World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Japan: WWII-era and Aftermath

Japan: World War II-era, homefront and aftermath.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Samurai, SS swords, Japanese Atrocities, Hunt for the Japanese WWII Gold, Hirohito, Tojo, Kamikaze Pilots, Japanese Flags, Imperial Army.

75 years later, 1 million Japanese war dead still missing
Seventy-five years after the end of World War II, more than 1 million Japanese war dead are scattered throughout Asia, where the legacy of Japanese aggression still hampers recovery efforts.

What Motivated Japanese Aggression in World War II?
In the 1930s and 1940s, Japan seemed intent on colonizing all of Asia. It seized vast swathes of land and numerous islands. What motivated a formerly reclusive island nation to go on such a rampage? In fact, three major, interrelated factors contributed to Japan's aggression in the lead-up to World War II and during the conflict. The three factors were fear of outside aggression, growing Japanese nationalism, and the need for natural resources.

Japan Facing World War II Truth Before Last Witnesses Die
Since its unconditional surrender after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, claiming more than 200,000 lives, Japan has often presented itself as the victim of the war. This viewpoint is different from that of other Asian countries, such as South Korea and China. Though I am Japanese myself, I have always felt uneasy with Japan's narrative of the war. But I do understand what it stems from: On one hand, the Japanese soldiers who invaded other countries were outside Japan`s territory and most of them died. On the other hand, some of the victims of America`s intensive air raids and atomic bombings on Japanese territory, as well as their family members, are still alive. Sharply diverging from Japan's traditional depiction of the War, the three NHK documentaries hold the Imperial Japanese Army accountable and ask why it committed such inhumane crimes.

Japanese Reflections on WWII and the American Occupation: War through the eyes of everyday Oita citizens
The deafening report of war is such that the cries of its victims are often hard to hear, even decades later. This is why Edgar and Ran Ying Porter hope their new book, `Japanese Reflections on World War II and the American Occupation,` will amplify the quiet voices in Oita Prefecture, particularly those of women and children who were caught in the crossfire between state indoctrination and blind nationalism on one hand and the daily struggle to survive on the other.

The Kurile Islands: Why World War II Never Ended
For Russia, they are the justly earned spoils of war. For Japan, the southern Kurile Islands are stolen territory, lost to Soviet aggression and Western interference. More than 70 years after the last shot was fired in World War II, the two countries remain locked in a stalemate over four wave-battered islands.

Meet the Kempeitai - The Gestapo of Imperial Japan
Organized in the late 19th century as an elite corps of military police for the Japanese Army, the Kempeitai evolved into a dreaded imperial security force, whose duties went far beyond policing the military. Among their responsibilities was enforcing conscription, which met with some resistance in Japan when it was introduced, especially in rural areas where drafting able-bodied young men caused hardship for farm families. The Kempeitai also conducted military espionage and counter-espionage, which meant that they sometimes pursued the same spies as the Tokyo, the so-called Thought Police who cracked down on subversive activities in Japan and arrested Soviet agent Richard Sorge and members of his spy ring.

Yokohama No. 3 on list of atomic bomb targets, documents show
Recently uncovered U.S. documents might help to unravel the mystery of why Yokohama, once high on the list of possible U.S. atomic bombing targets in 1945, was dropped from consideration. It may simply have come down to size. The official reason why Yokohama was spared from a nuclear attack remains unknown, despite the efforts of Japanese historians to uncover details of the selection process for the targets of the U.S. atomic bombs. Yozo Kudo found documents at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration that showed Yokohama was one of the leading candidates among 17 potential targets.

Here`s the planned US invasion of Japan that never happened
The planning committee for the US invasion of Japan expected that `operations in this area will be opposed not only by the available organized military forces of the Empire, but also by a fanatically hostile population.` Nevertheless, the Allied forces prepared to send 42 aircraft carriers, 24 battleships, and 400 destroyer ships and escorts to Japan`s coast. The Allies expected 456,000 deaths in the invasion of Japan`s military stronghold at the island of Kyushu alone. In preparation for what everyone expected to be a bloody, prolonged clash, the US government manufactured 500,000 Purple Hearts to be awarded to troops wounded in the invasion.

