Reflection on attending the 2011 DG-ADBC Convention
It has been only one year since I decided to write my dissertation on former American POWs. I entered the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, in 2003 and learned that postwar peace treaties between states are aimed at settling conflicts rather than resolving them. I also learned that even though it has been more than 50 years since the end of WWII, Japan has to deal with many unresolved problems.
The war problems that people face are diverse, depending on their social position or experience. Some people might even say that there are no issues between the United States and Japan with respect to WWII. However, I thought that the issue of former American POWs certainly existed and that both the United States and Japan were trying to deal with it when I learned about the Japanese/American POW Friendship Program.
Although I know
too little to comment on the issue, there was one thing that struck me when I
attended 2011 DG-ADBC convention in Pittsburgh: former POWs and their families
are trying hard to draw the attention of the world to their stories.
I was very surprised when I saw notes by students from the International Christian University in Tokyo on the experiences narrated by former POWs in a class, exhibited at ADBC museum. I have realized that the interest shown by the youth in this issue means a lot to the participants of the Friendship Program. On more than one occasion, they mentioned these students when they spoke of their trip to Japan. They appreciate the attention that their issue receiving, which is surprisingly far more than what I had expected.
* Several Japanese students participated in ADBC conventions in recent years. It is hoped that more young people from Japan and the US will be interested in learning about the history of American POWs of the Japanese. (Kinue Tokudome)