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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 4 - 10  > Gov’t should create system to provide redress to air raid victims in Asia Pacific War
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2020 March 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t should create system to provide redress to air raid victims in Asia Pacific War

March 9, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the Great Tokyo Air Raid which claimed the lives of 100,000 people in a single night. Before dawn on March 10, 1945, in the final stages of the Asia Pacific War, about 300 U.S. B-29 bombers rained incendiary bombs on eastern Tokyo where many people lived in dense conditions. After that, the U.S. military conducted indiscriminate bombing strikes on the cities of Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe, burning all the target areas. The U.S. airstrikes killed and injured a large number of citizens. The Japanese government’s decision to launch the war resulted in enormous sacrifices. However, the government has yet to apologize or compensate victims for damages. The victims are now in their old age and there is no time to waste. The government should immediately take measures to restore air raid victims’ human rights.

During the wartime, the government had anti-air raid legislation which prohibited the general public from fleeing from air raids and obliged them to fight the fires instead. As part of efforts to promote the war, the government attempted to control the general public by giving false information that they do not need to worry about and run away from air strikes. In a lawsuit in which air raid victims in Osaka sought state compensation and apology, the Osaka District and Osaka High courts acknowledged that policies of the wartime government, namely the air raid legislation and the use of control on information, endangered the people’s lives. The two courts dismissed the plaintiffs’ demands. However, the government should take seriously the fact that the courts ruled that the anti-air raid policy was a mistake.

In contrast, Germany compensated both military personnel and civilians for war damages.

Opposition parties have submitted to the Diet a bill to create a system to provide support to air raid victims 14 times and every time the bill was rejected. A nationwide network of air-raid victims urges the government and the Diet to establish a relief law. The network demands that the government take measures to provide redress to civilians killed or injured in air raids and ground battles as well as war orphans; investigate the extent of war damages; and set up a memorial facility for air raid victims.

The government should hasten to provide solutions that can benefit all air raid victims without delay.

Past related article:
> Government should end its disregard of civilian victims of air raids during war [March 10, 2019]
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