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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 9 - 15  > Enactment of law to relieve civilian victims of US air raids during WWII is pressing need
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2022 March 9 - 15 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Enactment of law to relieve civilian victims of US air raids during WWII is pressing need

March 10, 2022

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

A nationwide liaison council for air-raid victims on March 3 held a rally in a Dietmembers' office building, demanding that an air-raid victims relief law be enacted during the current session of the Diet. An outline for the law a cross-party parliamentarians' group complied includes the provision of a lump-sum benefit for civilian victims who were mentally and physically damaged and the launching of fact-finding surveys on damage from U.S. aerial bombings during WWII.

An'no Teruko, 82, who lost her left leg in an air strike in Kagoshima Prefecture, said in a video message, "My remaining leg is becoming weaker and weaker. People who experienced the bombings do not have much time left," and called for a legal system to relieve the air-raid victims.

After the war, many civilian victims of air raids began working for peace, demanding "no more wars, no more war victims". They said they want the implementation of an air-raid victims relief law in order to remind the government of the remorse over Japan's past war of aggression and to prevent Japan from engaging in war again.

Japan invaded northeastern China in 1931, entered into a full-scale war with China in 1937, started the Asia-Pacific War in 1941, and expanded its battle lines. The war Japan waged dragged many civilians into the war in many areas, and caused the tremendous loss of lives and damage to the peoples of Japan and the rest of Asia. However, the Japanese government has never accepted its liability by insisting that people should evenly bear war damage, neglecting to make an apology or provide compensation to civilian war victims. In contrast, the government continues to compensate former Japanese soldiers, former military-attached civilians, and their bereaved families.

An official apology and compensation to civilian air-raid victims will meet the spirit of the postwar Constitution which resolves that never again shall Japan be visited with the horrors of war through the actions of government. The government of a country with the war-renouncing Article 9 in its Constitution should establish an aid system for civilian air-raid victims by learning lessons from past mistakes. It should not delay the implementation of a relief act.

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