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Home > Topics > Riposte to Abe and Japanese Militarism
No forgetting Japanese brutality, war vet says

China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, replied to a letter from a 98-year-old British war veteran who supported an article written by Liu condemning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his aggressive attitude toward re-militarizing Japan.

Fred Seiker survived action in the North Atlantic in World War II and the Thai-Burma Railway.

Seiker characterized his letter to Liu "as a small token of support for your article in the name of my friends who were murdered by the Japanese military whilst working on the Thai-Burma Railway".

Liu's article, which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Jan 2, strongly criticized Abe, who visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Dec 26. Liu accused Abe of deliberately raising tensions in Asia and putting the world on a "perilous path".

Seiker, the elderly veteran, enclosed two copies of his book Lest We Forget in both English and Chinese. The book includes his account of the Thai-Burma Railway episode.

Liu read the letter and book that he found overwhelming and heart-wrenching.

He replied: "I send you my deepest sympathy for your harrowing experience at the hands of the Japanese military. I also salute you for your outstanding fortitude and exceptional humanitarianism."

In the book Seiker wrote:

"I am often asked by well meaning people whether I can forgive or forget. The question of forgiving is perhaps one of religious belief or conscience, but to forget is a dangerous road to tread. Nothing that life throws at a survivor of the Thai-Burma railroad can ever be as daunting as the building of the Railway of Death. Forget? Never."

Liu responded: "To forestall the resurrection of militarism, there is a compelling need to record history as it is, and truly learn the lessons.

"Yet it is worrying and outrageous that Japanese leaders are slipping further on a wrong and dangerous path," Liu said.

Abe has openly questioned whether Japan was an aggressor in the war. Critics see this as an attempt to airbrush Japan's aggressive past and colonial rule.

At the same time, Abe is trying everything he can to amend Japan's pacifist constitution and expand the country's military, analysts have said.

Abe paid homage to Japanese war dead at the Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 Class-A war criminals are honored.

"Class-A war criminals are Japanese Nazis. A Japanese leader's veneration of these criminals, stained with the blood of millions of innocent people, sends out a clear signal: They will take over the mantle of these criminals and be the disciples of these criminals," Liu said.

"Given such records, how could the souls of the victims rest in peace? How could people possibly let go of the past?" he added.

In his letter, Seiker noted that the Chinese edition of his book was translated by Dr Bee Sun Lu of Houston, who is also a fiery opponent of Abe's policies. Her father was executed by the Japanese Kempeitai together with all the Chinese staff at the Chinese embassy in Manila.

The Kempeitai was the military police force under the Japanese War Ministry between 1881 and 1945. It had jurisdiction over all the territories occupied by Japan.

Tens of millions of Chinese went through similar and even more unbearable sufferings, Liu said.

China and Britain were allies and also victims in World War II, Liu said, adding that the two countries should work with the international community to safeguard postwar political order.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of victory in the war against fascism.

"In celebrating the victory, we aim to avoid the repeat of war," Liu said.

"We hope that the international community will join efforts to nip in the bud modern Japanese militarism. If we can achieve this, we will make a positive contribution to maintaining lasting peace and stability across the world."

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