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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 September 14 - 20  > 80th anniversary of Manchurian Incident
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2011 September 14 - 20 [HISTORY]
editorial 

80th anniversary of Manchurian Incident

September 18, 2011
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Around midnight of September 18, 1931, Japan’s Kwantung Army blew up a section of the tracks of the South Manchuria Railway at Liutiaohu near Mukden (currently Shenyang) in northeastern China. The Army claimed that the explosion was a plot by the Chinese military as a pretext for starting military action, and then embarked on a seizure of Manchuria.

The Manchurian Incident triggered the 15-year-war which included an all-out war between Japan and China and the subsequent Asia-Pacific War. The Incident opened the path for Japan’s war of aggression and pushed the world into World War II.

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of this incident, we must learn from the past and resolve anew to never repeat the same type of mistake.

No doubt that the Japanese Army intentionally sought to militarily occupy the Chinese territories in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia.

The Japanese Army stationed in southern Manchuria intended at first to annex Manchuria and Inner Mongolia to Japan. In order to dodge international criticism over such a move, the Army created a supposed independent movement and established the puppet state of “Manchukuo” in 1932. In China, they called the state “fake Manchukuo”.

Japan could not declare war because the world at that time prohibited wars in the “non-belligerency treaty”. The League of Nations also did not approve the establishment of “Manchukuo”.

Some nations moved to accept Japan’s “interests” in the beginning, but as Japan expanded its invasion, the League of Nations finally warned Japan to withdraw from the occupied area. Ignoring this warning, Japan left the League of Nations and accelerated its isolation from the world.

It is unreasonable to defend Japan’s behavior as having been inevitable in order to protect Japan’s “interests” in Manchuria. It was Japan that robbed China of its “interests” in the war.

Japan’s territorial expansion was a consistent policy of the Emperor, its government and military, and the pre-war “zaibatsu” conglomerates as Japan already occupied Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula even before the Manchuria Incident.

In line with the story fabricated by the Japanese military, major newspapers like Asahi, Mainichi, and Yomiuri were all competing in whipping up war hysteria in Japan by reporting from the front, saying “defend our interests!” and “defend our lifeline!” They even published a joint declaration in 1932 in support of “Manchukuo” independence. In a tide of crafted enthusiasm, the papers mobilized the public into supporting the expansion of Japan’s war of aggression.

In opposition to all these moves, Japanese Communist Party members demanded immediate withdrawal from Manchuria and struggled against Japan’s war of aggression at the risk of their lives. Many other conscientious people also opposed the war.

Established in the wake of the 15-year-war, the present Constitution of Japan stipulates that Japan will never make the same mistake of engaging in war.

Still now, pro-military forces under the Japan-U.S. military alliance make frequent attempts to open the way to engage in war again. To defend the Constitution and to keep Japan out of wars, it is necessary for us to increase the popular movement against war and strengthen the Japanese Communist Party which has tenaciously opposed war since the pre-war period.
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