世界記憶遺産 容認できない南京事件の登録

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Unacceptable for UNESCO to add Nanjing Incident to memory list
世界記憶遺産 容認できない南京事件の登録

Could the latest UNESCO registration be misunderstood as a stamp of approval given by an international organization to China’s one-sided claim concerning historical perception? This is a serious situation.

“Documents of Nanjing Massacre,” which China recommended to UNESCO, were added to its Memory of the World list.

After the selection by UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee, the U.N. organization’s director general, Irina Bokova, made the final decision. Another item recommended by China — materials related to so-called comfort women — was not registered in the list.

The Memory of the World list was originally meant to preserve or utilize historically important documents and other materials.

We cannot accept China’s stance of using a system for protecting cultural assets for political purposes in a campaign against Japan and trying to fix its self-righteous historical perception in the international community.

“Documents of Nanjing Massacre” include written rulings on Japanese war criminals at the Nanjing Incident tribunal after the end of World War II. The written rulings put the number of victims in the incident at “more than 300,000.”

However, in Japan, the dominant view is that, based on demographic statistics for Nanjing at that time and other factors, a death toll of “more than 300,000” is far removed from reality. In a report released by a joint research team of Japanese and Chinese historians, Japanese scholars pointed out that “there are varying estimates on the number of victims in the incident, ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 to up to 200,000.”

Concerning the registration on the list, the Japanese Foreign Ministry questioned the “integrity and authenticity” of the documents and said their registration was problematic for “an international body that should be neutral and fair.” The ministry’s stance is quite natural.

Selection process opaque

This time, other items recommended by Japan, such as “Return to Maizuru Port” records including diaries and letters of Japanese detainees in Siberia, were added to the list. They reflect historical facts, and there were no objections to the registration from Russia.

This contrasts with the “Nanjing” case in which Japan repeatedly conveyed its concern about the registration to the UNESCO secretariat.

UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee comprises 14 experts — mainly researchers of library science and those involved in archives. The selection process, which is not open to the public, is too opaque.

Japan’s annual financial contribution to UNESCO is ¥3.7 billion, about 10 percent of its yearly budget, and Japan substantially supports the activities of the world body. It is indispensable to urge UNESCO to improve the registration system for the Memory of the World list.

There is a possibility that China could again recommend materials related to “comfort women.” South Korea also is preparing for a registration of testimonies by comfort women in two years.

When Japan’s Meiji era (1868-1912) industrial revolution sites were added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in July this year, South Korea opposed the registration, claiming that Korean workers were requisitioned during the war. After negotiations with South Korea over the issue, Japan finally was able to realize registration. However, Japan was swayed by Seoul’s political maneuvering.

Japan needs to quickly reconsider its strategy for UNESCO.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2015)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク


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