A three-day conference on compensation for victims of Japanese World War II crimes opened Friday in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward amid calls for “forgiveness without forgetfulness,” but not all participants found it easy to forgive. During the opening session of the International Citizens’ Forum on War Crimes and Redress, held in the Tokyo Women’s Plaza, historians, attorneys, victims and survivors all stressed the importance of preserving accurate historical accounts of wartime atrocities. In his opening address, Lester Tenney, a former U.S. soldier who was forced to work for over three years in a Mitsui & Co. coal mine in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, after his capture by Japanese forces in 1942, said it took a long time, but he learned to forgive. “But for forgiveness to be meaningful, I need evidence, shown by our captors, of remorse,” said Tenney, a retired professor at Arizona State University, who is demanding that he receive pay for the work he did. “I would like them to say, ‘I am sorry. I apologize.'” But others said forgiveness sometimes just does not come. “The Chinese people will never forgive what the Japanese did,” said Rong Weimu, professor at the Modern History Research Center of the China Academy of Social Sciences. Workshops and panel discussions will be held today and Sunday at Shakai Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. Scheduled workshops include testimonies and discussions by victims, lawyers and supporters concerning the Nanking incident, sexual violence, forced labor and chemical warfare. For more information, call (03) 3237-0217, e-mail icftyo@aol.com, or visit http://members.aol.com/icftyo

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