Schol­ars call for mu­seum ded­i­cated to Tokyo Tri­als

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A com­mem­o­ra­tive mu­seum ded­i­cated to the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East, known as the Tokyo Tri­als, was sug­gested by schol­ars at a two-day fo­rum in Shang­hai on Satur­day tomark the 70th an­niver­sary of the open­ing of the tri­als.

The tri­als were con­vened on April 29, 1946, to try the lead­ers of the Em­pire of Ja­pan for war crimes.

“The Tokyo Tri­als de­fended civ­i­liza­tion,” said Gao Wen­bing, the only re­main­ing sur­vivor who par­tic­i­pated as a trans­la­tor and as­sis­tant prose­cu­tor.

“I am 95 years old this year, but his­tory should not be for­got­ten and facts should not be dis­torted. I hope I can see a com­mem­o­ra­tive mu­seum in my life­time.”

After World War II, the Al­lied Forces tried Ja­panese war crim­i­nals, with the pro­ceed­ings play­ing an im­por­tant role in shap­ing the post­war Asia-Pa­cific or­der. The tri­als were said to be the long­est and largest in hu­man his­tory.

A score of his­to­ri­ans and ju­rists from around the world gath­ered on Satur­day for a fo­rum on the Tokyo Tri­als and world peace, hosted by Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity. There were six panel dis­cus­sions, with 25 schol­ars from coun­tries in­clud­ing China, the United States, Ja­pan, Bri­tain and New Zealand in at­ten­dance. Also at­tend­ing was Mei Xiaokan, daugh­ter of Mei Ru’ao, a Chi­nese judge who par­tic­i­pated in the Tokyo Tri­als.

Xiang Long­wan, hon­orary di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Jiao­Tong Univer­sity’s Tokyo Tri­als re­search cen­ter, was quoted by chi­nanews.com as say­ing that a com­mem­o­ra­tive mu­seum is in the prepa­ra­tion stage.

End­ing on Nov 12, 1948, the tri­als charged 28 de­fen­dants, mostly Ja­panese mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, based on tes­ti­mony from hun­dreds of wit­nesses and thou­sands of ex­hibits.

“The pro­ceed­ings laid a foun­da­tion for rules that can be ap­plied, es­pe­cially for small coun­tries, to crimes against peace. I am­not naive enough to be­lieve that it will stop peo­ple from start­ing wars, but at least it might make them think twice,” said Neil Bois­ter, a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury Law School.

Zhang Jie, pres­i­dent of Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity, said re­gional con­flicts and tense sit­u­a­tions re­mind us that peace re­mains a com­mon pur­suit.

In2011, the univer­sity es­tab­lished the Cen­ter for Tokyo Trial Stud­ies in collaboration with China Na­tional Li­brary. It is the world’s first aca­demic re­search in­sti­tu­tion de­voted to the study of the Tokyo Tri­als.

I am 95 years old this year, but his­tory should not be for­got­ten and facts should not be dis­torted.” Gao Wen­bing, the only re­main­ing Chi­nese sur­vivor who par­tic­i­pated as a trans­la­tor and as­sis­tant prose­cu­tor in the Tokyo Tri­als

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