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UNESCO urged to take into account opposing views in heritage register

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UNESCO should take into account opposing views in its heritage registration process, a committee report said, after Japan criticized the U.N. body for listing Chinese documents relating to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre as a Memory of the World.

Japan has been urging the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to improve the transparency and fairness of the screening and registration process after discussions on the registration in 2015 of "Documents of Nanjing Massacre," submitted by China, were conducted behind closed doors by experts like other registrations.

UNESCO will make a final decision on the recommendations to change the process as early as this summer after hearing the opinions of member countries at the executive board meeting which started Wednesday.

UNESCO's International Advisory Committee proposed in the report published on the website that the subcommittee assessing the nominated documents will take into account "all the comments received in its assessment," including "objections."

Even if the new registration system is realized, it remains to be seen whether UNESCO will consider Japan's opposition to the filing of an application by a South Korean civic group and others to have documents related to so-called "comfort women" forced into wartime Japanese military brothels listed as the Memory of the World.

Tokyo will stress its stance on the matter that the "political use of UNESCO cannot be allowed," a Japanese government source said.

In the report, the IAC said the objective of the Memory of the World program is "to facilitate preservation of the world's past, present and future documentary heritage."

The report said the Memory of the World program "does not enter into disputes concerning the interpretation of historical events, nor does it take sides."

In the newly recommended registration process, the nomination will be "immediately" open for comment, the report said. The comments will be transmitted to the subcommittee assessing the nominations, it said.

Following the listing of the Nanjing Massacre documents, Japan withheld its obligatory dues of around 3.85 billion yen to UNESCO until last December in opposition to the listing.

Tokyo disputes the number of Chinese civilians and soldiers killed in the incident, citing historians' estimates ranging from tens of thousands to 200,000, while Beijing claims over 300,000 were killed.

While acknowledging it cannot be denied there were killings of noncombatants and looting in the "Nanjing Incident," Japanese officials argue UNESCO's registration could help China step up its campaign to highlight what it calls "the crimes of Japanese militarism."

© KYODO

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6 Comments
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So what are the 'opposing views'? 'It's regrettable but we were drunk and don't remember anything about it' or 'It's a Japanese thing and you wouldn't understand because you're a gaijin' or even, 'we were the victims not the aggressors' or possibly even 'we were not taught anything about it while at school, so it's all been fabricated to make us look bad'...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yep, while the brainwashing may be systematic and institutional in Japan, the rest of the world remembers well the atrocities that Japan, sadly, continues to deny. It's a shame for Japan that so many extreme right revisionists are in charge now, as they are gradually burning more and more bridges around the world and outing Japan as the extremist nation that it is.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The "opposing views" that it did not happen? I sure know Japan would not like the viewpoint that kamikaze pilots were morons and no better than ISIS and other suicide bombers, but don't let the hypocrisy stop you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

 atrocities that Japan, sadly,

Not being denied

So what are the 'opposing views'? 

its the numbers killed:

historians' estimates ranging from tens of thousands to 200,000, while Beijing claims over 300,000 were killed

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just a User: Ah, so what you're saying is that if the numbers were slightly altered then Japan would gladly agree to UNESCO publishing them? Sorry, but given that Japan demands constantly its views be accepted and its bids as well, or else they will not pay their dues, and want this turned down IN ITS ENTIRETY on top of demanding UNESCO turn down dossiers on sex slaves in the past, there is no way Japan is trying to allow "opposing views" -- they want theirs to be recognized or none at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So China wants to advance their anti-Japan Propaganda through UNESCO a UN body. But they won't recognize or comply with a Tribunal Ruling by the UN sanctioned Permanent Court of Arbitration which has jurisdiction over UNCLOS matters. Typical Chinese behavior. And yes it's propaganda when one side tells their side of the story denying evidence to the contrary.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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