An 85-year-old former Japanese prisoner of war (POW) has shown deep regret over his war crimes committed decades ago in China while visiting his former POW prison in the northeast of the country over the weekend.
"This is a place for my re-birth and I will never forget it," Fujihara Sukeo said.
Sukeo spent Saturday night at the Fushun POW Prison located at Fushun City, about 45 km east of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province, after he arrived in the province on Saturday afternoon.
"Despite its own difficulties, China was very humane to us prisoners. Chinese wardens had sorghum for meal but gave us rice," he said in tears, while recalling the days he spent in prison from1950 to 1956 with 982 other POWs.
"We could also play basketball, read books and watch cultural activities," he said.
"But at the very beginning, we were very stubborn, refusing to acknowledge our aggression and crimes," he said.
In 1943, the young Sukeo came to central China's Hubei Province as a Japanese soldier. In 1945, he was captured by the Red Army of the Soviet Union in China's Liaoning Province.
"We did a lot of bad things in China. We slaughtered many people in Hubei. We piled dead bodies into one house and burnt them all."
"I remember when we were in a village in Hubei, the villagers drank the water that we had used for washing our faces and bowls. Their stomachs bulged after they drunk the water ... our troops were very inhumane," he said.
This is Sukeo's third visit to the prison since he was set free by the Chinese government and repatriated to Japan in 1956. It coincides with the 75th anniversary on Sept. 18 of the Japanese army invading China and seizing the three provinces in the northeast.
Speaking of the current relationship between China and Japan, Sukeo said: "The Yasukuni Shrine problem is the major obstacle for the ties."
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, most recently on August 15, the anniversary of his country's World War II surrender, have strained Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors.
"I firmly oppose the shrine visits by the Japanese Prime Minister, because it is unjust to the Chinese people. Japan has not done enough to show remorse and apologize to the nations they invaded," Sukeo said.
"I hope I can use my limited lifetime to teach my sons and my grandsons about my own experiences and about the truth of the war and history," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2006)