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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 August 23 - 29  > Tokyo Governor decides not to send annual condolences to Korean victims of 1923 quake
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2017 August 23 - 29 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyo Governor decides not to send annual condolences to Korean victims of 1923 quake

August 25, 2017
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko will refrain from sending a message of condolence to the annual memorial service held in September in Tokyo for the Korean victims of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, Akahata learned on August 24.

Successive Tokyo governors have sent the ceremony a memorial message. Governor Koike last year followed the precedent.

However, the Liberal Democratic Party has raised questions about this practice. In a March plenary session of the metropolitan assembly, an LDP assemblyman attacked an inscription on the monument located in a park where the service takes place, which reads, “Wrongful actions and groundless rumors deprived more than 6,000 Koreans of their precious lives.” The LDP representative demanded that the cenotaph be dismantled and that the sending of the message be stopped.

Concerned about the possibility that the governor’s decision of not sending the message may lead to the denial of the fact of the 1923 massacre, the Japan-Korea association Niccho Kyokai told Akahata that many Koreans living in Tokyo hope that Governor Koike will send a memorial letter as she did last year.

In the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, the military, the police, and neighborhood watch groups murdered thousands of innocent Koreans and Chinese people after hearing false rumors such as that Koreans poured poison into wells. Some socialists were also killed.

* * *

On August 22, a ceremony for the Korean victims of WWII took place in Tokyo’s Yuten-ji Temple. JCP member of the House of Councilors Kurabayashi Akiko offered a condolence message.

At the memorial, the head of the Niccho Kyokai Tokyo branch reported to those present about the LDP in the Tokyo assembly insisting that the 1923 massacre is not based on facts. When the head reported on Governor Koike’s decision not to send her message to this year’s memorial service for the Korean victims of the massacre, groans of anger came from the attendees.

Yuten-ji Temple enshrines the remains of about 3,700 Korean laborers and their family members who were on board the Ukishima Maru which sank after a U.S. torpedo strike in the sea off Kyoto on August 24, 1945.

* * *

The Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) Central Headquarters on August 25 sent Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko a letter urging her to send a condolence message to the memorial ceremony for the 1923 massacre victims as has been conventionally done by previous governors.

The letter refers to the fact that an LDP member of the Tokyo assembly disputes the number of massacre victims. The letter points out that regardless of whether the figure is correct or not, what is important is to pay tribute to the victims and express determination to prevent a recurrence. It goes on to state, “It is expected that the governor will stick resolutely to a stance to oppose any attempt to cover up the fact that many innocent Koreans were slaughtered in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake.”

Past related articles:
> Antiracists pay tribute to Korean victims of 1923 massacre in Tokyo [September 2, 2016]
> Memorial ceremony held for foreign victims of massacre that occurred 92 years ago [September 2, 2015]
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