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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 29 - July 5  > Abe gov’t is trying to bury war remains report
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2016 June 29 - July 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Abe gov’t is trying to bury war remains report

June 29, 2016
An increasing number of people are criticizing the Agency for Cultural Affairs for not publishing a report on war remains which was compiled eight years ago. Behind this is the Abe government intent to distort the truth of Japan’s war of aggression.

After the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima was placed on the World Heritage List in 1996, the national government designated many war remains as cultural assets. Since 1998, with the help of historians, the Cultural Affairs Agency had surveyed more than 50 war remains across the country. They had planned to publish an investigation report in 2008.

In Okinawa, the only prefecture which experienced a ground battle in the last stage of World War II, the cultural authorities selected as the investigation target the remains such as a former military hospital in Haebaru Town and a mass suicide site in Tokashiki Village.

In 2008, when a civil network campaigning for the preservation of war remains asked the agency about the prospects of releasing the report, an official said, “We’ve compiled a 350-page report, but we have not obtained permission to release that.”

In response to a recent inquiry made by Akahata, an agency official in charge of historical sites and monuments said, “We cannot say when the report will be published because there are various views on the Battle of Okinawa.”

In the 2006 screening of Japanese history textbooks for high school students, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s first administration pressured textbook publishers to delete the descriptions of the Japanese Imperial military forcing Okinawans to commit mass suicides during the bloody battle. In 2012, Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu’s government, backed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, also removed the descriptions of “wartime comfort women” and “massacres of local residents” by the Imperial Army from the explanatory board at the site of the Command of the Japanese 32nd Army in the prefectural capital of Naha.

Yamanashi Gakuin University Visiting Professor Jubishi Shunbu, co-representative of the civic network, said, “It is outrageous for the Cultural Affairs Agency to shelve the report in accordance with the Abe government desire to do so. They should release it as soon as possible.”

Past related article:
> Accounts of ‘comfort women’ and ‘bloodshed’ erased from Okinawa Battle monument [February 25, 2012]
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