Mahathir went against the feelings and hopes of Malaysians and Asians by making Malaysia the first country which had been a victim of Japanese atrocities in the second world war to ask the Japanese Government to ‘forget the past’


By parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tan Jung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, August 29, 1994:

Mahathir went against the feelings and hopes of Malaysians and Asians by making Malaysia the first country which had been a victim of Japanese atrocities in the second world war to ask the Japanese Government to ‘forget the past’

Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed went against the feelings and hopes of Malaysians and Asians by making Malaysia the first country which had been a victim of Japanese atrocities in the Second World War to ask the Japanese government to ‘forget the past’.

Hid statement to the Japanese Prime Minister, Tomiichi Murayama during the latter’s visit on Saturday that he could not understand why the Japanese government kept on apologizing for war crimes committed 50 years ago was not only most shocking, but most insensitive and totally uncalled for.

Mahathir’s statement must be a very personal one which definitely does not represent the feelings of the overwhelming majority of Malaysians.

Had the Cabinet with Ministers from all the Barisan Nasional parties given full support to the international position taken by Mahathir, making Malaysia as the first Asian country which had suffered the depredations and atrocities of the Japanese Occupation fifty years ago to publicly call on the Japanese government to ‘forget the past’!

Although the Japanese Imperial army leaders had been convicted and sentenced for war crimes after the Second World War, the Japanese Government and society had always regarded them as ‘heroes’ and the war-crime judgement and sentences as most arbitrary and unacceptable ones imposed by ‘victors’ on the ‘vanquished’ –and had never accepted that the Japanese Imperial army had been guilty of the most despicable of atrocities.

This was why two Japanese Cabinet Ministers had to resign in the past three months because of Asian outrage, one for claiming that the 1937 Nanking massacre of Chinese civilians by Japanese occupying troops never happened, while another glorifying the Japanese wartime guilt!

This was also why two weeks ago, six Cabinet Ministers visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a symbol of Japan’s militatist past, which enshrines the war criminals including Calss-A war criminals condemned by the Tokyo War Crime trials, such as wartime Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo, raising the stark question whether the Japanese government and society were really repentant about their war guilt and crimes.

Malaysians cannot understand how Mahthir could conclude that the Japanese government had ‘kept on opoligising for war time crimes’ when the Japanese government and society had not shown full and genuine repentance

The position enunciated by Mahathir calling on the Japanese Government to ‘forget the past’ is even more unjustifiable and untendable, coming at a time when the Japanese government and society are slowly and agonizingly grappling with their wartime guilt.

Malaysians and Asians cannot understand how Mahathir could come to the conclusion that the Japanese government “kept on apologizing for war crimes committed 50 years ago”, when the Japanese Government and society had not shown full and genuine repentance and have only made ‘half-hearted’ apologies for their wartime atrocities.

Instead of encouraging the Japanese Government and society to admit and fully repent their wartime crimes, and to make adequate reparations to the victims of Japanese atrocities, like the Japanese ‘comfort women’ in the various Asian countries which were under the heel of Japanese Imperial Army and the Malaysian victims of Japanese atrocities, Mahathir has given comfort to those in Japanese government and society who reufse to fully repent for the Japanese atrocities and war crimes.

DAP calls on mahathir to review his stand on the issue of Japanese war-time guilt and crimes

DAP calls on Mahathir to review his stand on the issue of Japanese war-time guilt and crimes and the need for proper reparations by the Japanese Government and society to the victims of Japanese atrocities to close this inhuman chapter of Asian history.

Are the Barisan Nasional component parties, whether UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and others prepared to join the DAP in a motion in the next Parliamentary meeting calling on the Japanese government and Society to fully repent for their wartime guilt and crimed and make all proper reparations to the victims of Japanese atrocities?

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