NGO Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Submitted by Japan NGO Coalition against Racial Discrimination Series No.7 The Case against Japan : Casualties of Japan’s Foreign Policy Disaster
6. The Case against Japan : Casualties of Japan’s Foreign Policy Disaster
(1) Relevant Articles of ICERD
- Article 6 of ICERD
(2) Main Points
As members of Japanese-Canadian community we urge the Committee to address
(a) The Government of Japan has been negligent in providing the necessary
information as protection to the children and their families of Japanese
nationals and residents in Canada as well as those of Japanese ancestry who
are the targets of vicious propaganda campaign, specifically the disinformation
campaign called “Nanjing Massacre” in Canada.
(b) The Government of Japan has consistently refused to recognize the fact that the
propaganda campaign is political by definition. Rather than responding
politically, they have deferred the matter to historians whose task is primarily
academic – to research, study, analyze and publish their findings -not
disseminate them to the general public or communicate with foreign agencies.
(c) The Government of Japan has been complicit in the disinformation campaign
against Japan and its people by withholding the facts about the battle of
Nanjing that took place in December of 1937, by their refusal to officially
recognize the results of the internal investigation undertaken by volunteer Diet
members, published in 2008 in a book titled The Truth of Nanjing”.(*1) The
investigation which focused on primary sources concluded that “the Nanjing
campaign was “neither above nor below the level of an ordinary war theatre”
(*2) and the battle did not involve civilians majority of whom had already
evacuated the city prior to the battle and the remaining population numbering
approximately 200,000 had taken refuge in the international safety zone. The
investigation also uncovered the process of how the event was distorted into
propaganda which came to dominate the mainstream narrative over the years.
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(d) The Government of Japan has consistently failed in its duty to protect its own
nationals living in Canada exposed to vicious and relentless false history
campaign while the disinformation deeply penetrated every level of Canadian
society -its government institutions, media and schools and so on.
(e) The Government of Japan has aided and abetted the disinformation campaign
by repeatedly and carelessly issuing false apologies to temporarily satisfy the
extortionists’ demands. Their refusal to deal with the facts of the matter has not
only put Japanese living in Canada at social disadvantage and public shame
but also caused Japanese Canadians to dissociate themselves further from their
ancestors and their ancestral homeland.
Sadako in the following description is a fictional composite character whose narrative
collectively embodies the plight of Japanese living abroad as well Japanese-Canadians.
Actual individuals by name and events are also included:
Several years ago an essay by the 7th grader Sadako Nishimura was published in a
Japanese Saturday school (*3) newspaper in Toronto, Ontario. Her essay dealt with her
first encounter with the “Nanjing Massacre”. The topic had been brought up by a student
attending the same local day school. The composition was a thoughtful albeit painful
reflection in which a young writer grappled with a serious moral question about her
Sadako graduated into high school. In Grade 10 History class the same topic came up
in a chapter on the World War 2(WW2). Her history teacher took a special interest in
the subject as she had previously gone on a group study tour to China and visited the
WW 2 memorial museum there. Armed with a supplementary study guide provided free
of charge by a local activist group, the teacher got her students to work on a special
project titled “Forgotten Asian Holocaust.” The supplementary documents included the
survivors’ testimonies, video taped confessions of old Japanese soldiers, online video clips
about the Unit 731 medical experiments described to be just as cruel and barbaric as the
ones conducted by Nazi scientists (*4) on Jewish children.
Shocked that they had all heard about the Holocaust by the Nazis, yet knew nothing
about the similar atrocity that took placed in Asia, the students wondered that
considering a large number of Chinese Canadians in their country, this event may be
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just as important to remember as the Jewish Holocaust. The teacher then mentioned the
private members Bill 79 named “Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act”(*5) that
was before the Ontario Legislature.
The teacher hastens to remind her class that Asian Holocaust commemoration is not
meant to blame the Japanese people. Japanese Canadians were also victims as they were
forcibly removed from their homes and put into camps during the WW2 because of
Japan’s aggression. In 1988 Canadian government issued a formal apology and paid
compensations to the surviving family members. Even people in Japan can be considered
victims -the teacher mused- as Japan was under the military dictatorship then and had
its people brainwashed with fanatical Emperor worship that drove them to fight to the
last man, woman and child. They refused to surrender until atomic bombs were dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki finally ending the war that started with Japan’s invasion of
China and the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The students still remembered the story about a young girl with the same name as
their Japanese classmate: “Sadako and one thousand paper cranes” in Grade 5 English
class. Sadako in the story is a young aspiring athlete growing up in Hiroshima. Her life
was tragically cut short due to the radiation illness that suddenly ravaged her body.
The teacher recommended “The Rape of Nanking”(*6), a book by Iris Chan for further
In the meantime at home, Sadako’s parents were involved in signature collection
campaign against the proposed “Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act”. Her
parents are afraid of the embarrassment that they might face at work and do not want
to be reminded of the humiliation their parents-Sadako’s grandparents – suffered during
Sadako felt that her parents were being paranoid about racial discrimination. Canada
is so ethnically and racially diverse that it is highly unlikely that old racist policy will
ever come back. Every country has a stain in its history. Even Canada had to undertake
“Truth and Reconciliation” Commission (*7) to investigate the abuse that took place in
the residential schools for Canada’s First Nations children.
