A Letter to The Boston Globe

Boston is a beautiful town. I adore this city of modernity, with a charming heritage of British settlers. Its museum cherishes one of the best selections of pre-modern Japanese arts.

I went to Boston for the first time on May 30, 2001. The next morning I was surprised to see a Japan-related headline in the front page of The Boston Globe: "Calling Japan to Account."

//Refer to the following article:

or, click the following, look for "The Secret History of WWII" and read "Part III":

It told horrifying stories of Japanese military victimizing American POWs in the WWII and advocated demand for Japan's compensation for them despite the 1951 peace treaty entered into by both U.S. and Japan. The writer appeared to believe that justice would prevail if the society listened to the voice of certain activists while disregarding all the agreements contained in the peace treaty.

A peace treaty is a product of human wisdom. I wrote a letter to The Boston Globe to tell the writer about it.


Dear Editor:

I would like to send my following contribution (total 198 words), attached in the end of this e-mail, for The Boston Globe regarding its front-page article on May 31. 

The United States is the best ally Japan has ever had, and I am a firm supporter of the military alliance between Japan and the US and the long-lasting friendship between the two countries.  Regrettably, Mr. Fritz's article, one-sided and misleading, invites the Globe's readers in a very sensational way to resume an emotional war with its importantAsian ally.

It is a widely known story and never a secret that the military courts held by the victors of the WWII questioned hundreds of Japanese militaries for their abuses to the POWs and executed them.  Admittedly there were tragedies for the American POWs.

One the other hand, there was also such a widely known case where the only fault of the questioned Japanese military was "forcing US soldiers to eat arboreal roots".  Actually what he fed was burdocks, a common ingredient for Japanese cuisine but definitely a strange stuff for the
Westerners.  His appeal was not fairly listened to and he was hanged, after all.

The US archives might reveal how the Americans treated the Japanese POWs.  It is said that in many cases the only survivors were such Japanese soldiers who spoke English and were cooperative and "useful" to the US army; others were killed.  No compensation for those killed POWs will be available from the US because of the 1951 peace treaty, which settled all the bills.

The leaders of the Unit 731 of the Japanese army, which committed atrocious "medical" experiments on the Chinese POWs, were not questioned in the military courts organized by General MacArthur although they really deserved the highest punishment.  The reason was that America obtained all the files of the Unit 731 for their usage under a secret deal with Japan.  Mr. Fritz might rather locate in the US archives such hidden files and find how these secret files were utilized in this country.

I could write even a book for the kind perusal of Mr. Fritz and the Globe's readers, but let my following contribution be of some service to them.

If Pandora's box is reopened and a new war of emotions is set, I may dedicate my entire life for the cause of Japan to get as much compensation as possible from the US based on each of the civilian tragedies in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and all other major cities except Kyoto since Japan has never been compensated for such liabilities.

Thousands of people may spend millions of hours for all such disputes regarding things that took place five decades ago.  Question is whether this is good for Japan and good for the US.  We could spend our time and money for something more constructive, and that is the reason why nations sign peace treaties to settle all the bills of enormous complexity called "war". 

===== Contribution to The Boston Globe =====

Mr. Mark Fritz's article on May 31 ("Calling Japan to account - the Secret History of WWII) invites the Globe's readers to support abolition of the 1951 peace treaty and resume disputes with Japan for additional compensations.  I am afraid it might be the Americans rather than the Japanese who would have to pay colossal amounts for the events in 1940's if Pandora's box is reopened.

Compare fairly how many Japanese or American civilians were killed by bombings over residential areas, which were illegal even during the WWII.  In Pearl Harbor, Japan bombed only the US military base.  What areas in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki did the Americans bomb? 

Japan, as a loser in the war, abandoned all its huge assets abroad, especially in China, and its taxpayers paid enormous compensation to the other surrounding countries. 

Military courts after the war executed more than a thousand Japanese militaries, many of them due to their abuses to the POWs.  I believe the cases of Mr Fritz's "Secret Story" found in the American archives were settled before the 1951 peace treaty was signed.  General MacArthur was not so inadvertent as to put all those cases in the archives without questioning.

Yukio IZUMI, Tokyo, Japan


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