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world war ii

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Japan payment of less than $1 to Korean WWII victims for forced labor draws outrage

  • A civic group in South Korea has denounced the less- than- one- dollar pension payment from the Japanese government to victims of forced labor during its occupation of the peninsula.
  • The Japanese Forced Mobilization Civic Group called the payment “a malicious ridicule and an insult” at a press conference on Thursday.
  • A 92-year-old forced labor victim by the name of Chung Sin-young also spoke at the conference, calling Japan’s behavior “absurd.”
  • While presenting the deposit information in her passbook, Chung said, “They gave me 931 won, which cannot even cover the cost of children’s snacks. They forced children into labor without providing proper meals, and they still have not apologized.”
  • She continued, “There isn’t much time left for us grandmothers. We urge you to hurry and apologize.”

The Japanese government has doled out a pension payment to victims of forced labor during the country’s occupation of Korea, but at less than $1 per individual, the move has only prompted further outrage from those affected.  

The Japanese Forced Mobilization Civic Group denounced the pension payment on Thursday, claiming a number of victims of forced labor received only 931 won (approximately $0.74). The civic group said the payment was “a malicious ridicule and an insult” and urged the Japanese government to “apologize for the 931 won payment and disclose all unpaid wages and pension records of victims of forced labor.”

Families of 11 Filipino WWII vets receive Congressional Gold Medal after 76-year wait for recognition

  • The names of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were read and recognized at a ceremony held at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday.
  • Family members of the veterans received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s highest honors. The medal is said to honor the sacrifice of more than 260,000 Filipino soldiers who fought for America from 1941 to 1946 when the Philippines was a U.S. colony.
  • The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project has conferred about 3,000 medals since 2017. They are also working with schools to share the stories of Filipino American war heroes.
  • Filipino advocates continue to fight for the benefits the veterans are entitled to, including compensation and citizenship.

The families of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were awarded with one of America’s highest honors to recognize the soldiers who fought for the nation more than 76 years ago.  

The names of 11 Filipino World War II veterans were read and recognized at a ceremony held at the Filipino Community Center in Honolulu on Monday. 

Tearful WWII vet says on his 100th birthday that current state of America is ‘not what they died for’

  • On his 100th birthday, World War II veteran Carl Dekel lamented the current state of America in an emotional interview with Fox13.
  • The Silver Star Medal awardee broke down in tears as he said that the fallen soldiers did not die in the war for what the country has now become.
  • “People don’t realize what they have,” Dekel said. “The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket.”
  • According to Dekel, he worries future generations won't have the same opportunities he had despite what he and his fellow soldiers fought for on the front lines.
  • A recent survey by Pew Research Center reveals that 78 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country due to its current economic and socio-political state.

A U.S. veteran who saw action in World War II lamented the current state of the country while celebrating his 100th birthday. 

Carl Spurlin Dekel, who spent his special day on June 29 with friends and family, broke down in tears as he told Fox13 in an interview shared the day after that his fellow soldiers did not die in the war for what America has now purportedly become.

40 Japanese Americans interned while students during WWII receive high school diplomas 80 years later

world war ii
  • Forty Japanese American students who were denied their chance to graduate during World War II finally received their diplomas from Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, California.
  • In 1942, Japanese American students in California were forced to drop out of school as they joined their families inside the Japanese concentration camps.
  • Students in the history and ethnic studies class in Mt. Diablo High School lobbied the district to award the belated diplomas to the interned students.
  • On May 24, the interned students joined Mt. Diablo High School's Class of 2022 as honorary members and were ceremoniously granted their diplomas.

After 80 long years, 40 Japanese Americans who were denied their chance to graduate high school during World War II finally got their diplomas.

In 1942, Japanese American students in California were forced to drop out of school as they joined their families inside the concentration camps set up for all people of Japanese descent.

96-year-old Japanese WWII POW warns Russia-Ukraine is history repeating itself

Akiyoshi Chikada, a 96-year-old Japanese man who was formerly interned in Ukraine during World War II, says that history is repeating itself with the Russia-Ukraine War.

Chikada was tricked into working at an internment camp in 1945 after Soviet troops promised he was returning to Japan while putting him on a freight train, according to The Mainichi.

Ukraine removes Emperor Hirohito from Hitler, Mussolini video after anger and protests from Japan

ukraine twitter changes
  • Amid protests from Japan, Ukraine has removed an image of former Japanese leader Emperor Hirohito from a video uploaded online that showed him next to fellow World War II Axis leaders Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
  • The video, posted on Twitter by the Ukrainian government on April 1, showed the three leaders above a caption that read, “Fascism and Nazism were defeated in 1945.”
  • This sparked severe backlash from Japan, including comments from Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki, who said, “Portraying Hitler, Mussolini and Emperor Showa [Hirohito] in the same context is completely inappropriate.”
  • Some Japanese netizens on social media called for Japan to stop supporting Ukraine, while others commented that Japanese wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo would have been a better choice for the video.
  • The Ukrainian government, following Japan’s protests of the image, removed the picture of Hirohito from the video and expressed their regret to Japan.
  • “Our sincere apologies to Japan for making this mistake,” the Ukrainian government said in a tweet on Sunday. “We had no intention to offend the friendly people of Japan.”
  • Japan has supported Ukraine in their ongoing conflict with Russia, donating $300 million as well as accepting hundreds of displaced Ukrainians since the Russian invasion began in late February.

