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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 August 27 - September 2  > War remains should be protected to hand down memory of war
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2014 August 27 - September 2 [PEACE]

War remains should be protected to hand down memory of war

August 27, 2014
As 69 years have passed since the end of WWII, those who witnessed the tragedy of the war are getting old. It is an urgent need to record the war experiences of these people.

War museums and war remains have an important role in showing the realities of the war. They need to be made use of and passed down to the next generations.

Japan has around 30,000 war remains, such as buildings used as military headquarters and munitions factories and ruins of buildings destroyed by air strikes during the period between the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War (1894) and the end of WWII (1945). The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima is one of these protected historical ruins.

However, only 200 are under the protection of the central or local governments. Many have been demolished due to redevelopment projects.

In addition, the historical facts and backgrounds of the remains should be also maintained. At the Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters in Nagano Prefecture, the operator erased the word “forced” from captions showing the fact that many Koreans were used as forced laborers to construct the facility.

Some municipally-run museums are trying to deny Japan’s war responsibility. The Peace Museum of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture, after renewal last year, deleted reference to “the Nanjing Massacre” and “comfort women” from a chronological table. Osaka Prefecture’s “Peace Osaka (Osaka International Peace Center)”, which will be under repair from September to next spring, is considering revising exhibitions pertaining to Japan’s wars of aggression in China and Korea and its colonial rule over them. This resulted in severe criticism expressed by local residents.

It is unacceptable to distort the fact that Japan invaded other Asian nations and inflicted tremendous damage, as it will amount to turning a blind eye on both the past and future of Japan. It will also constitute a barrier to building friendships between Japan and other Asian nations.

While the Abe government is rushing to create a war-fighting nation without reflecting on the aggressive war and past colonial rule, efforts to hand down the memory of the war to future generations are needed more than ever.
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