War brides documentary details lives of Japanese wives who came to U.S. after WWII
`War brides` is an unfamiliar term for the younger generation, now 70 years after the end of World War II. After the war's end, half a million American troops and civilians employed by the Allied occupation forces were stationed in Japan. Many fell in love with Japanese women who were recently the `enemy.` It is estimated that 50,000 women followed their husbands to the United States. Arriving in a strange land, they were known as `war brides.` Journalists Lucy Craft and Kathryn Tolbert and photographer Karen Kasmauski--all daughters of war brides--produced a documentary centered on their interviews with their respective mothers, all in their 80s.

New evidence of Japan's effort to build atom bomb at the end of WWII
New evidence has emerged about the Japanese military's secret program to build a nuclear weapon. A retired professor at the state-run Kyoto University discovered a blueprint at the school's former Radioisotope Research lab. The notebooks were related to research work by Bunsaku Arakatsu, a professor at the university whom Sankei said was asked by the Japanese navy to develop an atomic bomb during the war. Also found were drawings of a turbine-based centrifuge apparently to be used for the study of uranium enrichment. It was dated March 1945. Another blueprint was found of a centrifuge that a Japanese company, Tokyo Keiki, was producing, with a notation indicating the device was scheduled to be completed Aug. 19, 1945.

As an American teen stuck in Japan, Minnesota man witnessed World War II in Japan
On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the first and only atomic bombs used in war destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Shortly afterward, Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced his country's surrender. One American teenager witnessed those events from a close perspective. He was stuck in Japan for the war. Albert Takeshi was a high schooler who endured what might be regarded as the world's worst foreign-exchange student experience. He was trapped in Japan when war broke out with the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. For the next four years, Yamamoto was cut off from his parents in America. He was put to work on Japanese defense projects, endured bombings and strafing attacks by U.S. forces, risked being drafted in the Japanese army and suffered the hunger of a country being starved and shattered in a doomed struggle.

Master recording of Emperor`s WWII surrender speech to be released
The Imperial Household Agency plans to make public for the first time the original vinyl master recordings of Emperor Hirohito`s historic speech in which he declared Japan`s surrender in World War II. The exhibition of the original discs as well as a new digitally remastered version of the recording will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, recorded the address on Aug. 14, 1945, at a building of the agency`s predecessor. It was broadcast at noon on the radio the following day. Five vinyl records of the speech are in the Imperial family`s archives.

Kyujo Incident - How a Group of Japanese Officers Planned to Overthrow the Emperor and Continue WW2
After three and a half years of total war against the United States, the once-mighty empire had been reduced to ruins. The fighting in the Pacific cost Japan 50,000 aircraft, 3,000 tanks and more than 300 warships, including 19 carriers and eight battleships. Worse, at least 2 million Japanese troops perished in the savage fighting. Even Emperor Hirohito was calling on the leadership to seek terms. Japan`s PM, Kantarō Suzuki, and his hawkish military cabinet, known as the `Big Six`, finally conceded defeat. Yet amazingly, despite Japan`s downfall, not all were committed to ending hostilities. In fact, many nationalists sought to fight on.

Hiroo Onoda, Japanese soldier who hid in jungle for 29 years after WWII ended, dies at 91
A Japanese soldier who refused to surrender after WWII ended and spent 29 years in the jungle has died aged 91 in Tokyo. Hiroo Onoda remained in the jungle on Lubang Island near Luzon, in the Philippines, until 1974 because he did not believe that the war had ended. He was finally persuaded to emerge after his ageing commanding officer was flown in to see him. As WW2 neared its end, Mr Onoda, then a lieutenant, became cut off on Lubang as US troops came north. The young soldier had orders not to surrender - a command he obeyed for nearly three decades. "Every Japanese soldier was prepared for death, but as an intelligence officer I was ordered to conduct guerrilla warfare and not to die. I became an officer and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame. I am very competitive," he told in an interview in 2010.

