Issues Regarding
History Issues Q&A

August 9, 2016
Japanese

Q1: How does the Government of Japan recognize the history concerning the previous war?

Regarding the recognition of the history by the Government of Japan, the so-called “Murayama Statement” was issued on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, and the so-called “Koizumi Statement” was issued on the 60th anniversary. In addition to these statements, a cabinet decision was made to issue a statement by the Prime Minister of Japan on 14 August, 2015 on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. Please see the following links for their contents:

Q2: Is it true that Japan has not formally apologized to the countries of Asia that suffered during the previous war involving Japan?

  1. The feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for the actions during the war have been upheld consistently by the post-war Cabinets. Such feelings were expressed in the form of the Murayama Statement on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, and those feelings of remorse and apology were also carried forth via the Koizumi Statement issued to commemorate the 60th anniversary.
  2. Such feelings of remorse and apology articulated by previous Cabinets will be upheld as unshakable, which was made clear in the Statement by the Prime Minister issued on 14 August, 2015.
  3. On the other hand, we must not let the future generations, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize. This is the responsibility of the current generation that is alive at this moment.

Q3: What kind of reparations did Japan make to the countries and people who suffered during the previous war?

  1. At the end of the Second World War, Japan dealt collectively with the issue of reparations, property and claims with the countries concerned. That was the method that was generally accepted by the international community at the time.
  2. Specifically, Japan concluded the San Francisco Peace Treaty, bilateral peace treaties, agreements and instruments with countries concerned, and in accordance with them carried out payment of reparations and other items in good faith. In this way, issues of claims concerning the War have been legally settled with the countries of the parties to these treaties, agreements and instruments.

(Reference 1)
Examples of war reparations made pursuant to the San Francisco Peace Treaty

  • Reparations amounting to US$550 million (198 billion yen) were made to the Philippines, and US$39 million (14.04 billion yen) to Viet Nam.
  • Payment to the International Committee of the Red Cross to compensate prisoners of war (POW) of 4.5 million pounds sterling (approximately 4.54109 billion yen) was made.
  • Japan relinquished all overseas assets (approximately US$23.681 billion: approximately 379.499 billion yen)

(Reference 2)
Examples of war reparations made pursuant to individual peace treaties and other treaties

  • Reparations amounting to US$200 million (72 billion yen) were made to Burma, and US$223.08 million (80.3088 billion yen) to Indonesia.
  • Japan-Soviet Union Joint Declaration (1956)
    The Soviet Union waived its rights to reparations from Japan, and both Japan and the Soviet Union waived all reparations claims arising from war.

(Reference 3) Relevant articles of the San Francisco Peace Treaty

(Reference 4) Specifics of Japan's postwar settlement (issue of reparations, assets, and claims)

Q4: Although issues of reparations have been settled on a governmental level, are there not still outstanding issues concerning claims by individuals?

  1. At the end of the Second World War, Japan dealt collectively with the issue of reparations, properties and claims with the countries concerned, simultaneously dealing with personal claims at that time. For example, under the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, all claims of nationals of the Allied Powers and Japan to related countries and their nationals were waived.
  2. In this way, issues of claims by individuals have been legally settled with the parties to the San Francisco Peace Treaty, bilateral treaties, agreements and instruments.

(Reference) San Francisco Peace Treaty

Article 14 (b) (Excerpt)

"Except as otherwise provided in the present Treaty, the Allied Powers waive all reparations claims of the Allied Powers, other claims of the Allied Powers and their nationals arising out of any actions taken by Japan and its nationals in the course of the prosecution of the war, and claims of the Allied Powers for direct military costs of occupation."

Article 19 (a)

"Japan waives all claims of Japan and its nationals against the Allied Powers and their nationals arising out of the war or out of actions taken because of the existence of a state of war, and waives all claims arising from the presence, operations or actions of forces or authorities of any of the Allied Powers in Japanese territory prior to the coming into force of the present Treaty."

Q5: What is the view of the Government of Japan concerning the comfort women issue?

  1. The Government of Japan recognizes that the issue known as comfort women is one that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan has extended its sincere apologies and remorse to all those women known as comfort women who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds.
  2. Although all issues of reparations, properties and claims arising from the war, including the issue of comfort women, have been legally settled, the Government of Japan extended maximum cooperation to the Asian Women's Fund, which implemented "medical and welfare support projects" and provided "atonement money," to offer realistic relief to former comfort women who are now advanced in years.
  3. While the AWF was disbanded in March 2007, the Government of Japan is continuing its effort to gain a better understanding of the sincere feelings of the people and the Government of Japan which were embodied in the projects of the AWF. It will also continue its effort to ensure that Japan's views and efforts on the comfort women issue are properly recognized by the international community based on an objective understanding of relevant facts.*
  4. In the Statement by the Prime Minister issued on 14 August, 2015, it is stated that we must never forget that there were women behind the battlefields whose honour and dignity were severely injured. It is also stated that we will engrave in our hearts the past, when the dignity and honour of many women were severely injured during wars in the 20th century, and Japan will lead the world in making the 21st century an era in which women’s human rights are not infringed upon.
  5. At a Japan- the Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers' Meeting held on December 28, 2015 in Seoul, the Ministers reached an agreement regarding the issue of comfort women and confirmed that the issue is resolved "finally and irreversibly". Following the Meeting, a Japan-ROK Summit Telephone Call was held on the same day, and the two Leaders confirmed and appreciated the fact that their governments had reached an agreement regarding the issue. Both governments of Japan and the ROK are currently making efforts to implement the agreement.

