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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 10 - 16  > 30K signatures submitted for use of Tokyo park for memorial service for Korean victims of 1923 massacre
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2020 June 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

30K signatures submitted for use of Tokyo park for memorial service for Korean victims of 1923 massacre

June 12, 2020

Demanding unconditional approval for the use of a metropolitan park for a memorial service for Korean victims of the massacre following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, more than 30,000 signatures collected online were submitted on June 11 to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The memorial service has taken place annually since 1973 in front of the monument located in a Tokyo government-owned park in Sumida Ward. Meanwhile, in 2017, a right-wing extremist group called “Soyokaze (breeze in English)” began holding a hate-speech rally in the same park at the same date and time as the memorial service.

The Tokyo government last year requested the organizing committee of the annual remembrance event to submit a written pledge as a condition for giving permission for the use of the park. The document states that the Tokyo government will revoke its permission if a breach of pledges, such as engaging in an act that may hinder a smooth usage of the park, occurs. Explaining the reason, the metropolitan government said that the submission of the pledge aims to avoid “any trouble” between the organizing committee and the racist group. This, however, means that the Tokyo government can use “any trouble” as a pretext to force both the annual memorial event and the hate-speech gathering to be cancelled.

The submitted petition signature pointed out that it is unacceptable for the administrative authority, which is expected to fulfill an anti-racism function, to provide an opportunity for hate-speech demonstrations. The petition urged the Tokyo government to withdraw its request for the submission of the pledge and instead allow the organizing committee to use the park without conditions.

On June 11, a group of 117 people, including writers, scholars, lawyers, and religious figures, also published a statement calling on the Tokyo government to take back the pledge request and approve the use of the park for the annual memorial ceremony. The statement criticized the imposition of common restrictions on the annual ceremony for the Koreans slaughtered in the aftermath of the 1923 earthquake as well as on the hate-speech rally. It stated that the Tokyo government should confront the anti-Korea hate-speech demonstrations in accordance with the spirit of a Tokyo ordinance to respect human rights.

Past related articles:
> Rally held to not forget lessons learned from 1923 massacre of Koreans in Tokyo [September 17, 2019]
> Tokyo Governor again refuses to send annual condolences to Korean victims of 1923 massacre [September 2, 2018]
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