Islamabad : â€œMr. President, this is no ordinary trial, for here we are
waging a part of the determined battle of civilization to preserve the entire world from
destruction â€¦ If there is no justification for punishment of individuals who have
already brought civilization to the brink of disaster, then justice itself is a mockery.â€
According to People's Daily report, The above remarks are recited from the opening
statement of Joseph B. Keenan to the International Military Tribunal Far East
(IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trials, as chief prosecutor in 1946.
By quoting these words at an international forum on the Tokyo Trials and world
peace, held on November 12, Gao Wenbin, a 95-year- old professor who witnessed the
Tokyo trials in court, stressed the importance of the trials in enlightening later
According to People's Daily report, This year marks the 70th anniversary of the
opening of the Tokyo Trials. By bringing those who waged aggressive war and
murdered innocent people in the victimized countries to account, the trials on
Japanese war criminals 70 years ago upheld international justice and defended the
dignity of humanity.
Scholars commented that the Tokyo Trials were a further â€œsettlementâ€ than the war
itself, because it used the power of the law instead of military power. Its significance
is not confined to those involved, but offers insight and enlightenment to later
According to People's Daily report, Experts from different countries noted at the
seminar that the Tokyo Trials were of vital importance in a host of spheres, like
international politics, international law and historic course.
In the perspective of international politics, it laid the foundation for the post-war
international order in Asia along with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam
In terms of international law, the Tokyo Trials represent the â€œvictory of justiceâ€
instead of the â€œvictory of the winners.â€ It enriched the principle of nulla poena sine
lege (no penalty without a law) and cemented the consensus that no war is legal. The
concepts derived from this consensus, such as â€œcrimes of aggression,â€ â€œcrimes against
humanityâ€ as well as â€œindividuals are responsible for war crimes,â€ provide a crucial
reference to the theoretical studies and practice of international law.
According to People's Daily report, The Tokyo Trials also worked as a â€œrecorderâ€ of
history. The evidence gathered for the trials constituted a giant database for history,
covering Japanese history from the end of the 1820s to its surrender in 1945,
especially the aggression war launched by Japanese rulers as well as the crimes they
committed during the war.
With detailed files and testimonies, the Tokyo Trials provided damning evidence of
the crimes committed by Japanese militarists and stands as a warning to the world and
The meanings behind the studies on the Tokyo Trials go beyond academic and
historical importance. If put under the context of post-war politics in East Asia,
Japanâ€™s attitude toward the Tokyo Trials almost serves as an â€œindicatorâ€ of its
According to People's Daily report, Words about denials of the Tokyo Trials were not
on the horizon of the Japanese public before 1970s, but such ideology emerged in the
1980s as its right-wing forces mulled a â€œcomplete reshuffleâ€ of post-war politics. This
kind of mentality prevailed to political, ideological, academic, educational and
cultural circles since the beginning of 1990s as Japan fought hard to be a global
With the right gaining more ground in Japanâ€™s political arena in the past few years,
some senior officials uttered remarks about distortions in the trials, and some even
staged concrete actions to smear the final ruling of the trials. The repeated visits of
Japanese officials to the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine are one such example.
Last summer, the Liberal-Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) even announced that they
would conduct an â€œinvestigation and verificationâ€ of the procedures of the Tokyo
trials, which reveals Japanâ€™s intention of historical revisionism.
The recent events in Asia, especially a series of actions Japan made to breach the
post-war system, have raised concerns about the current regional peace. Against such
a background, it is certainly important that different countries come together to ease
anxiety and maintain regional stability by protecting the authority and solemnity of
international law and order.
In other words, each country in East Asia and international society should frequently
consider the historical and realistic meanings of the Tokyo trials in a correct way.
A Japanese journalist once made a metaphor at the first day of the Tokyo Trials,
saying â€œeach scene can be compared to the classics of Shakespeare.â€ As the unique
appeal of Shakespeareâ€™s work lies in its enlightenment beyond time, the Tokyo trials
will demonstrate more far-reaching significance with the history moving forward.