WHAT: A four-day international conference, "50 years of Denial: Japan and its Wartime Responsibilities," that will address Japanese aggression against other Asians. Approximately 300 people are registered to attend.
WHERE: In the heart of San Francisco's Japantown, at the Radisson Miyako Hotel, 1625 Post St.
WHO: Some 80 speakers, including writers, lawyers, activists and scholars, along with war-time victims and eye witnesses, involved in gaining restitution from the Japanese government for atrocities during World War II. Speakers include authors Iris Chang, Jintaro Ishida, and Hildi Kang, who have written respectively about China, the Philippines and Korea under Japanese occupation; a lawyer suing in U.S. Federal court on behalf of American POWs and U.S. citizens who were "comfort women" and slave laborers for Japan during the war; and U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose).
BACKGROUND: Co-sponsored by the Asian American program and the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition of San Francisco, the conference is being held simultaneously and in opposition to an official conference in San Francisco where U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Japanese foreign ministers are expected to celebrate the 50th-year anniversary of the signing of the U.S.- Japan Peace Treaty. It has been spearheaded by UC Berkeley professor Ling-Chi Wang, who witnessed Japanese brutality as a 6-year-old boy in China. There are some 11.6 million Americans of Asian descent in the U.S., more than one million in the Bay Area.