Japan acknowledges past denial of proof of forced sex slavery was based on limited study
Japan has acknowledged that it conducted only a limited investigation before claiming there was no official evidence that its imperial troops coerced Asian women into sexual slavery before and during WW2. A parliamentary statement signed by PM Shinzo Abe acknowledged the government had a set of documents produced by a postwar international military tribunal containing testimony by Japanese soldiers about abducting Chinese women as military sex slaves. That evidence apparently was not included in Japan`s only investigation of the issue, in 1991-1993.

High quality color footage of a very different Tokyo circa 1935
Thanks to a well made and well preserved piece of film we can get a glimpse of a rare Tokyo. The footage was shot right between the city`s two 20th century destructions during the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and the 1944 firebombing campaign.

WWII Ninjas - Documents reveal that secret spy school taught ninjutsu skills to Japanese intelligence operatives
A set of recently discovered WW2 documents has revealed that a secret military spy school taught ninjutsu, martial arts techniques used by ninjas. The Rikugun Nakano Gakko was run by the Japanese Imperial Army, and was used to train military intelligence operatives in secret. Almost all documents related to the school were destroyed before WWII ended, and this is the first real information from official documents that confirms the school`s existence. Students weren`t just taught how to sneak around in their black footed-pajamas with a katana and throwing stars, they also learned more practical methods of gathering intelligence and sabotage, including bomb-making and photography.

Unit 731 - Am American cover-up of unspeakable World War II cruelty
Ishii`s Unit 731 had a goal: To develop biological weapons to use against Japan`s enemies. Unit 731`s employees chatted about cutting, chopping, carrying, stacking, burying and burning their human test subjects. Once the war was over Colonel Murray Saunders, a Ft. Detrick military officer tasked to uncover information about Japan`s biological warfare program concurred, recommended that General Macarthur offer Unit 731`s perpetrators immunity. While other war criminals were brought to trial and then executed, most of Unit 731`s employees went on to lead normal lives and careers.

American History: US-Japan relations before World War II AKA why Japan attacked the US
Until the late eighteen hundreds, Japan had been a nation with little contact with the Western world. Visits by Commodore Matthew Perry and American warships helped open Japan to trade with other nations in the eighteen fifties. By the nineteen twenties Japan was a strong country, but it lacked oil, rubber and other natural resources of its own. For this reason, Japanese leaders looked with envy at the Dutch, French and British colonies across Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Japan's desire to use East Asia to gain natural resources and sell manufactured products was in direct conflict with American plans for Asia, and as a result relations between the United States and Japan grew steadily worse throughout the thirties.

The single deadliest air raid of World War II - Bombing of Tokyo on 10 March 1945
In the single deadliest WWII air raid, 330 American B-29s delivered incendiary bombs on Tokyo, unleashing a firestorm that wiped out 100,000 people and burned 25% of the city to the ground. The raid was a tactical shift from high-altitude precision bombing to low-altitude incendiary raids. The Tokyo raid - Operation Meetinghouse - began an aerial onslaught so effective that the American air command concluded by July 1945 that all the targets worth bombing on the Japanese mainland were destroyed.

Japanese students amazed when they learn that Japan fought the US and Great Britain in WW2
The recent buzz about the Hitler costumes for sale in Japan reveals the acute historical amnesia. One Japanese teacher explains that his students will sometimes stare at him in a dumbfounded manner when they learn that Japan fought the U.S. and the U.K. during the World War II. Not to mention the fact that the current generation cannot conceive that their parents or grandparents could possibly have any Nazi links.

