Friday, November 18, 2005

Latest on Fujimori...

Koizumi to snub Toledo at APEC

Staff writer

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi revealed Thursday he has turned down an offer to meet with Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit, which starts Friday in Pusan, South Korea.
"I don't think we have time," Koizumi said at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo, without elaborating.

This remark confirmed earlier media reports that Japan had rejected Peru's request for a summit in Pusan.

Japan-Peru ties have been strained since the abrupt departure to Chile last week of fugitive former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who had been living in de facto exile in Japan since October 2000, when he faxed his resignation from the presidency from a Tokyo hotel. He was given Japanese citizenship and a Japanese passport after his arrival.

Fujimori had planned to run in next year's presidential election, and his trip to Chile, where he was promptly arrested, was seen as the first step toward a political comeback.

Peru has requested that Chile extradite Fujimori, who faces 21 charges, ranging from sanctioning death squads to embezzlement.

Lima has protested Japan's handling of the case, effectively recalling Peruvian Ambassador in Tokyo Luis Macciavello.

Despite his apparently tight schedule in Pusan, Koizumi does have time to meet with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos during the APEC meeting.

The Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that Koizumi and Lagos will meet Friday to discuss such issues as those related to talks on a free-trade agreement and reform of the United Nations.

The Japan Times: Nov. 18, 2005
(C) All rights reserved

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Who's Tom Kawakita?

Friends of Historical Accuracy regarding the ethnic Japanese Evacuation of 1942

In case you're wondering who Tom Kawakita was, here's an historical summary:

Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717 (1952)

Tomoya (Tom) Kawakita was born in the United States in 1921. His parents were Japanese nationals. Therefore, Mr. Kawakita had dual nationality with both the United States and Japan. On March of 1941, Mr. Kawakita decided to attend the University of Meiji in Japan. Although war broke out between the United States and Japan in December, 1941, Kawakita remained at school. After graduation, Kawakita sought employment as an interpreter. He never attempted to join the military of either country. Kawakita worked for a private company engaged in mining and processing of minerals for munitions. He worked on the island of Honshu, on which, there was also a Japanese prisoner of war camp supervised and managed by Japanese military personnel.

In early 1945, approximately 400 American prisoners-of-war were housed at the camp on Honshu. These men had been in captivity under terrible circumstances for almost two and half years, and due to malnutrition, inadequate health care, confinement and hard work, the American prisoners were suffering and in bad condition. Kawakita aided the Japanese military in numerous ways, both requested and not requested by the military personnel, and in the course and scope of giving aid to the Japanese, Kawakita abused the American prisoners. The American prisoners were used as workers for the mine until August, 1945, when the camp was surrendered to the American military forces. Kawakita then assisted the American military forces with interpreting services. In June, 1946, Kawakita sought re-entry to the United States and took the oath of allegiance to America.

Once back in America, Kawakita started graduate studies at USC. While in a store in Los Angeles, Kawakita was recognized by Willliam Bruce, a former POW. Bruce reported Kawakita to the authorities. The FBI arrested Kawakita in June of 1947, and before the end of the month, he was indicted for 15 acts of treason. Kawakita entered a plea of "not guilty" on the grounds that he had renounced and/or abandoned his United States citizenship and was expatriated at the time of providing assistance to the Japanese military on Honshu.

The District Court jury found Kawakita guilty of eight overt acts of treason as follows:

1. Kawakita knocked an American prisoner of war into the camp cesspool and beat the POW repeatedly on the head as he tried to crawl out of the cesspool.

2. Although Kawakita had no authority and no military duties, he swore at the prisoners, beat them, threaten them, and punished them for either resting, or not working faster and harder at the mine, and for not filling their quota of ore.

3. Kawakita and Japanese guards lined up about 30 POWs, and as punishment for making clothing out of Red Cross blankets, beat the POWs or forced them to beat each other. Kawakita hit prisoners who, he thought, did not hit other prisoners hard enough.

4. Kawakita threw stones and dirt and prisoners forced to run around the camp because they finished work early.

5. Kawakita forced a prisoner to carry a log up an icy slope. When the prisoner fell and became badly injured, Kawakita did not seek assistance for the prisoner for over five hours.

6. Kawakita forced a prisoner to kneel on bamboo sticks jammed into the joints of the prisoner’s knees. The prisoner was forced to keep his arms above his head holding a bucket of water. When the prisoner tired and bent his elbows, Kawakita would hit him. Kawakita engaged in this torture of American POWs for no other reason other than he was bored on Honshu island.

