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Japan needs to apologize to clear doubt on war history: German
www.chinaview.cn 2005-05-31 23:41:57

    By Yuan Bingzhong     

    BERLIN, May 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Japan needs to apologize to clear doubt over its role in the Second World War in view of the historical facts, a German expert said on Tuesday, referring to recent remarks by a Japanese official on Japan's Class-A war criminals.

    After the Second World War, war criminals no longer enjoy immunity under international law, Professor Rudolf Dolzer, Director of the Institute for International Law of the University of Bonn, told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

    "In our time, individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity are no longer shielded by the sovereignty of their state," he said.

    Last week, Masahiro Morioka, Japan's parliamentary secretary for health, labor and welfare, claimed that Class-A war criminals convicted for crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East following World War II are not criminals because the tribunal was "one-sided."

    "The Tribunal was comprised of renowned lawyers from eleven countries, the trial procedure was lawful and the Tribunal had thetask to render a fair decision," Dolzer said.

    The Tribunal had very high ranking and order and its ruling "is considered a milestone in international law, together with thatof the Nuremberg Tribunal," he added.

    In a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) House of Representatives members on May 26, Morioka called the Tokyo war crimes tribunal "a unilateral tribunal."

    "There are no grounds to say winners are right and losers are wrong. There is no need to apologize," the Japanese official said.

    However, Dolzer, who served as director general of Germany's chancellor office in 1992-1996, noted that it is not surprising Japan should be reminded of the war crimes the Japanese militarists committed during the war.

    "I think it is necessary for Japan to make such an apology as to clear all doubt and questions so that it will enjoy permanent good neighborly relations with Asian countries, " Dolzer said, stressing that Morioka's remarks may raise doubt over the positionof Japan toward the war crimes Japanese militarist committed during the war.

    "The central point of modern international law is to place peace among nations on a higher rank than aspirations of national sovereignty or obedience to national orders," the professor said.

    After World War II ended, 25 Japanese war criminals were sentenced by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East,with seven of them put to death, while about 24 German Nazi leaders were also sentenced in Germany by another military tribunal in Germany.

    In sharp contrast with Japan, Germany has gained internationalrespect and enjoys good neighborly relations with neighboring countries in Europe by fully recognizing Nazi crimes and offering a heartfelt apology.

    "Germany has paid war reparation, we have accepted our guilt," Dolzer said, adding that Germany has never asked for general amnesty for those war criminals.

    So the professor said he believes that it's necessary for Japan to give an apology to clear all doubts, setting up basis forgood neighborly relations. "Otherwise, the problems of the past might not be totally overcome."

    The remarks by Morioka have aroused strong criticism both in Japan and from among the Asian countries which were victims of Japan's wartime aggression and atrocities.

    China last week expressed its indignation and strong condemnation at Morioka's remarks. In Japan, the opposition Democratic Party demanded Morioka's resignation. Enditem

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