Japan will open an Asian history archive inside the National Archives in April 2001, as proposed in 1995 by the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.
The archive will include documents on the war Japan fought from 1926 to 1945 and records of its colonial rule in Asia that are now scattered in the government ministries and agencies, officials said.
The materials will be collected and put into a computer database for use by historians via the Internet, the officials said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki recently said the government approved establishment of the archive, called the Center for Materials on Asian History.
“I hope the archive will promote mutual understanding with neighboring countries by objectively looking into historical facts,” Aoki claimed.
The archive was proposed in August 1995 as one of the events marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, but was shelved eight months later due to difficulties in ironing out differences of opinion within the government ministries.
The project was revived this summer after the Prime Minister’s Office requested an allocation of funds.
The archive was originally planned to include documents on the Imperial Japanese Army’s activities in East and Southeast Asia and Oceania in the first half of the 20th century as well as correspondence relating to Japanese foreign affairs.
But the plan was abridged after members of the Liberal Democratic Party expressed opposition, saying the documents put too much emphasis on Japan’s aggression in the area. This forced a narrowing of the scope of the center’s objective and materials.

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