Staff writer A bilingual book published recently by relatives of Japanese who died in World War II aims to share their peace quest with others who lost people in conflict.Shigenori Nishikawa of the National Liaison Conference of the Association of War Dead for Peace (Heiwa Izoku-kai Zenkoku Renraku-kai) said: “Our group decided to run the English text, hoping that people abroad will know there is a group studying the history of Japan’s wartime aggression, especially against other Asian people.” Drawing a distinction from Nihon Izoku-kai (Japan Association for the Bereaved Families of the War Dead), Nishikawa said, “Although we are a minority, I hope people abroad will know that a group like ours exists. “I hope the book will serve as a bridge between us and people abroad whose loved ones were killed in war.” The first copies of “Nihon no Shimin Kara Sekai no Hitobito e — Senso Izoku no Shogen” (“Our Message: From Japanese Citizens to the People of the World — Testimonies of the War Bereaved”) went to participants in the International Citizens’ Forum to Consider War Crimes and Postwar Compensation, held in Tokyo on Dec. 20. The 1,500 yen book, published by Nashinoki-sha Co. in Kanda Jinbo-cho, Tokyo, is a compilation of articles written by 10 Japanese, two Koreans and one Chinese student studying at the University of Tokyo. Most of the Japanese wrote not only about the deaths of their kin but also about coming to terms with the difficult-to-face reality that their loved ones served on the side of the aggressor. The chapter “We should not point guns at other Asians again” summarizes the theme. One of the Koreans, Kim Hesuku, whose husband was drafted by the Imperial Japanese Army in March 1945 and never came back, writes that to this day she has not received an official death notice. The other Korean, Kim Kyong Sok, worked as a forced laborer at a steel mill in Kawasaki during the war. His elder brother died in a Hokkaido coal mine. The Chinese student, Ban Tsuong, writes about the September 1932 massacre of up to 3,000 villagers by Imperial army soldiers in Ping Ding Shan in northeast China, 1 km from his home. Nishikawa said his group wants Japan to uphold the Constitution and renounce war while striving for the preservation of peace. “But Japan has recently chosen a path that might lead to the use of force, as shown by the adoption of the new defense guidelines under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” Nishikawa said. “We are saying ‘No!’ to this trend.”Yumiko Hata, chief editor of Nashinoki-sha, said, “In the past, Japanese civic groups were not active in sending their messages to people overseas. The time has come for them to work together with civic groups abroad.”

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