Japanese Army continued to gear up for combat after a-bombs, but Soviet attack forced them to surrender   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In spite of the atomic bombings the Japanese Imperial Military Command thought it could resists an Allied invasion if it had Manchuria and Korea, which provided the resources for war. In August 1945, 1.6 million Soviet troops attacked on the Japanese army in eastern Asia - and within days the Imperial army in the area collapsed. It was a key turn on the Pacific war, completely overshadowed in the history books by the atomic bombs. Now a new WWII book - Racing the Enemy by professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - reinforces the view that the Soviet attack was at least as effectively as the A-bombs in ending the war.

Historical footage: Japanese sign final surrender
News reel of the surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

Top secret interviews with WWII Japanese navy brass to be published
The Koyanagi File - a huge collection of testimonies on the Pacific War by navy ministers and officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy - will be released to the public for the first time in April 2010. The file, 4000 pages in 44 volumes, was collected by the Suiko-kai, an association of retired Japanese naval officials, based on interviews by Vice Admiral Tomiji Koyanagi with a total of 47 navy ministers, admirals and other top officials of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1956-1961. The file had been kept secret for half a century, and naval officials had maintained strict silence after the war.

Japan's Gestapo: Murder, Mayhem and Torture in Wartime Asia [book review]   (Article no longer available from the original source)
"This book is not for the fainthearted," warns the first line. And it's no exaggeration: Mark Felton describes in the physical, sexual and emotional torture used by the Japanese military police. What Felton labels "Japan's Gestapo" is Kempeitai, set up in 1881 in response to the invasion of the Western world. By the time WWII started, the Kempeitai was an integral part of the Japanese security apparatus. Deeply involved with the government, the Kempeitai was more powerful than the Nazi Gestapo. It handled combat, espionage, the running of civilian and POW camps, propaganda, biological and chemical warfare, and medical experiments.

"The Emperor and the Army" documentary film explains the history of Japan during the war and postwar years
"The Emperor and the Army" - a documentary film on the history of Japan during the war and postwar years - was produced by Kenichi Watanabe, a Japanese resident of Paris who came to France in 1997 after directing documentaries in Japan. Critics have said the film should be used as a criterion for understanding Japan. The 90-minute documentary film combines footage of the war and postwar era he dug up at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Watanabe explores the relationship between Emperor Hirohito (known as Emperor Showa since his death) and the Imperial military, and then the Self-Defense Forces.

Japan wanted to become a colonial power, just like the Western powers
The far east has often been seen as a minor World War II theatre. This view needs to be reversed. The great Asian war had a huge momentum: Combat began in 1931 and there was barely a pause when Japan surrendered in August 1945. The roots of war lay in western imperial competition in Asia and the quest of newly modernising states like China and Japan for power and equality. Japan's industrialisation, like that of the west, required privileged access to raw materials overseas. In 1931, Japanese armies took over the mineral-rich Chinese province of Manchuria. To Japan, to be a modern power was to be a colonial power.

Aircraft mechanic Clair Gill photographed Japanese delegation en route to Manila to set details of surrender
Clair Gill saved enough money during the Great Depression to purchase a camera. He took the camera with him while South Pacific island-hopping during World War II, photographing natives and the warplanes he patched. 4 days after Japan announced that it would cease fighting, a delegation of 16 Japanese military and diplomatic envoys secretly landed at a U.S. airfield near Okinawa en route to Manila to organize a surrender ceremony. Pfc. Gill, an aircraft mechanic who repaired flak holes in warplanes, photographed the layover at Ie Shima. He took pictures of the first face-to-face meeting of American and Japanese troops no longer actively at war.

Documentary film Yasukuni explores Japan's view of World War II via Yasukuni shrine
Over 60 years after the end of World War Two, many Japanese still refuse to accept blame for the war or wartime actions. Imperialist aggression? No, says one man in "Yasukuni," this was about "the liberation of Asia!" There are millions of Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos who disagree. What about war crimes like comfort women, slave labor, medical experiments, death marches, the Nanking? "A Chinese fabrication! The biggest lie in all of history" another answers. In some parts of Japan, it is still 1941, all day long. "Yasukuni" tries to draw them into the present, by focusing on the controversial Yasukuni shrine.

