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Abe should admit Japan's WWII atrocities in upcoming speech to U.S. Congress: expert

(Xinhua)    18:33, April 22, 2015

NEW YORK, April 21 -- A U.S. expert has voiced hope that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would acknowledge the atrocities committed by Japan in World War II when he addresses a joint session of S. Congress on April 29.

"I hope Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will remember and acknowledge that Japan, Imperial Japan, had started the war and was responsible for atrocities," said Jan Thompson, an expert on the subject matter and president of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) Memorial Society, which represents surviving U.S. prisoners of the Japanese.

Thompson told Xinhua that she hoped Abe, who is commonly regarded as a right-wing politician, would take the opportunity to address not only Americans, but other nationals such as Chinese, Filipinos and Koreans.

On March 18, Thompson, representing the organization, sent a letter of statement to the Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees, saying that they want Congress to invite Abe to speak only if they are assured that he will admit the fact that Japan's defeat freed the country from fascism and a criminal regime.

Thompson told Xinhua that although Japan is a different country now, the Japanese can't change or revise history.

"No matter how horrible or painful a country's history is -- we must learn from it and not run from it," she said.

During World War II, the number of American soldiers and civilians captured by Japan amounted to 26,000. Most of those were captured in the Philippines and abused to death in prison.

Thompson said her father was sent to the Philippines as a military doctor at the age of 21. He was captured in 1941 but narrowly escaped from three well-known Japanese "hell ships." Afterwards, he ended up at Mukden Prison Camp in Manchuria.

Thompson said her father never talked about his experience as a prisoner of war, but she knows that the nightmare of war would always remain ingrained in his memory.

April 29 was Japanese Emperor Hirohito's birthday, a date when prisoners of war in the prison camps had to bow even further lower to "honor the Emperor." The date when previous Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo was indicted as a war criminal coincides with Hirohito's birthday.

"It will be interesting to see if and how these might be mentioned," Thompson said.

"I truly hope that Abe will not give us a vague comment about World War II," she said. "Those who were responsible are dead, but denying the truth only gives them 'life' to distort and continue the hurt and anger."

She emphasized that it could be a historic moment for Abe, as well as his country, to acknowledge Japan's role in World War II. Such a statement might finally begin the healing process for all nations that suffered from the atrocities committed by Japan.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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