Australians’ vital contribution

Winona, Missouri

Regarding my Dec. 29 letter, “Japanese aren’t the only whalers“: I made a factual error. British Commonwealth nations were indeed a vital part of the postwar allied Occupation forces in Japan. The British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) operated in Japan from Feb. 21, 1946, until 1952. There were about 40,000 BCOF personnel who served in Japan during the Occupation period, representing about 25 percent of the total Occupation force.

And with egg all over my face, I learned that Australia contributed the majority of BCOF officers and enlisted men who carried out various duties, including the destruction of stockpiled weapons in postwar Japan. Moreover, the commanding officer of the BCOF was always an Australian general.

The ultimate authority for Occupation policy was American Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and I’m sure the BCOF did a lot of grumbling about MacArthur’s shogun-like status. My apologies to Australians for suggesting that MacArthur never wanted any Commonwealth nations to take part in his Occupation plans.

My point was that Australians should remember that Japan is NOT the only nation that still slaughters whales on an annual basis. For much of the 20th century, Australia had an aggressive whaling industry that pushed some whale species to the brink of extinction.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

robert mckinney