Japanese women and World War II home front thread at Axis History forum [photos]
Those on the home front of the Axis nations were called upon to make sacrifices for the victory. Involved in WW2 (1937-1945) Japan was a nation mobilized for warfare and much of that involved women, revolutionizing their lives. When the Pacific War began in 1937, cultural rules prevented the women from entering the war mobilization workforce. In the early years of the war, Japanese women were demoted to various volunteer groups, which did not involve direct factory work. However, by 1943, the loss of men required that able women work in factories. A women's volunteer labor corps was formed and by 1944 over 4 million women worked in 17 crucial industrial sectors.

Stranded war wives: Japan’s WWII defeat and the stranded women of Manchukuo
The zanryu fujin (stranded war wives) are former Japanese emigrants to Manchukuo who remained in China at the end of World War II. They were long among the forgotten legacies of Japan's imperialist past. The reasons why these women did not undergo repatriation during the years up to 1958, are varied but often the "Chinese" families that adopted them, or into which they married, played a part. As the following 3 stories reveal, the zanryu fujin did not "decide" to stay in China, but the circumstances often left them with little choice. When the last repatriation boat left China in 1958, about 10,000 Japanese women and children stayed behind.

The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan's Decision to Surrender?
This essay argues the most important cause behind Japan’s decision to surrender were the emperor's "sacred decision" to do so, masterminded by a small group of the Japanese ruling elite; and that in their calculations, Soviet entry was a more powerful motivation than the atomic bombs to seek the ending of the war by accepting the terms specified in the Potsdam Proclamation. Soviet entry into the war against Japan alone, without the atomic bombs, might have led to Japan's surrender before November 1 1946, but the atomic bombs alone, without Soviet entry into the war, would not have resulted this.

Japanese in Wehrmacht uniforms, serving the Third Reich?
The black and white photo may be one of a kind. Seated at a table are two "Aryans" and 3 Asians, at least two of whom wear Wehrmacht uniforms of the German Third Reich, but with rising sun insignias. Writing about his find, Takeshi Tanaka notes that about 2 million foreigners served in volunteer units of the Wehrmacht during the war. The individuals in the photo are unidentified, but the image indicates Japanese may have served in Nazi units. Tanaka says that a note states that the men "took part in the fighting against allied forces at Poland's Vistula River." He was unable to confirm the photo with any historical evidence.

Japanese school history textbooks accused of rewriting World War II
The on-going debate over Japan's version of WWII events in its school textbooks focuses on the 1945 Battle of Okinawa in which the military forced civilians into mass suicides faced with certain defeat. The government decided couple of years ago to remove references to the mass suicides in its history textbooks - causing protests across Japan. Education officials agreed to reinstate the passages, but the new textbooks will not contain the word "forced" in the context of the Imperial Army's role in the suicides. Instead, the wording has been reworded to state that people were "driven to suicides amid the Japanese military's involvement".

British and Australian PoWs used by Japanese PM's family business Aso Mining
Pile of documents stored in a basement and left to gather dust since the 1950s have forced Japan to acknowledge for the first time the wartime use of European slaves by Aso Mining - the family business of the Prime Minister. Records, published after a long struggle between opposition MPs and the civil service, seem to confirm that the company used hundreds of British and Australian POWs as slave labourers to dig coal in its mines - Japan has previously admitted to the use of Korean slave labour during the war. Worse still the cache of other records still in the Health Ministry may implicate dozens of other Japanese companies in similar schemes.