7. Kawakita repeatedly taunted the American POWs with statements such as: "We will kill all you prisoners right here anyway, whether you win the war or lose it. You will never get to go back to the States." And " I will be glad when all the Americans is dead, and then I can go home and live happy."

The jury found that all of these overt acts of cruelty actually gave aid and comfort to the enemy. Kawakita was convicted of treason and sentenced to death.

On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Kawakita argued that (1) he had lost his US citizenship by registering in Japan as a Japanese national, and (2) that a person who has dual nationality can only be guilty of treason to the country where he resides, not to the other country that claims him as a national. The Supreme Court rejected both of these arguments holding that (1) Kawakita was a national of the United States upon his birth and that he had never renounced it, and (2) a person who holds dual nationality will be subject to the claims of both nations. The Court wrote, "One who wants that freedom can get it by renouncing his American citizenship. He cannot turn it into a fair-weather citizenship, retaining it for the possible contingent benefits but meanwhile playing the part of the traitor."

The United States Supreme Court confirmed the District Court conviction of treason against Kawakita, and stated that it would not interfere regarding the imposition of a death sentence. In refusing to reverse both lower courts, the Justices wrote, the "flagrant and persistent acts of petitioner" against the POWs was such that a trial judge had great leeway in reaching the decision of death.

On the last day of President Eisenhower’s administration, he commuted Kawakita’s death sentence. Kawakita was then released from prison, stripped of his US citizenship, and roughly deported to Japan.

Fujimori becomes a Japanese or a Peruvian as the situation suits him...

Having followed the Alberto Fujmori saga from the time he became president of Peru, I cannot help but draw parallels to ethnic Japanese on the West Coast prior to WW2.

Of course the Japanese-American reparations movement constantly reminds the American people (at taxpayer expense) that ethnic Japanese colonies in Hawaii and on the West Coast were as red blooded American as any that had arrived in North America prior to the American Revolution. The history is more complex than that.

As you may know, Fujimori is a nisei from Peru who became that country's first ethnic Japanese president (any country's for that matter)and then fled to Japan after accusations of corruption and murder were charged against him. Fujimori received Japanese citizenship because his parents were issei in Peru.

Over 60 years after the end of Word War 2, it is hard to believe ethnic Japanese are still playing the dual citizenship card when it suits them.

If the controversy is arising in 2005, you can imagine what circumstances must have been like for America's political and military leaders immediately after Pear Harbor.

A Peruvian government official made the following statement in today's Daily Asahi, "Fujimori becomes a Japanese or a Peruvian as the situation suits him."

Here's how the United States Supreme Court dealt with another ethnic Japanese born in America, Tom Kawakita, who used the dual citizenship ploy in an attempt to escape justice for war crimes....

"One who wants that freedom can get it by renouncing his American citizenship. He cannot turn it into a fair-weather citizenship, retaining it for the possible contingent benefits but meanwhile playing the part of the traitor."

Here's the Asahi article:

Peru pulls Japan envoy in protest

The Asahi Shimbun

Accusing Tokyo of interfering in its attempts to extradite former President Alberto Fujimori from Chile, Peru on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Japan.

The move followed a meeting Wednesday in Santiago, Chile, between Japanese Embassy officials based there and Fujimori.

Fujimori, who also holds Japanese citizenship, has been in police custody since his unexpected arrival from Japan on Sunday.

In a statement, Peru's Foreign Ministry said officials had spoken to Japanese Ambassador Hitohiro Ishida and confirmed that embassy officials in Chile had met with Fujimori. In light of this, the statement said the government had decided to end the mission in Japan of Ambassador Luis Macchiavello.

Officials at the Japanese Embassy in Lima said, however, that Ishida had spoken with Peruvian Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday prior to the meeting between embassy officials and Fujimori.

Foreign Ministry officials in Tokyo were clearly eager to head off a diplomatic confrontation and charges of interference. They said the embassy officials met with Fujimori purely to check on his health and into the conditions of his detention.

"It will not be to our advantage to have others think that we are trying to protect Fujimori," said one Foreign Ministry official.

High-ranking ministry officials explained that they were treating Fujimori like any other Japanese national detained overseas.

Ministry officials admitted there was little they could do because actively working on Fujimori's behalf could be construed as interfering in the domestic politics of Peru.

Fujimori had lived in self-exile in Japan after fleeing Peru in 2000 when a huge graft scandal caused his government to collapse.

