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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 24 - 30  > Gov. Koike's stance on Japan's past colonial rule and racism draws criticism
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2020 June 24 - 30 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov. Koike's stance on Japan's past colonial rule and racism draws criticism

June 30, 2020

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko's remarks in regard to Japan's past colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula and racism against the Koreans have drawn public criticism.

The remarks in question were made during an online debate held on June 27 in the form of responding to questions from the host of the debate.

The host asked Governor Koike why she in 2017 stopped sending an eulogy which she sent in previous years to an annual ceremony commemorating the Korean victims who were slaughtered in the wake of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Koike in response said, "I've been offering my condolences for all the victims of both the earthquake and the war in 'special memorial services'." The emcee again asked, "Do you mean that you lump the massacre victims together with the natural disaster victims?" Koike answered that there is nothing wrong with that way of thinking.

Her remarks reveal that she wants to obscure the fact of the massacre and is not willing to face up to historical facts.

Following the 1923 great quake, false rumors such as "Koreans poured poison into wells" were circulated, and many Koreans were slaughtered by the former Japanese Imperial Army, police, and vigilantes. After the war, bipartisan legislators worked together to erect a monument in a park in downtown Tokyo in 1973 based on the common understanding that the mass killing was ethnic discrimination and this fact should be passed on to future generations as a warning. It was customary for the Tokyo governor to send a message of condolence to the annual memorial ceremony.

Past related article:
> 30K signatures submitted for use of Tokyo park for memorial service for Korean victims of 1923 massacre [June 12, 2020]
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