The chief of staff of Japan's air force faces sack over World War II comments
The chief of staff of Japan's air force is to be sacked after he claimed the country had been drawn into WW2 by the U.S. and denied it had been an aggressor. In an essay "Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?" General Toshio Tamogami claimed that Japan had been provoked by Franklin D Roosevelt (accusing the then US leader of being a puppet of the Comintern), and that the Korean peninsula had been "prosperous and safe" under Japan's 1910-1945 occupation. Tamogami called for Japan to reclaim its "glorious history" adding that "A nation that denies its own history is destined to pursue a path of decline."

In pictures: Japan's 63rd World War II Anniversary
In photographs - the 63rd anniversary of the end of Second World War in Japan.

William Bunce demilitarized Japanese institutions, religion and culture after war
William Kenneth Bunce, who as a Navy officer in 1945 penned the directive that disestablished Shinto as the state religion of Japan, died aged 100. His task during the post-WWII occupation of Japan was the demilitarization of Japanese institutions, religion and culture. Shinto had become a militaristic and ultra-nationalistic dogma: Students were required to study Shinto and the emperor visited shrines to discuss with his long-dead ancestors. Bunce's directive, prepared under the orders of General Douglas MacArthur, banned the doctrine that the emperor was descended from the sun and that the Japanese people were superior to all others.

Japan surrenders - Originally published on Aug. 15, 1945
Blasted and frightened into defeat, Japan has accepted unconditional surrender. Thus the world entered a new era of peace today. Along the enormous battlefronts of the Pacific and Asia the mightiest forces of destruction ever assembled rolled to a victorious halt around the prostrate, vanquished empire of Japan. Throughout the Allied world... it was a time for rejoicing and celebration. But already the problems of peace were beginning to pile up... Emperor Hirohito, addressing his nation for the first time by radio, blamed surrender on 2 main facts: (1) That the trend of the world war was against Japan. (2) On the atomic bomb.

Japan shies away from shrine documentary Yasukuni
An old man wearing a white tunic and a dark apron, steps into the frame. From a scabbard he pulls a ceremonial sword. With precision he carves an arc in the air, before bringing the blade down in the space in front of him. Naoji Kariya is the last living swordsmith at the Yasukuni shrine, where Japan remembers its war dead. He is one of the persons interviewed for Yasukuni film, made by Chinese filmmaker Li Ying. The film have been described as "anti-Japanese" by some lawmakers. Those comments have been blamed for prompting right-wing activists to stage protests against cinemas: 5 have cancelled screenings.

Best Wishes for Tomorrow - Japanese film about WWII war crime trial
WWII-era drama "Ashita e no Yuigon" (Best Wishes for Tomorrow) is a movie by Takashi Koizumi, based on a book by Shoichi Ooka. It was May 14, 1945 when 486 U.S. Air Force B-29 bombers dropped 2,500 tons of ordnance upon Nagoya. Over 300 women and children burned to death. 38 U.S. pilots who had parachuted from their B-29s were captured, tried as war criminals and decapitated. Once the war ended Lt. Gen. Tasuku Okada was charged as a Class-B war criminal. He was charged for ordering the executions of the POWs without a official trial. Okada was executed by hanging in 1949 during a period of post-war confusion.

The Ants (Ari no Heitai) - Japanese Imperial soldier left in China after WW2
The Ants (Ari no Heitai) is a documentary film about Japanese troops left in China after World War 2. The film follows Waichai Okumura, a former Imperial soldier who battled against the communists in China's civil war. The men followed orders and fought like worker ants, "for the resurgence of Japanese imperialism." When he was able to travel back to Japan 9 years after WW2 had ended, Okumura was astonished to find his government had disowned these soldiers. The men were labeled as mercenaries and denied their pensions; A handful of soldiers went after the Japanese authorities to tell the truth about why the men had been fighting.

Japan returns Korean World War II remains
Japan has handed over the remains of 101 South Koreans who were coerced to fight for the Japanese army during World War II. South Korean officials and relatives of the dead are flying the remains back to Seoul, after a memorial service in Tokyo. It was the first time the two governments had set up such a ceremonial handover. 22,000 South Koreans died fighting for Japan. Over 1,000 sets of remains have been handed over, but it was the first time Korean families had been invited to a government-level ceremony.