(Reference 1) Overview of the activities of the Asian Women's Fund

  • Recognizing that the comfort women issue was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of a large number of women, the Government of Japan, together with the people of Japan, seriously discussed what could be done to express their sincere apologies and remorse to the former comfort women. As a result, the people and the Government of Japan cooperated and together established the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) on July 19, 1995. Approximately 600 million yen was donated to the AWF by the people of Japan, and the Government of Japan, with a view to fulfilling its moral responsibility, provided a total of 4.8 billion yen to the AWF.
  • The AWF provided "atonement money" (2 million yen per person) to former comfort women in the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan who were identified by their governments/authority and other bodies as such and wished to receive it. As a result, 285 former comfort women (211 in the Philippines, 61 in the Republic of Korea, 13 in Taiwan) received funds. Moreover, in addition to the "atonement money," the AWF provided funds for medical and welfare support in those countries/areas (3 million yen per person in the Republic of Korea and Taiwan, 1.2 million yen for the Philippines) (for a total of 5 million yen per person in the Republic of Korea and Taiwan, 3.2 million yen per person in the Philippines). When the atonement money was provided, successive Prime Ministers, on behalf of the Government, sent a letter expressing sincere apologies and remorse directly to each former comfort woman.
  • In the Netherlands, where the identification of former comfort women was not implemented, the Asian Women's Fund contributed an approximate total of 255 million yen over three years to the project to improve the living conditions of former comfort women implemented by Project Implementation Committee in the Netherlands (PICN), thus providing assistance to 79 recipients.
  • In Indonesia, where there are difficulties in designating former comfort women, in 1997 the Asian Women's Fund agreed to provide financial support amounting to 380 million yen over ten years, for a project to promote social welfare services for elderly people implemented by the Government of Indonesia. In total, 69 social welfare facilities for elderly people were established.
  • With the completion of the project in Indonesia, the AWF was disbanded in March 2007.

(Reference 2) Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the result of the study on the issue of "comfort women" (August 4, 1993)

(Reference 3) Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting (December 28, 2015)

Q6: What is the view of the Government of Japan on the incident known as the "Nanjing Massacre"?

  1. The Government of Japan believes that it cannot be denied that following the entrance of the Japanese Army into Nanjing in 1937, the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other acts occurred. However, there are numerous theories as to the actual number of victims, and the Government of Japan believes it is difficult to determine which the correct number is.
  2. The feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for the actions during the war have been upheld consistently by the post-war Cabinets. Such feelings were expressed in the form of the Murayama Statement on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, and those feelings of remorse and apology were also carried forth via the Koizumi Statement issued to commemorate the 60th anniversary.
  3. Such feelings of remorse and apology articulated by previous Cabinets will be upheld as unshakable, which was made clear in the Statement by the Prime Minister issued on 14 August, 2015.

Q7: What is the view of the Government of Japan on the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE)?

  1. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) (also known as the Tokyo Trial) was a trial established by the Allied Powers after the Second World War to try Japanese Class A war criminals, where 28 people were prosecuted for charges, including crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. Of these, 25 were convicted, while the rest died of illness or were dismissed.
  2. The Government of Japan acknowledges that there are various arguments regarding this judgment. However, Japan has accepted the judgment of the IMTFE under Article 11 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Therefore, in state to state relationship, the Government of Japan believes that it is in no position to raise any objections regarding this judgment.

(Reference1) Article 11 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty

Japan accepts the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and of other Allied War Crimes Courts both within and outside Japan, and will carry out the sentences imposed thereby upon Japanese nationals imprisoned in Japan. The power to grant clemency, to reduce sentences and to parole with respect to such prisoners may not be exercised except on the decision of the Government or Governments which imposed the sentence in each instance, and on recommendation of Japan. In the case of persons sentenced by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, such power may not be exercised except on the decision of a majority of the Governments represented on the Tribunal, and on the recommendation of Japan.

(Reference2) International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) (also known as the Tokyo Trial)

Q8: Compared to Germany, are the measures taken by Japan on issues concerning its past insufficient?

  1. Japan and Germany have both dealt with their "history issues" in good faith.
  2. At the same time, the historical backgrounds of Germany and Japan differ completely, in terms of what happened during the Second World War and under what kind of postwar situation they engaged in postwar settlement. For example, Japan dealt collectively with the issue of reparations with the countries concerned in a manner that was generally accepted by the international community at the time, pursuant to the San Francisco Peace Treaty, treaties and instruments. On the other hand, the Government of Japan is aware that Germany took the approach of personal compensation as it could not deal collectively with countries concerning various issues including reparations as Japan did, since Germany was divided into East and West following the war.
  3. In this way, Japan and Germany have dealt with postwar settlement by different approaches. Therefore, it is not appropriate to make a simple comparison and evaluation of the measures taken by the two countries.