Sadako also heard her parents talking about a few apparently right wing Japanese
nationalists who went around the Japanese Canadian Culture Centre (JCCC) (*8)
claiming that “Nanjing Massacre” never happened. They were spreading their revisionist
views with their DVD’s and pamphlets. Complaints were made to the JCCC office and
the materials were confiscated and returned to the lady in charge of the community room.
Her parents bemoaned that this type of behaviour brought unwanted attention. They
would rather have the matter go away quietly without provoking a backlash.
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In the next class Sadako’s classmates shared an article in Toronto Star(*9) by a
Japanese Canadian author Joy Kogawa in support of the Nanjing Massacre
Commemorative Day Act. The author urged Canadians-particularly in her community
to remember their own struggle to obtain redress for Japanese Canadians. She seemed
to be saying now it’s our turn to stand in solidarity with the Chinese Canadians. All the
reasons the author cited seemed reasonable and fair.
Sadako decided to meet Joy Kogawa to be part of the support group. Her history
teacher was encouraging and soon a group formed in her class and the group attended
the Ontario Legislature when the Bill was presented, to show their support for the Bill.
Among a multitude of problems and historical distortions in the above description, the
most egregious perhaps is that the young people, regardless of their nationalities, are
used as tools to advance a foreign propaganda. This should alarm any responsible
The Government of Japan has seriously harmed the quality of lives of Japanese
nationals living abroad as well as Japanese Canadians by their silence and inaction in
the face of vicious disinformation campaign aimed at damaging Japan’s reputation
The Government of Japan has failed in its responsibility specifically of protecting the
school children by withholding the knowledge and information that they need in their
school curriculum taught in Japanese schools operating in Canada.
The Government of Japan has been derelict in its duty to communicate with the
Canadian government whenever Nanjing or other propaganda is pushed for debate in
the federal or provincial parliament or the city councils. Their silence has allowed the
Canadian officials at all levels to operate in ignorance when debating the subject.
The neglect by the Government of Japan over the years can result in tangible loss of
opportunities in professional and social life while emotional and psychological harm done
to all concerned parties is incalculable.
We request the Committee to make the following recommendations:
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The Japanese government must recognize that the truth is not self evident. Thus efforts
must be made and proactive measures must be taken to inform, educate and
communicate. A task force should be set up to undertake the following:
(a) Resurrect and revise the 2008 report “The Truth of Nanjing” with additional
information found since 2008. An abridged, reader-friendly version with references
to all of the authentic primary source materials for further inquiry, should be
printed for mass distribution.
(b) Distribute the above publication to all foreign diplomatic offices as well as
organizations and institutions that offer programmes and courses in history, or any
programmes sponsored in part or whole by Japan. Oversea Japanese schools
including elementary and high school should receive special care and attention.
(c) Make official and public response in the local media, schools, academic circles, city
halls, parliament, etc., whenever the subject is raised.
(d) Expand “Kakehashi” or outreach projects for the purpose of bridging the
information gap, language gap, and multi-generational experience gap while
curtailing funding of the hostile forces.
Friendship diplomacy has its limits and is ineffective in the time of war as amply
illustrated in the real story of Sakura trees in Victoria, British Columbia, where the first
Japanese Canadian community was settled. (*10) It should be remembered that it took
a direct intervention by Tojo Hideki to protect the lives of forty Japanese Canadians who
were arrested on the night of December 7, 1941. (*11)
Reported by “Toronto Seiron”
(*1) “The Truth of Nanjing”: Compiled under the supervision of the Diet Members Group
for Japan’s Future and History Education. In English and Japanese 2008 Nisshin Hodo
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(*2) Ibid. page 21
(*3) Japanese Saturday schools or Hoshu Jugyo-ko are supplementary Japanese schools
operating in foreign countries. They operate on weekends, after school, and other times
outside the operating hours of the regular day schools. Hoshu Jugyo-ko normally take
children of Japanese nationals stationed abroad typically diplomats and business men
as they follow the core curriculum of the Japanese ministry of education. In recent years,
they are open to also accepting local children with the Japanese language proficiency.
(*4) Nazi scientists conducted many medical experiments in pursuit of racial theory
known as Eugenics. After the World War 2 thousands of them escaped to South America,
Middle East, Australia, US, and the Soviet union and other host countries. Many of them
were recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for their “Project Paperclip” and
other covert operations.
(*5) Private Members Bill 79 “Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act”. The Bill
proclaims December 13 in each year as the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.
(*6) “The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II” by Iris Chang
(1997) Basic Books
(*7) Truth and Reconciliation Commission Canada (TRC): A multi-year study by the
Canadian government (2009-2015) to come to terms with its residential schools for the
native children that operated for over 150 years in Canada as part of Canada’s aggressive
assimilation policy. http://www.trc.ca/ The critics charge that the Commission is just a
whitewash of the true face of Canada’s policy which they claim was genocidal in both
theory and practice. https://youtu.be/0brD50DIv5Q
(*8) Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre: http://www.jccc.on.ca/en/
(*9) Toronto Star Sept. 15, 2017: Why I Support the Nanjing Massacre
Commemorative Day Act: Joy Kogawa
(*10) Gateway to Promise: Canada’s First Japanese Community by Ann-Lee and Gordon
Switzer TI-Jean Press (2017) Chapter 14 Sakura of Victoria
(*11) “Ishi-wo mote owaruru-gotoku” by Mitsuru Shinpo Continental Times (1976) pg