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Aggressors' remorse: Tsuyoshi Ebato

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Added On September 6, 2014

INTRO
 
Wednesday was 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 Tsuyoshi Ebato, who served with the invading Japanese army for years before being held captive by the former Soviet Union and then repatriated to China.
 
PKG
 
In July 1950, a freight train with hundreds of Japanese war criminals was heading for China from the second largest city of Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East region. 
 
The final destination to these criminals was Fushun War Criminals Management Center in Liaoning Province in northeast China.
 
Tsuyoshi Ebato, a 28 years old school teacher was in the group. 
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"After military trainings, I was sent to the front in east China's Shandong Province. It is a battle field in the war of aggression against China. And I served as a sergeant in land forces."
 
Born in 1913, Tsuyoshi Ebato was a sergeant for the Japanese Army 59th Division. 
 
He confessed that his troop was based in Shandong Province, which had been occupied in its entirety by Japanese forces in 1940.
 
Ebato said that the Japanese military rule in Shandong was merciless, committing brutal crimes against the people of China during the eight-year invading war.
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"Under the captain command, the Japanese soldiers were ordered to bayonet Chinese as a way of daily training. Four Chinese war of prisoners were killed in the training."
 
The anti-Japanese war from 1937 to 1945 claimed 20 million Chinese lives and injured 15 million.
 
During the largest Asian war in the 20th century, the Japanese Army set up "Comfort Stations" and forced women to be sex slaves.
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"We were free to kill Chinese people in occupied areas, no matter Chinese soldiers or civilians. We also built 'Comfort Station' where women were forced to provide sex services. Among them, most were Chinese and Koreans. My troop had set up a 'Soldier Club' in Jinan, offering services like sales of daily necessities and comfort women."
 
The appalling crimes committed by Japanese invading troops were the reintroduction of cannibalism.
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"We were suffering food shortage from the long station in China.  A junior official killed his comfort woman and eat her. He also cheated other soldiers in the troop and they ate the woman together. The man confessed his crime when being held custody in the Fushun War Criminals Management Center."
 
Victims were not just women. Like other Japanese soldiers, Ebato admitted that he had ordered new soldiers to kill a 15-year-old boy. 
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"The boy hugged my legs and said crying to me, 'my mother is waiting for me at home.' But I cannot let him go. For Japanese soldiers, the officer's order represents that of the Emperor of Japan. I will be killed if I disobeyed the order."
 
In 1956, Ebato was one of the third group of criminals to be sent back to Japan. 
 
He became a member, then a director of the Association of Returnees from China. It is a peace organization composed of former war prisoners detained in China.
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"It is a miracle to let war criminals return home. No other government could do that. We want to apologize for what we have done in the past. We pledge to safeguard peace and oppose wars of aggression."
 
In year 2014, Ebato is 101 year old. 
 
He still attached great attention on anti-war education to the young Japanese.
 
SOUNDBITE (JAPANESE) TSUYOSHI EBATO, Sergeant, 59th Division of Japanese army, WWII
"I hope teachers in Japan could teach young people love, peace and truth. I wish the Chinese and Japanese young people could establish friendly relationship."
 
TAG
 
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.