This year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of adopting the normalization treaty in 1965 between the Republic of Korea and Japan as well as the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. However, Historical Reconciliation and Liquidation have not been fully achieved,as the division and the remnants of the Cold War have not been overcome in East Asia includingon the Korean peninsula. Ongoing territorial disputes and arms races even increase the possibility of military conflict and war over this dangerous region.
Moreover, Korea and Japan have never solved the problem of their past history properly due to the incomplete treaty of 1965. Although the Japanese government has expressed its remorse and apologies for the colonial rule and war a few times since the 1990s, the Abe government now denies the Konostatement of 1993 and Murayama statement of 1995 in which the Japanese government expressed its official apology to the international community and is now trying to nullify Japan's peace-preserving and war-preventing constitution (Article 9). These activities of the Abe government that attempt to distort and reverse the historical facts are threatening the global peace that the whole world has aspired and strived to realize since the end of world war 70 years ago and they are also obstacles to further cooperation and reconciliation among East Asian countries.
Fortunately, we are very encouraged by the continuous declarations of global citizens that are criticizing and opposing the skewed historical understanding of the Abe government, which runs counter topositive historical development. These are the declarations of 456 historian scholars from all over the world in April, the declarationsof 14,000 members from sixteen Japanese historical organizations in May, and the declarations of 281 Japanese intellectuals. These declarations have all criticized the Japanese government’s distorted perception of history, and urged reflection and apologies for its historical misdeeds.
We, the participants of the 6th International NGO Conference on History and Peace, are supporting in solidarity with the courageous Japanese historians and intellectuals who have required their own government to openly acknowledge its brutal inhuman misdeeds and make a proper apology to the victims. We therefore, call upon international civil society to urge the Japanese government to carry out, with sincerity,the following recommendations in the name of global citizenship:
• The Japanese government must show its national-level efforts to acknowledge its responsibility for colonial domination and war as well as liquidate its past misdeeds through a formal statement byPrime Minister Abeon the occasion of the 70th year commemoration marking the end of World War II.
• The Japanese government should cease its academic, cultural and political actions, which deny its devastation of human rights and also crimes against humanity in the colonial era, such as ‘the Comfort women issues’ and the Nanjing Massacre.
• The Japanese government should contribute to establishinga peace system in East Asia and clear itself of the stigma as a war-crime country thereby following the example of Germany and preserve Article 9 of the peace constitution which Japan has already promised to the international community it would do.
• The Japanese government is obliged to publish unbiased history textbooks based on the educational guidelines of UNESCO in order to provide acorrect historical awareness for future generations as well as to prevent the distorting of history and glorification ofits past aggressions and colonial rule.
• The global citizens of the world are invited to join this appeal in solidarity with the civil society of Korea and Japan in order to overcome historical conflicts and establish an association and system of peace and cooperation in East Asia.
2015. 7. 11
Participants of the 6th History NGO International Conference &
Signers of the Declaration