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Japanese War Atrocities

May 02, 1999

Rabbi Abraham Cooper's commentary ("Tokyo Must Address the Actions of Its Wartime 'Killing Machine,' " April 26) is right on target. But it fails to mention the Japanese army's revenge killings following the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders' air attack of April 1942.

All but one of Col. Jimmy Doolittle's 16-plane force were abandoned in the air or crash-landed along the coast of China. Crewmen who survived their parachute jumps or crashes were protected and returned to safe areas through these Japanese-controlled zones by the Free Chinese underground forces. The grateful airmen gave their rescuers souvenirs such as U.S. coins, uniform buttons and patches. These mementos, when discovered by Japanese units enraged by the raid on their home islands and searching for the downed air crews, proved to be death warrants for the populations of whole villages. It has been estimated that over a quarter-million Chinese were executed for their alleged assistance to the Doolittle air crews.

ROBERT J. BRUN, Lt. Col., USAF (ret.), Redlands

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Please be assured that the government and the people of Japan are very saddened by the painful experiences suffered by many victims of war. The government of Japan fully recognizes the fact that its actions during the period in question caused much suffering to the citizens of many countries. This has been clearly stated on various occasions, such as in the statement made in 1995 by Tomiichi Murayama, who was then Japan's prime minister.

The government of Japan also has clearly stated that it will continue to do its utmost in its efforts toward world peace and prosperity, bearing in mind it should deeply reflect on its past conduct and express its feelings of deep remorse. We teach our younger generation, through our textbooks, about the tremendous damage and suffering inflicted on neighboring countries before and during the war.

AKIO EGAWA, Deputy Consul General of Japan, Los Angeles

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