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Japan's attempt to beautify wartime history through UNESCO doomed to fail

Japan's tactic to seek UNESCO recognition of its collection of documents related to the notorious kamikaze who launched suicide attacks on U.S. vessels in World War II is another attempt to gloss over Japan's war crimes, which is doomed to fail.

Kampei Shimoide, mayor of the southern Japanese city of Minamikyushu, Wednesday announced a plan to register the document collection as a UNESCO "Memory of the World," which, he claimed, "will convey the horrors and suffering of the war to future generations."

However, it is known to all that the latest attempt, along with Japan's earlier proposal of listing its industrial sites, some of which were used as forced labor camps during WWII, in UNESCO World Heritage, is part of the country's tricks to glorify its wartime past that caused grave casualties and property losses in many Asian countries.

The kamikaze were mainly suicide pilots recruited by militaristic Japan to directly hit U.S. naval vessels with their planes during the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of WWII. Their attacks were designed to sink warships more effectively than conventional bombings.

The Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe applied the same project last year and failed, which has already demonstrated that such application is completely against the mission of the UNESCO to maintain world peace and therefore will be firmly opposed by the international community.

The Abe administration has never faced history squarely, but challenged the international order with the UN as the core and repeatedly hurt its Asian neighbors' feelings by rubbing salt into their wounds.

South Korea, once under Japan's colonial rule between 1910 and 1945, condemned Japan's move as "historic distortion," saying it attempted to gloss over the crimes it committed during the brutal colonial and wartime past.

According to South Korea's foreign ministry, seven of the 23 sites were run as forced labor camps, using some 57,900 Koreans during Japan's colonization of Korea, and 94 workers died there.

Japan's arbitrary moves under historical revisionism will inevitably fuel diplomatic tensions with its Asian neighbors.

It is wise for Japan, especially at a time when the world is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the anti-fascist victory of WWII, to fully recognize its role in the war like what Germany did, apologize heartfully to the victims, so as to win respect and trust from its neighbors and the whole world.

Any machination to beautify its war crimes will attract condemnation and be doomed to fail.

[Source: By Xinhua writer Zhu Junqing, Xinhua, Beijing, 14May15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 18May15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.