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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 29 - September 4  > Tokyo Governor again refuses to send annual condolences to Korean victims of 1923 massacre
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2018 August 29 - September 4 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyo Governor again refuses to send annual condolences to Korean victims of 1923 massacre

September 2, 2018

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko again refrained from sending a message of condolences to a memorial ceremony which annually takes place on September 1 to pay tribute to Korean victims slaughtered amid the chaos following the 1923 Grate Kanto Earthquake. The governor last year decided not to follow the practice of sending a condolence message to the annual ceremony.

At this year’s ceremony on September 1, Miyakawa Yasuhiko, who heads the Japan-Korea association Niccho Kyokai Tokyo branch, in his speech criticized Governor Koike Yuriko for not sending a condolence, saying that her predecessors had done that. Noting that the mass killing of Koreans had its root in racial discrimination, he stressed that the tragedy must not be forgotten and that Governor Koike needs to take a fresh look at the meaning of this ceremony.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Harada Akira also gave a speech. He refuted Governor Koike’s claim that she decided not to send a eulogy to this ceremony because she expresses her sorrow over the victims of the massive earthquake as a whole on other occasions. Harada stated that the deaths from natural disaster and the deaths from mass killings are of a completely different nature. In addition, he said that he will keep working to strengthen the resolve for peace in Northeast Asia which is gaining momentum after the U.S.-North Korea summit.

JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira sent a message to the ceremony. The message said that as a result of xenophobic rumors amid the chaos of the 1923 earthquake, a large number of people were murdered, adding that it is unacceptable to cover up this historical fact.

A third-generation Korean resident in Japan, who participated in the ceremony, said that political leaders’ historical recognition of tragic events and the war of aggression have influence over peace-building efforts in East Asia. He said that Governor Koike’s stance is regrettable.

On September 1, 1923, a powerful earthquake hit Tokyo and neighboring prefectures. About 100,000 people were crushed to death or killed in fires that broke out after the quake. In the wake of the disaster, a groundless rumor spread that Korean residents were staging a riot and as a result, the military, police, and vigilantes killed a large number of innocent Koreans. It is said that thousands were slaughtered.

Past related articles:
> 1923 massacre of Koreans was due to groundless rumors spread by gov’t [September 2, 2017]
> JCP urges Tokyo governor to send eulogy to memorial for Koreans massacred in 1923 earthquake [August 30, 2017]
> Tokyo Governor decides not to send annual condolences to Korean victims of 1923 quake [August 25, 2017]
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