Remorse over the past and pledge of war renunciation
-- Determination on the anniversary of the end of WWII

Japanese Medical and Dental Practitioners
for the Improvement of Medical Care (Hodanren)

The 7th Board Meeting
August 5, 2006

On the occasion of the anniversary of the end of WWII on August 15, we demand that the Japanese government wholeheartedly apologize to each country's victims and their bereaved families for Japan's war of aggression. We also express our own apology to them as the Japanese citizen and make a fresh resolution to learn from the past errors and to prevent a similar tragedy from recurring.

Sixty-one years having passed since the end of WWII, Japan stands at a critical juncture in peace and democracy. Moves are increasing to adversely revise the Constitution of Japan and the Fundamental Law of Education. The former declares to the world renunciation of war based on deep remorse over the past bitter experiences, and the latter pursues education in line with the Constitution.

In the wartime, Japanese physicians and medical scientists were drafted under the name of the Emperor as military surgeons and were killed in action. Even those doctors who could narrowly survive, suffered from war injuries, hunger, and plague, together with other officers and men, are also war victims.

On the other hand, unforgivable criminal acts were committed by a group of Japanese doctors, including the Kwantung Army Unit 731 that killed more than 3,000 Chinese and others in experimentation programs using human guinea pigs as terminal experimentation material. Post-war medical circles hardly conducted investigation into and self-questioning of the war crime. It is because the United States shifted its occupation policy and discontinued investigation and pursuit of Japan's war responsibility, thus letting war criminals play major role in postwar politics of Japan. Leaders of the Unit 731 were not accused of their crimes, and on the contrary, they assumed important posts in the postwar medical circles, including university presidents, medical school deans, and laboratory directors, having strong influence on medical circles.

The Japanese medical community has neither criticized those doctors for committing war crimes nor examined its cooperation in the war of aggression. This has given a profound influence on postwar medical researches and education. Tendencies of placing medical science above anything else, physicians-centered view on medical affairs, and disregarding patients' human rights have been left untouched. This underlies researches which can be said experiments by human guinea pig and scandals of drug-induced diseases. It is an important challenge for future medical practice to address these mistakes.

In contrast, the Nuremberg Trial in Germany punished doctors who had been involved in the Holocaust and experiments on human bodies under the Nazi administration. German doctors centering on the Berlin Medical Association, reminding the role of doctors and medical scientists in those days and considering victims' sufferings, expressed their remorse over their mistakes made in Nazism on the 44th anniversary of the end of WWII in 1988.

We, the Japanese Medical and Dental Practitioners for the Improvement of Medical Care (Hodanren), in its Practitioner's Declaration, declares to Japan and the world as follows: "The doctor, whose task is to defend human life cannot allow any war. Learning from history and acting on the principles of the Constitution of Japan, we should oppose moves to threaten peace and confirm that it is a social duty of all doctors to work toward prevention of nuclear war and the elimination of nuclear weapons." In addition, Hodanren's executive board and the Osaka Medical Practitioners Association in 1995 published respectively resolutions for antiwar and peace on the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII." In last October at the medical workshop in Osaka, Hodanren held an "international symposium to discuss war responsibility of physicians and medical scientists" for the first time as a national organization of Japanese doctors.

Taking the 61st anniversary of the end of WWII as an opportunity, we again resolve ourselves to learn lessons from the past war of aggression and to fulfill our social responsibility to oppose any adverse move that threatens peace. We demand that the Japanese medical world examine and reflect on its war responsibility and that the government apologize to and compensate victims.