The documentary, while irritating the ultra-rightwing forces, exposed many Japanese people to the truth of the war, and many start to reflect upon history. Nobuo Okimatsu, veteran at World War II and head of a civil group dedicated to promoting Sino-Japanese friendship, said that in Japan, the truth about Unit is a part of the history that has been touchy to many, but it is also something that the people shall know about.
Tamaki Matsuoka, a former primary teacher who has devoted 30 years of her life conveying the historic truth about the Nanjing Massacre to the Japanese people, said it was great for the documentary to make public the audio records about Unit and the Khabarovsk Trials. But she also pointed out that the documentary failed to ask the question why most of the officers and researchers responsible for the crimes of Unit went back to Japan untried and unblamed after the war, and even enjoyed academic fame afterwards.
Japan : a documentary history / edited by David J. Lu - Details - Trove
Instead of being tried for war crimes, the researchers involved in Unit were secretly given immunity by the United States in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Only those few that had been arrested by Soviet forces first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in Whitewashing the war crimes and highlighting its own sufferings to pretend to be the victim instead of the victimizer, does no good to Japan if it wants to rebuild relationship with its neighbors in Asia," she added.
While calling for the war crimes of Unit to be never forgotten, scholars in Japan are alarmed about the current situation that has some similarities to those before the end of the war, especially as the government is attempting to revise the pacifist Constitution, and is allocating more funds for military research programs in universities. During the World War II, Japanese military and universities had rather close bonds, with the military providing research funds for the universities, while universities supplied the military with the so-called "research talents.
For instance, according to NHK, Kyoto University sent 37 medical researchers to help the invading Japanese army in China in , and the yearly number rose to 75 in Other universities such as the University of Tokyo and Keio University were also sending an increasing number of researchers to the army. He added that the documentary sounded the alarm bell for the present, as Japan's Defense Ministry started a research funding program called National Security Technology Research Promotion in the fiscal , which assists and supports the research of technologies that could be used for military equipment.
Satoru Ikeuchi, professor emeritus at Nagoya University, said the researchers, once in the government funding program, have to report their research results to the Defense Ministry, and even after the sponsorship ends, follow-up surveys on the researcher could still be conducted, and researchers involved could hardly get rid of the influence of the Defense Ministry.
Cinema of Japan
Japanese academic circles have been stepping up their protests against this research funding program. Science Council of Japan SCJ , an organization set up in to represent Japan's scientists both domestically and internationally, issued a statement in March, reiterating the commitment not to conduct research for military purposes, and calling for scientists not to join that program. Takashi Okada, commentator from Japan's Kyodo News, said that stepping up support for military research was consistent with the Abe administration's previous policies including the attempts to revise pacifist Constitution, lifting the ban on collective self-defense rights, and allowing exports of military equipment by changing the "Three Principles on Arms Exports.
If this trend goes on unchecked, academic freedom and independence would be infringed upon and the past mistakes of scholars becoming accomplices of war crimes could be repeated in Japan, a number of Japanese scholars told Xinhua.
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