Friday, June 22, 2007

Japan's ruling party disputes 'Rape of Nanking' death toll

from the International Herald Tribune:

A group of about 100 lawmakers from Japan's ruling party claimed Tuesday that after a monthslong review they have determined the number of people killed by Japanese troops during the infamous "Rape of Nanking" has been grossly inflated.

Nariaki Nakayama, head of the group created to study World War II historical issues and education, said documents from the Japanese government's archives indicated some 20,000 people were killed — about one-tenth of the more commonly cited figure of from 150,000-200,000 — in the 1937 attack. China says as many as 300,000 people were killed.

"We conclude that the death toll in the Nanking advance was nothing more or less than the death toll that would be expected in a normal battle," Nakayama told a news conference.


Toru Toida, another member of the group, demanded that photos portraying the Japanese military in a negative light be removed from Chinese war memorials.

"We are absolutely positive that there was no massacre in Nanking," Toida said.


Nanjing suffered a rampage of murder, rape and looting by Japanese troops in 1937 that became known as "The Rape of Nanking," using the name by which the city was known in the West at that time.

Historians generally agree the Japanese army slaughtered at least 150,000 civilians and raped tens of thousands of women.

Nakayama's group is right of center within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, but many Japanese conservatives are disgruntled over what they claim are exaggerated stories of Japanese brutality during World War II.

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