Japanese government must not evade responsibility for damage caused by poison gas weapons -- Akahata editorial, October 5

The Koizumi Cabinet appealed to a high court against the Tokyo District Court ruling regarding Chinese citizens victims of poison gas weapons left behind by the former Imperial Japanese Army.

Holding the Japanese government responsible for the failure to dispose of the abandoned poison gas weapons which were foreseen to seriously injure residents, the district court ordered it to compensate the victims.

Ignoring the fact that the brutalities of the Japanese war of aggression still continue to cause damages, the government has rejected the court ruling calling for relief to be provided in compensation to victims. This reveals the government's lack of remorse for Japan's war of aggression. The international community will not accept such irresponsibility.

Is this a sincere response?

China estimates that the former Imperial Japanese Army abandoned 2 million (700,000 according to Japan's estimate) poison gas shells in China at the end of WWII, adversely affecting many people at various locations.

The present lawsuit was filed by victims of accidents which took place involving poison gas weapons in the 1970s through early 1980s in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. Last August, a leakage of poisonous gas caused many casualties in Qiqihar City in this province.

Criticism of the Japanese government has increased, and over a million signatures demanding that the victims be compensated were submitted to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro, Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo, and the Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru have promised a "sincere response" to China's leadership.

Nevertheless, the government says it will appeal against the court decision ordering the government to accept responsibility. How can such a response be called "sincere"?

The chief cabinet secretary argued that the accidents took place after China abandoned its rights to wartime claims in 1972 when it normalized relations with Japan.

However, the problem is that poisonous gas leakage from the abandoned chemical weapons continue to cause death and damage.

In 1999, the Japanese government exchanged a memorandum with the Chinese government to begin to dispose of the abandoned poisonous gas weapons in compliance with a relevant international treaty. But new casualties have been reported even after that.

The Japanese government is responsible for having refused to recognize the Chinese government, and neglected to deal with the aftermath of Japan's war of aggression in China, including the issue of poison gas weapons abandoned there.

As a result, more people are falling victim to Japanese chemical weapons even 58 years after the war's end.

Fundamentally, Liberal Democratic Party-politics is to blame for this situation because it has neglected the fact that Japan is responsible for the war of aggression and atrocities it committed in violation of international law against the Chinese and other Asian peoples.

The Koizumi cabinet has rejected the district court ruling while uttering a word of reflection on the matter. It's double-talk.

In another case, the Japanese government rejected the call of former Japanese war orphans who had been left behind in Northeast China as victims of the war of aggression who eventually came back to Japan. The government even asserted that the "Manchurian state (Manzhou-guo)" had been an independent state.

Japan accepted the international postwar settlement under the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Being hostile to the Constitution, which is based on the reflection of the war of aggression, the Koizumi Cabinet went so far as to renege on this postwar settlement.

Toward diplomacy for peace and friendship

Nothing beneficial for friendly Japan-Asia and Japan-world relations can be expected from such a government.

The 21st century world expects Japan to fully implement the war-renouncing Constitution and devote itself to establishing peaceful and friendly relations throughout the world.

In this regard, the Japanese Communist Party seeks to build to make friendly relations in Asia based on reflection of Japan's war of aggression.

The need now is for Japan to put an end to LDP politics which makes little self-criticism of the war of aggression so that Japan can really embody a new diplomacy accepted by the whole world. (end)

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