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A Study on the Current Preservation and Management of the Korean B and C War Criminal Records in Japan

  • The Korean Journal of Archival Studies
  • 2017, (54), pp.111-150
  • DOI : 10.20923/kjas.2017.54.111
  • Publisher : Korean Society Of Archival Studies
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Library and Information Science
  • Received : September 19, 2017
  • Accepted : October 18, 2017
  • Published : October 31, 2017

Kunugi Ena 1 Young Hak LEE 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the current situation of sources on Korean Class B and C war criminals attached as civilians to the Japanese military during the Asian Pacific War charged with cruelly treating Allied POWs in Japanese POW camps, and also explores the possibility of a joint Korean-Japanese archive of these sources. The Japanese government agreed to the judgement of war crimes by accepting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, and the Allied troops carried out the judgement of Class B and C war crimes in each region of Asia and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (also known as the Tokyo Trials). However, many non-Japanese such as Koreans and Taiwanese from the Japanese colonies were prosecuted for war crimes. The issues of reparations and restoring their reputations were ignored by both the Korean and Japanese governments, and public access to their records restricted. Most records on Korean Class B and C war criminals were transferred from each ministry to the National Archives of Japan. The majority are copies of the judgements of war crimes by the Allied nations or records prepared for the erasure of Japanese war crimes after each department operated independently of the Japanese government. In the case of the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such records focused mostly on their war crimes and the transfer of B and C war criminals within Japan and the diplomatic situation. In the case of Korea and Taiwan, these records were related to the negotiations on the repatriation of Class B and C war criminals. In addition, the purpose of founding of the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records and its activities demonstrate its tremendous utility as a facility for building a joint Korea-Japan colonial archive. Thus, the current flaws of the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records should be improved on in order to build a such a joint archive in the future.

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