Military history of Japan during 1930s and 1940s - Professor Brian Farrell   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Worldwide Great Depression hit Japan severely and gave extremists and militarists, people who desired Japan to rely much on itself, power to go after a much more expansionist, national agenda. Within two years they had hijacked national policy making. And from 1931, when the Japanese army instigated the Manchuria incident, the trajectory of relations with the US was downhill. By 1939-1940 the issue was nearly impossible to unravel but easy to define: China. Japan was dominated by policy makers who believed that economic self-sufficiency was paramount to the country's strength as an independent state.

The Nanking Nightmare: Japanese still referring to it as an "incident"
In the winter of 1937, Japanese troops, having captured Shanghai, moved on to wrap up Nanking. After an aerial bombardment, they entered the city almost without resistance. Most of rich residents had fled, leaving the city to the poor and to the remnants of the Chinese army. There followed the most terrible single occurrence in the history of modern warfare, the "rape of Nanking." Over the next few months the Japanese army became an uncontrollable mob, and before order was restored, 200,000 Chinese were killed and 20,000 women were violated. It remained for Iris Chang to remind us, in a book full of passages too ugly to read, of just how monstrous this crime was.

Japan divided by history textbook compromise on Okinawa suicides
Japan's divide over its wartime history shows little sign of narrowing after the government compromised on history textbook references to military involvement in mass suicides in Okinawa in 1945. Many in prefecture were angered by a decision to remove from history textbooks a reference to the imperial army forcing people to kill themselves as U.S. troops invaded Okinawa in the last stages of World War II. Okinawan leaders welcomed new wording suggested by publishers and accepted by Education Minister, which notes Japanese military participation but stops short of saying soldiers forced people to kill themselves.

Japanese, who as children were abandoned in China   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A group of 40 war-displaced Japanese, who as kids were forsook in China in the closing days of World War II, became the first to drop a class-action lawsuit that demanded the government compensate them for the misfortunes they have suffered as a result of being abandoned. The move came after the Diet's enactment of a revised law to provide new support measures for war-displaced Japanese. 15 lawsuits have since been filed with district courts by 2,200 war-displaced people - 90% of the war - displaced people who resettled in Japan.

Counterstrike: Imperial army 'forced' Okinawa mass suicides
Researchers of the 1945 Battle of Okinawa agree that the Imperial army "forced and steered" civilians to commit mass suicide during the only full-scale ground battle in Japan during World War II. Hirofumi Hayashi, an authority on modern Japanese history, expressed the view in a statement passed on to the textbook-screening panel, which is deliberating requests to reinstate references about the military's role in forcing civilians to commit suicide. Hayashi said he responded to a request from the Textbook Authorization Council, which advises the education minister, and had asked a number of researchers on the battle to file their views.

Alive and safe, the Japanese soldiers who butchered 20000 seamen
The perpetrators of some of the worst atrocities of World War II remain alive and unpunished in Japan. "Slaughter At Sea: The Story Of Japan's Naval War Crimes" by historian Mark Felton reveals that the wartime behaviour of the Japanese Navy was far worse than their counterparts in Kriegsmarine. Officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy ordered the sadistic murders of 20,000 Allied seamen. "Many of the Japanese sailors who committed such terrible deeds are still alive today. ... There is only one documented case of a German U-boat skipper being responsible for cold-blooded murder of survivors. In the Japanese Imperial Navy it was official orders."

Japanese Military Strategy in the Pacific War: Was Defeat Inevitable
In book "Japanese Military Strategy in the Pacific War: Was Defeat Inevitable?" historian James Wood challenges the conventional wisdom that Japan's defeat in the Pacific was historically inevitable. Although the economics of the war in the Pacific were in America's favor, "the defeat of Japan took such a long, arduous, and uncertain road raising fundamental questions about the possibility of alternative outcomes and suggesting that the ... end date of the Pacific War may have been more ... changeable than usually thought." His book traces the active strategic imperatives that Japan focused on and contrasts them with those Japan could have chosen.

