Aggressors' remorse: Katsumi Nishio

Added On September 4, 2014

Wednesday is Victory Day of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
China's anti-Japanese war in the 1930s and 1940s was an important part of the World Anti-Fascist War.
More than 35 million Chinese were either killed or injured during the eight-year conflict, which ended in September 1945 after Japan's official surrender.
Ahead of this year's commemorations, we have spoken to Japanese prisoners of war who were later released by the Chinese government, who expressed remorse for what they, and others had done in China seven decades ago.
Today we meet Katsumi Nishio, who served with the invading Japanese army in Manchuria for years before being held captive by the former Soviet Union and then repatriated to China.
While a skirmish in Beijing in July 1937 is widely remembered as the start of China's anti-Japan war, Japan's invasion of China came long before the full-fledged war began.
On September 18, 1931, Japan accused local armies of attacking its troops along a rail line in the northeast Chinese city Shenyang, and launched a so-called "counter-attack".
Japanese forces then began occupying northeast China, then known as Manchuria.
The invaders established a puppet state, setting the stage for a full invasion in 1937, and imposing colonial rule over three Chinese provinces for 14 years.
Katsumi Nishio was one of more than 1.6 million Japanese citizens who emigrated to northeast China in the 1930s and early 1940s, as part of a Japanese strategy to change the population structure of the region.
In 1941, Nishio was recruited into the invading army's infantry battalion.
He served with the Japanese Kwantung Army, which was blamed for atrocities like looting, rape, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, as well as maintaining secret installations for producing chemical and biological weapons, including vivisections and other experiments on humans.
Nishio once became a junior officer of the garrison forces, and was captured by the Soviet Red Army in August 1945.
He was repatriated to China in July 1950, and detained at a penitentiary in the northeastern city of Fushun, a facility built by the Japanese forces during the invasion.
Six years later, he returned to Japan after being released, together with over 1,000 other Japanese servicemen, as authorities in China deemed the offenses they committed had been minor and exempted them from prosecution.
Now, reflecting on the sufferings that Japanese forces inflicted on the Chinese people, the 95-year-old believes it's important for Japan to re-examine its aggressive past and educate its future generations against militarism.
SOUNDBITE: KATSUMI NISHIO, Sergeant, Japanese Kwantung Army, WWII
"I again reiterate, the books 'What Japan has done to China' and 'What Japan has done to Korea', I believe, if Japan does not educate its people on its wartime history, the country would perish."
The two books, "What Japan has done to China" and "What Japan has done to Korea" were compiled by Japanese citizens from the Association of Returnees from China, an organization formed in 1957 following the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war.
The one on China recorded major war crimes committed by invading Japanese forces from September 1931 to Japan's surrender in 1945, which signalled the end of World War II.
September 3 was designated as Victory Day decades ago by the Chinese government.
This year it's the first time that it's officially observed, after its legalization by China's top legislature in February.