note to readers: the following series of articles (about Carlos Ghosn and Japan) suffers from poor editing. Limited updating will take place. Indulgence is asked.
When Carlos Ghosn assumed the job of Nissan’s CEO, was he even vaguely aware of the historical legacies of the company he would run? Of its role in the Japanese conquest of China, the conquest of Manchuria? Of the Koreas? It’s role in the exploitation, enslavement, and genocide of Asian populations?
Nissan was no mere “collaborator” of the effete Hirohito or deranged Tojo. Its owners and families were the primary drivers of Japanese imperialism and war crimes. Nissan was a near monopolist of Japan’s wartime occupation of Manchuria, and single-handedly ran the region’s economy.
To all those clamoring for apologies for the internment of Japanese in America during WWII, how about first getting an apology for Japanese murder, torture, and humiliation of American POWs? (Who cares about interment of Italian and Germans! Just triple the numbers of Nips!)
In Germany, corporations donate to funds tasked with repayment for Nazi wartime exploitation of captive labor. Why aren’t Japanese companies asked to do the same, considering that their treatment of captives was as evil as that of the Jews and Soviets by the Germans?
Did Ghosn, or anyone else for that matter, ever inquire into reparations that Nissan should pay to the people of the East Asian mainland for the pain and suffering the company imposed on the civilian population, not to mention make a formal apology? For Japan’s horrendous war crimes in which Nissan partook? Japan’s notorious experiments from Unit 731, headquartered in Manchuria, which Japan has yet to fully disclose? The dissection of living Chinese and American war-prisoners, infected with the plague while their hearts were still beating, and other indescribable atrocities? Hundreds of thousands killed with biological agents? 2.5 million slaves. Ritual cannibalism. Forced drug-use, the population being plied with heroin?
During the 1930s and WWII Nissan ran Manchuria as a corporate fief. It was the industrial jewel in the Japanese empire. 82 million Chinese under the sadistic and ruthless thumb of Hirohito. While perpetrating horrors on the local population Nissan owners and their relatives oversaw the political and military aspects of Japanese occupation. The experiments, the murder, the exploitation, all involved Nissan and its employees and leadership.
Perhaps the problem with recognition, apology, and reparations resides in Japan’s completely non-existent judicial system? Most Holocaust claims have been pursued legally, but “legally” is not something Japan understands, and contrary to myth, America was never bothered by this.
The former satrap running Manchuria, Nobusuke Kishi, was initially classified as a war-criminal by an American tribunal, only to be appointed as Japan’s Prime Minister with the full support of Washington DC.
Nobusuke Kishi was related to the founders and owners of Nissan, and brought the family company (Aikawa) into Manchuria, where it established its global Headquarters in 1934. Nissan built factories in Manchuria with industrial machinery confiscated from General Motors and Ford from Japan, where a law introduced by Nobusuke Kishi, had them evicted.
Both Kishi and Aikawa were classified as class A war criminals by the International Tribunal for the Far East, but America was comfortable with recycling them politically, while the Soviet Union wasn’t having any of it. The USSR had tried, separately all the Japanese responsible for Manchurian and Korean atrocities it could get its hand on, and while sentencing them to death, it commuted their punishment to 25 years of hard-labor. The USSR’s specific charge against these Japs was the barbarous use of biological weapons on captive populations.
Kishi just happens to be the grand-father of the current PM Shinzō Abe. Imagine Herman Gorring’s grand-son running Germany today, toasting Obama, Trump, Macron, Putin, in the Reichstag.
Under Abe’s grandfather’s reign in Manchuria, the Yakuza were used by Kishi to torture, harass, and keep Chinese slave labor in line. Nissan became the military muscle of Japan’s continental (Asian) army slicing and genociding its way through the Asian continent. Manchuria was the center of Japan’s fascist economy and Nissan and its family were at its core. Nissan was a chief adversary of the Allies, and if BMW is paying into a reparations fund, Nissan should do the same.
The French railway corporation SNCF (nationalized Rothschild railway), recently agreed to pay reparations to Florida retirees. One would think a company, which had neither any way of knowing where some of its passengers were going, nor any way to oppose the will of the Third Reich, could conceivable be held liable for their transport to Nazi occupied territory.
