Bill would aid Taiwan, Korea war criminals

Kyodo News

The Democratic Party of Japan submitted a bill Thursday aimed at providing ¥3 million in special benefits to each Korean and Taiwanese convicted of Class B or C war crimes at the Tokyo tribunal.

The main opposition party submitted the bill to the House of Representatives, but it is not clear if the measure will be put to a vote in the current regular Diet session, which ends June 15, or if the ruling bloc will even support it.

The DPJ will call on other parties for support and is ready to revise the bill if required, party members said.

DPJ Lower House member Kenta Izumi, who proposed the bill, told reporters it would cover 148 people from the Korean Peninsula and 173 from Taiwan. Both the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan were under Japan’s colonial rule until its surrender in World War II in 1945.

The bill would allow relatives to apply for the special benefit if a convicted war criminal has died.

In 2006, South Korea recognized Korean war criminals as victims of war, paving the way for them and their relatives to appear in public. But many of the war criminals are accused of collaborating with Japan.

At the tribunal, more than 5,000 people, mainly Japanese nationals, were accused of war crimes in three categories — crimes against peace (Class A), ordinary war crimes (Class B) and crimes against humanity (Class C). Many Koreans and Taiwanese, who served in the Japanese forces, were punished as Class B or C criminals.