Letter to the Premier:
Japanese Canadians for Bill 79
This letter offers a Japanese Canadian voice in support of Bill 79 in the Ontario provincial legislature. If you identify as Japanese, Japanese Canadian, or Nikkei, or are part of a Japanese Canadian community, we encourage you to sign on to the letter here.
Dear Premier Wynne,
We are a diverse group of Japanese Canadians writing to you in support of Bill 79 (An Act to proclaim the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day). We wish to express our support for the bill for the following reasons:
1. The Nanjing Massacre of 1937 is a historical fact. Preserving this history helps us to learn from the past, and to support calls for justice in the present.
2. Many Chinese, Korean, and other Asian Canadian individuals and organizations support Bill 79, because it gives voice to their communities’ experiences of grave injustice. We wish to stand in solidarity with them, in the same way that many of them stood in solidarity with us in our struggle for Japanese Canadian redress in the 1980s.
3. Some have argued that Bill 79 will incite intolerance against Japanese Canadians. We believe this argument is unfounded: in fact, similar memorial days commemorating the Holocaust (1998) and the Ukrainian Holodomor (2009) in Ontario have encouraged learning and created opportunities for reconciliation, rather than promoting intolerance.
4. Some have also argued that Bill 79 deals with a foreign issue, one that does not concern Ontarians; yet many Japanese and Asian Canadians in this province have strong personal ties to the history of war in Asia. As long as Ontarians are affected by this history and how it is remembered, Bill 79 remains very much a local concern.
5. We believe that acknowledging the past is a necessary first step toward reconciliation in the present. As Japanese Canadians, we feel that supporting the commemoration of the Nanjing Massacre will lay the groundwork for reconciliation between Japanese and wider Asian communities, in Ontario and beyond.
We recognise that Bill 79 deals with a history that many find uncomfortable and divisive. Yet avoiding or suppressing this history only makes it more painful, and deepens divisions between us. By acknowledging history instead, Bill 79 creates much-needed space for dialogue, understanding, and empathy, and signals hope for reconciliation for present and future generations. We therefore hope that your government and our society will join us in supporting Bill 79.
Japanese Canadians for Bill 79
Kendall Yamagishi, Japanese Canadian Young Leaders - Toronto
Mike Murakami, LifeLine Syria - Community Champion
Sumi Hasegawa, Montreal Save Article 9
(85 additional signatures)
1 The Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metropolitan Toronto, which has endorsed Bill 79, was part of the National Coalition for Japanese Canadian Redress. Key members of the Toronto and London chapters of the Chinese Canadian National Council, which was also part of the National Coalition, have supported the bill as well.