Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Manipur sometime in December, 2019 to pray for those fallen soldiers during World War II
Written by Akiko of BCS
The Burma Campaign Society (BCS), War Reconciliation Activities began in 1983. At the very beginning, Two Welsh Burma Veterans and one Japanese Burma/Imphal Veteran met in U.K. and later visited Japan. Their angers and animosity towards Japan and Japanese people have turned to be friended with the former enemy when they were welcomed by the old Japanese veterans. Later until today, more than 160 British Burma/Imphal/Kohima Veterans reconciled with Japan through communications amongst them and meeting them in each country. In 2008, when the first chairperson, Masao Hirakubo (the pioneer of these Activities) passed away; the British Veterans (all members of BCS) selected Akiko (myself) to be the torch bearer of the mission. I immediately focussed on the third countries such as India and Burma where actual battles took place. Then organised to connect Imphal and its people in 2011 thanks to my friend, Chris Johnson whose father also fought in Imphal Region. Chris introduced me to another counterpart, Rajeshwor Yumnam who has been working on research and excavating the many battle sites with their young volunteers group. This was the beginning of the success of dissemination on the Imphal Campaign to the world. Neither Japanese officials such as Embassy in India nor the ministry of Foreign Affairs knew about these atrocious battles and lost nearly 50,000 Japanese soldiers’ lives. Thanks to NHK Documentary TV Program by which I got also involved in producing of the Imphal Campaign, the program gave an enormous impact on the people of Japan in 2017. Nowadays the name of Imphal became very well known in both U.K. and in Japan.
I’m very pleased that finally it came a time to be taken interest by the Prime Minister Abe and he is said to be visiting there in December, next month. I’m sure all those fallen soldiers souls shall be consoled when the PM at last to visit Imphal and prays for them.