Protected by a dozen security guards and a metal detector, a controversial advisory panel to the Tokyo governor ended its final session Tuesday on a planned memorial hall for victims of U.S. air raids during World War II.
About 200 citizens had gathered at the No. 2 building of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s head office in Shinjuku for the final session, with some shouting upon its close, “We oppose (plans for) the peace hall!”
The planned war museum has met with opposition from some politicians and scholars who argue that the draft for its permanent exhibits is based on a “masochistic view of history.”
Apparently fearing attacks by some rightwing extremists, the metropolitan government stationed a dozen security guards at the hall where the meeting was held and several more on the floors of the offices of the governor and vice governors.
The 20-member panel had virtually ended discussion in the previous session in May, and Tuesday’s session was devoted to checking a summary memo prepared by the chairman to draw up a final report.
The panel members have given up attempting to detail the contents of the permanent exhibits, leaving untouched a number of matters they cannot agree on. The panel compiled two different draft proposals for the hall, both of which offer only general outlines of the permanent exhibits and the recommended space for each section.
A majority of the 20 panel members supported Draft A, which gives more exhibition space to items dealing with the U.S. air raids over the capital. Some, however, preferred Draft B, stating that Japan’s victimization of other Asian countries should also be detailed.
Under Draft B, the exhibition would include an image theater to “introduce incidents in which Japan forced (other) Asian countries to make a sacrifice.”
Panel members who drew up Draft A, however, argued that the more general wording of Draft A includes exhibits that cast Japan in the role of persecutor.
The final report, to be submitted to Tokyo Gov. Yukio Aoshima next month, is expected to include the two draft proposals but not a conclusion.
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