Japan: The Historic Meaning of the End of World War II
According to the data, there were more Japanese casualties in Japan and Southeast Asian countries, where massive air strikes by the U.S. were concentrated, than in its colonized regions. Hisao Ishiyama noted that the figures represent how Japanese people perceive World War II: "Japan was not defeated by the Asian populace." Japan lost to massive attacks by the U.S., and this is the reason why Japanese people maintain contemptuous views of Asian countries. The U.S. is responsible for Japan not atoning for what it did during the war. The U.S. did not impeach Japan's emperor, but rather used him to strengthen its cooperation with the war-ravaged country.

Assassins hastened Japan's march to war   (Article no longer available from the original source)
On Nov. 14, 1930, a gunshot rang out on a platform at Tokyo Station where the express Tsubame was about to depart. PM Osachi Hamaguchi had been shot in the stomach. In February that year, the Minseito party under Hamaguchi scored a victory in the House of Representatives election, winning 273 seats. Hamaguchi, "Lion Prime Minister," led his Cabinet in pushing disarmament. Tomeo Sagoya, member of the rightist group Aikokusha (Patriots association), was arrested at the scene of the attack. He was sentenced to death in 1933, but it was reduced to a life imprisonment. He was released on parole in 1940 and continued his activities throughout postwar years.

Survivors of WWII Tokyo air raids begin case for compensation
Civilian survivors of U.S. World War II air raids on Tokyo testified in court in a bid to win compensation for their suffering and to put the brakes on the drive to amend the war-renouncing Constitution. The suit, filed by 112 plaintiffs, alleges the government indirectly caused the attacks on Tokyo by prolonging the war and neglected its duty to compensate civilians after the attacks. They are demanding an apology and 1.23 billion yen in reparations. According to the suit, Tokyo endured more than 100 air raids by the U.S. military from Nov 1944 to Aug 1945, including the Great Tokyo Air Raid on March 10, 1945, that killed 100,000.

Japanese war brides reflect on their journey - After the 1945 surrender
For all the horrific legacies of World War II there is at the personal level another side to the coin. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, thousands of Australians were deployed to help rebuild the nation. Hundreds built a new life after falling in love with Japanese women, but they faced many adversities along the way. Now these women have come together to remember their journeys. At its peak there were 12,000 Australians in Japan, the war may have ended but hostility lingered. The Australian military had a strict anti fraternisation policy for its soldiers. What's more, many Japanese were wary of the former enemy. But there were so many opportunities to meet...

Japanese wartime medic admits experimenting on live victims   (Article no longer available from the original source)
An former high-ranking Japanese military medic Akira Makino has revealed that he vivisected the bodies of living people in the Philippines during World War II. He is preparing to speak on his wartime experiences in the near future. It is already known that Unit 731, a secret unit of the former Imperial Japanese Army, performed vivisections on Chinese in Manchuria but Makino's testimony is the first from an expert relating to vivisections in the Philippines. "I was unable to resist orders, and I did something cruel. As the number of people with wartime experience decreases, I have a responsibility to speak the truth about the war."

U.S. recruited ex-Japanese army officers to form spy ring
The U.S. enlisted former top Japanese army officers after World War II to form a spy ring against communists in Japan and other countries, declassified U.S. intelligence documents show. Headed by former Lt. General Torashiro Kawabe, who served as deputy chief of the Imperial Japanese Army's General Staff, the intelligence organization resembles the Gehlen Org, an anti-communist spy group set up by former Nazi officer Maj. Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, who was also recruited by the U.S. after the WW2. As in the German case, key members of the Japanese group did not face war crimes charges under the postwar U.S. policy.