Officials in both Peru and Chile have already called on Japan not to interfere in the matter.

Prior to Fujimori's departure from Japan, Lima had twice asked Japan to extradite him to face charges of corruption and of authorizing death squads during his 1990-2000 rule.

Japan did not comply with those requests on grounds that no extradition treaty exists between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso tried to downplay any connection between the meeting by embassy officials in Chile and the recall of Peru's ambassador to Japan.

Ministry officials explained that the meeting by embassy officials in Santiago was common practice for any Japanese national detained overseas.

However, because Fujimori had the support of influential politicians and celebrities in Japan, Foreign Ministry officials felt they had to demonstrate they were doing everything possible as he holds Japanese citizenship.

A Peruvian newspaper reported meantime that Fujimori used his Japanese passport to enter Mexico in a chartered jet on his way to Chile.

The newspaper La Republica reported that Mexican immigration officials in Tijuana recognized Fujimori but allowed him to come and go as he planned only a transit stop.

When Fujimori landed in Santiago, he showed his Peruvian passport, the newspaper said.

The Peruvian government has criticized Fujimori in the past for his use of his two passports.

In September, when Fujimori obtained a new Peruvian passport, a government official in Lima said, "Fujimori becomes a Japanese or a Peruvian as the situation suits him."(IHT/Asahi: November 12,2005)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Good read in today's Asahi Evening News

This is a pretty good read. This quote motivated me to share it with you.

"Precisely because history can be rewritten by governments and politically motivated individuals, each historian must strive for personal freedom and integrity to pursue historical reality."

-Akira Iriye, 71, a Harvard professor who is the first Japanese to have served as president of the American Historical Association

The piece was pleasant after having just read another reparations based diatribe here.

It gets old having to constantly correct what the reparations revisionists write and since they are funded by the American taxpayer they are relentless. Can't give up the fight, though because that's what they want.

Hopefully any person who would take the time to read this blog or visit Friends of Historical Accuracy has the knowledge to read Gary Okihiro's piece and pick out the historical untruths for themselves.

The column on Professor Iriye is here. Please give it a read.

The link may eventually die, so I'll paste it below.

I wonder if any more Bainbridge Islanders know the militarist textbooks discussed in the piece were also in use up and down the West Coast, many in English for the sake of the Nisei.

I wonder if Bainbridge Islanders know some ethic Japanese were coming out of the never discussed Japanese "Language" School on Bainbridge making comments such as "You'll be working for us someday!" to the white kids.

That's another chapter of forgotten history on Bainbridge Island. Well, deliberately forgotten for many, but never all of us...

We can rewrite history, but not erase the past

Sixty years ago, a fifth-grader in Tokyo wrote in his diary: "Today being the first day of Allied occupation, American planes are flying extremely low and leisurely. This is most vexing, but there is nothing I can do but concentrate on my studies."

Later, at the order of the occupation forces, schoolchildren would smear black ink on passages in their textbooks that were deemed militaristic. This represented a complete refutation of their perception of Japanese history, which until then had been grounded in their absolute faith in the emperor.

From this experience, the boy awakened to the fact that history can be rewritten according to the outcome of a war.

This boy grew up to become Akira Iriye, 71, a Harvard professor who is the first Japanese to have served as president of the American Historical Association.

In his just-published memoirs titled "Rekishi o Manabu to Iukoto" (Studying history) from Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, Iriye recalls that his starting point as a historian went back to that time when he saw his school textbook whose passages were blackened with a brush.

Not one to subscribe to the simplistic theory that history is written by the victors of wars, Iriye asserts, "Precisely because history can be rewritten by governments and politically motivated individuals, each historian must strive for personal freedom and integrity to pursue historical reality."

The uniqueness of Iriye's scholarship lies in the fact that, in shunning the myopic vision of those who focus only on one nation, he paints an overall picture of the international community by keeping an eye on economic and cultural trends that cross national borders. He believes firmly that "scholarship must be free from nationalism."

The British historian E.H. Carr wrote, "History is an unending dialogue between the past and the present." But surely, this does not mean history can be interpreted so as to suit contemporary views.

Passages in school textbooks can be blacked out with ink, but history can never be erased. What we need is a sensible discourse with our blacked-out past. An example has been set by Iriye, whose dedication to the study of history had its starting point in his boyhood as a fervent little nationalist.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 31(IHT/Asahi: November 1,2005)