clearers.

Google "Unit 731" for those who do not know about it.  Scary stuff.
 

muskrat89

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Google "Unit 731" for those who do not know about it.

I hadn't heard about it specifically. Googled it.

Wow - when you think you have seen and understood the depths of human depravity.
 

mariomike

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muskrat89 said:
Wow - when you think you have seen and understood the depths of human depravity.

"The Last Raid" by Dan Ford describes what happened to captured American B-29 aircrews in the raids over Japan. It's too sickening to quote.
 

Edward Campbell

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Two years ago I delved into the Rape of Nanking for a bit. Perhaps the most shocking thing was the end of a visit to the Chinese memorial/museum: there is a simple archive - just names and addresses, mostly, of the 250,000 to 300,000 who were killed - murdered is a better word - in just a few months. There are rows and rows of shelves, floor to ceiling, covering two large walls, filled with binders, each containing page after page of names - sometimes a picture, sometimes some few, pathetic notes about them. It is shocking in its simplicity and moving, too - the black binders are like sentinels, guarding the dead.

It shocks the heart and conscience.

One wonders how people as civilized and cultured as the Germans and Japanese could stoop so low, so quickly and, in the case of the Japanese, deny their barbarism for so long.
 

muskrat89

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One wonders how people as civilized and cultured as the Germans and Japanese could stoop so low, so quickly and, in the case of the Japanese, deny their barbarism for so long

It's always been wonderous to me not that you can find individuals willing to commit such acts but creating whole organizations full of people who can summon the wherewithal to do things to humans that most of us couldn't do to animals.
 

Edward Campbell

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muskrat89 said:
It's always been wonderous to me not that you can find individuals willing to commit such acts but creating whole organizations full of people who can summon the wherewithal to do things to humans that most of us couldn't do to animals.


I suspect that people in tight, cohesive groups - like a platoon or troop or sports team - can be persuaded to do difficult, dangerous and, sometimes, even barbarous things, as members of the "team," that they would not do on their own.
 

tomahawk6

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The Japanese felt that surrendering was dishonerable and that the Chinese were subhuman.Same with the Nazi's with regard to the eastern europeans.The evil that the nazi's and imperial japan perpetrated on its enemies is still alive today in many parts of the world.
 

Edward Campbell

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tomahawk6 said:
The Japanese felt that surrendering was dishonerable and that the Chinese were subhuman.Same with the Nazi's with regard to the eastern europeans.The evil that the nazi's and imperial japan perpetrated on its enemies is still alive today in many parts of the world.

True.                                                                                                                                True, again.                                                              And, sadly, very true.
 

eurowing

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http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Hell-Earth-Aging-Faster-Dying-David-McIntosh/9780075528210-AllReviews.html

This book is gripping and emotional. Air Commodore Birchall's diaries were a mainstay for the author.  If you don't know who Air Commodore Birchall was, please, please, google Savior of Ceylon.  Yes, I am imploring you to read it.  I couldn't eat barley soup for months after I read this book.
 
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