• Pauline Kok


2015 could potentially be an interesting year for World War II survivors, which ended exactly 70 years ago – almost a generation ago.

There is no simple way to provide accurate representation of what occurred during that war. Purposeful destruction of the majority of Japanese Imperial army archives made that inevitable, yet there remains enough documentation to proof inhuman treatment at the hands of Japanese soldiers during that time in history.

Despite innumerable cries for recognition from Japan to take responsibility for what occurred during those years; it took the writings and signatures of nearly 200 prominent lecturers and professors for Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe to finally take actions. With a spirit of courage and determination those letters encouraged Abe to promote the importance of human rights and safety; and finally confront the grief and sorrow caused by Japan.

Abe’s resolution would be an historic movement towards equality of women and men in Japan, East Asia and the world. The current generation could be able to live with the past Japan left behind and at the same time help them build a world free of sexual violence and human trade.

This year – seventy years later – the Japanese government has a chance to show leadership by addressing the history of the colonial oppression and aggression during this period of war. Not just with fancy speeches, but with action.

Would this finally make a difference?

Would this make healing possible?

Would we be able to forgive and forget?

I truly don’t know; but It would certainly be a start.



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