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       Tuesday, February 14, 2006

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by Lonnie Hodge

Several years ago I remember the rarest of events and the most pathetic of outcomes in victim redress attempts against Japan: A Korean woman, who had been forced to work wothout compensation in a wartime factory, won a rare claim for wages in a Japanese district court. Japan, unlike Germany, has consistently refused to recognize, and even seems to celebrate via visits to war shrines, the genocides, sex crimes, and other atrocities that sixty years later generate violent protests throughout the Pacific Rim.

It was a moral victory because she was given the money a factory worker WOULD have been paid during that period. There was no accouting for inflation and the woman pocketed less than the price of a cup of coffee.

On March 29th of this year the Fukuoka District Court will be asked to issue a ruling in the compensation case of aging Chinese workers who also were subjected to slave labor and other cruelties during WWII.

What is astonishing is not Japan's incurable amnesia and lack of compassion but, the statements made by Mitsubishi (the folks who made the "Zero") lawyers in closing arguments. They asked the court to question the fact that Japan ever invaded China. They told the judges that to award any monies in this case would cause a "mistaken burden of the soul" for Japan for hundreds of years.

I remember my father, a decorated soldier in WWII, refusing to buy anything Japanese for many years. His decision was understandable based on his experiences during wartime. My decision to behave as he did, though for different reasons, will be identical should the court vote to ignore or alter the history indelibly etched on the faces of so many surviving Asian vicitims.

Lonnie Hodge blogs at: ONEMANBANDWIDTH

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posted by Lonnie at 8:34 AM  


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