Amid protests from Japan, Ukraine has removed an image of former Japanese leader Emperor Hirohito from a video it posted online showing him next to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

The video, uploaded to Twitter by the Ukrainian government on April 1, showed the three World War II Axis leaders above a caption that read, “Fascism and Nazism were defeated in 1945.” This sparked severe backlash from Japan, including comments from Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki, who said, “Portraying Hitler, Mussolini and Emperor Showa [Hirohito] in the same context is completely inappropriate.” He called the depiction “extremely regrettable.”

China, South Korea condemn honoring of war dead at WWII shrine by Japan PM and over 100 lawmakers

Yasukuni Shrine
  • Over 100 lawmakers paid their respects this week at the Yasukuni Shrine, honoring millions of war dead, while Prime Minister Kishida sent a ritual offering.
  • The shrine is seen by China and South Korea as a representation of Japan’s brutal occupation, and both countries were quick to condemn the offering from Kishida and the visit from lawmakers.
  • South Korea’s foreign ministry expressed “deep disappointment and regret” over the respect for the shrine, while a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Japan had an “incorrect attitude towards its own history of aggression.”
  • Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that visiting the shrine at this time is even more important because of the war in Ukraine.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent an offering on Thursday to Tokyo’s Shinto Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead, while a group of over 100 lawmakers visited the shrine on Friday.

The shrine is seen by China and South Korea as a symbol of Japan’s brutal history of occupation.

‘I will continue to be brave’: Surviving WWII Filipino ‘comfort women’ fight for recognition, apology

  • The remaining Filipino women who were forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan during World War II are planning to submit a petition to newly elected members of the Philippine government.
  • This petition will demand the Philippines’ next administration to “grant recognition to the [survivors’] official plight.”
  • These survivors, who are euphemistically called “comfort women,” were abducted and coerced into sexual slavery for the gratification of military personnel during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1945.
  • Members of Lila Pilipina (League of Philippine Lolas), an organization founded in 1994 by surviving comfort women and their supporters, are still fighting for a formal apology from Japan, as well as an official position from the Philippine government that condemns the Imperial Japanese Army’s actions.

The remaining Filipino survivors who were forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan during World War II are planning to submit a petition for justice to be served.

The survivors, who are euphemistically called “comfort women,” were abducted and coerced into sexual slavery for the gratification of military personnel during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1945.

USC awards honorary degrees, dedicates rock garden to incarcerated Japanese American students of WWII

USC FI
  • On April 1, the University of Southern California opened a traditional Japanese rock garden to honor 120 Japanese American students who were forced out of school and into internment camps during World War II.
  • In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, forcing over 100,000 Japanese Americans (around 70,00 of them American citizens) into “relocation centers.”
  • Over 80 years after being forced to leave their school, USC’s former Japanese American students were posthumously awarded honorary degrees.
  • Carolyn Classen, one of the garden ceremony’s attendees, came with a framed black and white photo of her late father, Francis Sueo Sugiyama, who was denied re-entry, access to his transcripts and the ability to transfer his credits to another university.
  • “His dreams were almost dashed because of what USC did to him. Our family… hated USC for decades,” she said.

The University of Southern California opened a traditional Japanese rock garden on April 1 to honor its Japanese American students who were forced out of school and into concentration camps during World War II. On the same day, 33 Japanese American former USC students were conferred honorary degrees.

The rock garden is located at the northeastern corner of the school’s campus and was designed by architect Calvin Abe, the son of Nisei generation parents who were incarcerated in Arizona, Arkansas and California concentration camps during World War II. He described it as a “place to relax and reconsider what happened in the past” and “an expression of perseverance and hope.”

Japan dismisses South Korea complaint over new textbooks that ‘distort’ historical, territorial facts

japan textbook
  • Japan has rejected South Korea’s protest against Japan’s approval of textbooks that allegedly “distort historical facts.”
  • South Korea’s foreign ministry wrote earlier in a statement that Japan had downplayed the wartime issue of forced labor and sexual slavery against Koreans during World War II.
  • Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno described the complaint as “unacceptable” during a press conference in Tokyo.

Japan has dismissed South Korea’s protest over the alleged distortion of historical and territorial facts in Japan’s new high school textbooks that were approved on Tuesday.

After the approval of the textbooks, South Korea filed a complaint against Japan for downplaying the forced labor and sexual slavery of Koreans during World War II.

South Korea says new history textbooks in Japan ‘distorts facts’ about World War II sex slavery

japan textbook story
  • After Japan approved new history textbooks, South Korea made a formal complaint that the books distorted “historical facts” about forced labor and sexual slavery imposed on Koreans during World War II.
  • The textbooks were approved by Japanese authorities on Tuesday and will be studied by second and third-year high school students beginning 2023.
  • The South Korea Foreign Ministry stated that the textbooks downplay the severity of forced labor and sexual slavery against Koreans during WWII.
  • South Korea is also criticizing the textbooks for claiming that Koreans are illegally occupying the Dokdo Islands.

South Korea filed a complaint against Japan on Tuesday for approving history textbooks that officials say “distort historical facts” about sexual slavery and forced labor imposed on Koreans during World War II.

The new history textbooks were approved on Tuesday by Japanese authorities to be studied by second and third-year high school students beginning in 2023.