The owner of a German based cookie making company has donated millions to Holocaust projects, because his progenitors employed 175 laborers from France and inmates from the USSR in a family owned factory during WWII. He had not given money to the French state, nor to the living post-Soviet relatives of the slaves he employed.
Bullied by a plethora of sanctions Switzerland’s banking industry settled for $1.5 billion with the Jewish Claims Conference, while Israel’s second largest bank got to appropriate hundreds of millions from Holocaust survivors with only one article in the English language press (and even then, an Israeli one).
With prominent Jewish participation in its banking life, as early as 1962 Switzerland passed laws seeking to restitute Holocaust accounts to living heirs, but pressured by the Joint and Washington in the 1990s it busted open all its banks and allowed America to sniff through 4 million Swiss accounts, with the paltry result that a mere 54,000 “dormant accounts” were identified as “possibly” (!) having a Jewish wartime link, while not one instance of proof of destruction of evidence or deliberate theft of Holocaust assets was identified.
A Swiss committee edged closer to 20,000 “possible” Holocaust accounts, whose total assets amounted to a mere six million Swiss Francs. (reports can be consulted here, Volcker report mentions only 5,000 identified cases which had already been acknowledged by Swiss authorities). The true story of Switzerland and Jewish wartime money was indirectly revealed in 2015 when Swiss Leaks exposed Jewish tax dodgers hiding family money from their governments. It was argued that tax authorities should be lenient on them, considering their “unique” circumstances. Nazi persecution apparently exempts you from taxes, even if they are made up or non-existent. Ironically the total number of fraudsters in America alone, was close to 54,000.
What have Japanese corporates paid? Nissan exploited slave labor in Manchuria, in Manchuria’s factories, railroads, etc, where nearly a million people died. Has it so much as knowledge its role in Japanese war crimes?
German companies have apologized for their crimes, although in most cases they were mere cogs in the Nazi war effort, and not perpetrators of a Holocaust per se (IBM was). Germany, by way of its reparations for its WWII crimes has paid for the illicit labor of BWM, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, etc. In fact, there exists a list of companies it has paid for.
It’s one of the major failings of the German reparations effort, to not be able to distinguish concentration camp labor from extermination camp inmates to a legally satisfactory degree (or the murder was intentional, or it was incidental, or a mixture of the two, in which case Soviet victims are not numerically inferior to Jewish ones from the perspective of Nazi intentions).
Following the logic of Germany’s corporations, every single one of Japan’s current trade monopolies (sogo shosha) is guilty of war crimes. Evidence for genocidal work conditions of wartime POWs and laborers in Japan is better than in the case of Germany where treatment of non-Jewish and non-Soviet prisoners of war and laborers, was generally humane and outstanding (French and Dutch workers were treated as equals. American GIs did not die in any significant numbers).
Japan claims to have paid a total of $1.5 billion dollars of reparations (roughly $6.8 billion in today’s terms) to all wartime victims throughout Asia, at a time when Germany had paid $76 billion to the Allies, and another $63 billion to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, separately from the $14 billion officially tendered to Israel. Conservative estimates for Japanese war crimes are from 10 to 14 million civilian victims. Curiously, no official figures are available. One French source claims the number of war dead in just one operation in China, was between 20 to 45 million, although other historians place the number at 2.7 million (civilians).
The Japanese wartime slave population was estimated as 10,000,000 in Japan, and between 4 to 10,000,000 in Java. More than five million Koreans were enslaved, of those 725,000 were taken to Japan and throughout its empire and hundreds of thousands died. A million Koreans died in forced labor in Korea and Manchuria.
The Japanese enslaved millions of women as sex toys (although the media often cite 200,000 as the total number, pathetic figure, since Korea itself had at least 500,000).
Japan defends and denies its wartime slave legacy. Korea has put together the first Asian list of Japanese companies who partook in wartime crimes. Not only does Japan deny its enslavement of Koreans, their descends who still reside in Japan, are known as zainichi, and are considered untouchables, and are treated like shit. Ironically they end up disproportionately represented in Japan’s organized crime scene.