At least 200 Chinese-Americans gathered outside the Consulate General of Japan located in New York yesterday to protest the claim of Japan to the Senkaku Islands ahead of a U.S. visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The protesters came from some 60 local community groups and denounced what they referred to as a resurgence of Japanese militarism under Abe. They also called on the Japanese government to apologize for atrocities committed during World War II.
They held signs with slogans such as “Diaoyu Islands (as the Senkakus are called in China) belong to China,” “No American blood for resurgence of Japanese militarism,” and “Abe is a history denier, a dishonest man.” 73-year old protester R.S. Wang said, “We are here because Japan tried to occupy our island. It’s our island, but Japan is trying to use the Americans’ help to get it. I want the American government to stay neutral and let the two countries resolve the problem.” According to the group, they were there to deliver a letter outlining their sentiments to the Japanese ambassador in New York, asking that it be forwarded to Abe.
New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine was present as one of the speakers in the rally. He just introduced a resolution commending the creation of a New York memorial to Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese imperial military during the Second World War. He said that history should never be forgotten and that it is “critically important for us today to recognize the past’s tragic mistakes to make sure they do not again occur.” While the group lashes out upon the country and its government, in a refreshing twist, they clarify that the protests are not aimed at the Japanese people, who they believe are as peace-loving as the Chinese are.[via Kyodo]