Another war memorial stirs anger

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 February, 2006, 12:00am

The Taiwanese government came under fire yesterday over an illegal memorial dedicated to the soldiers drafted by the Japanese army that sits on county land.

The controversial memorial, consisting of eight stone tablets with a dozen Japanese flags, is located at the scenic spot of Wulai near a waterfall.

The structure, inaugurated by former president Lee Teng-hui on February 8, has Japanese inscriptions on each stone tablets in memory of indigenous Taiwanese soldiers drafted to fight for the former Japanese Imperial Army during the second world war.

The Taipei county government yesterday said it had asked the association to remove the monument today.

The memorial has also drawn criticism from Taiwanese tourists.

'It is absurd to have such things to be erected on our land,' said Kao Chin Su-mei, an indigenous legislator, who has long campaigned for the Japanese government to compensate indigenous Taiwanese drafted to fight for the Japanese or forced into prostitution during the occupation.

She said a Japanese civic group built the monument on land rented from the Taipei county government.

'From what the inscriptions say, it is a sheer distortion of history. Worst still, such a distortion has the blessing from the former president,' she said.

An official of the Japanese civic group told the United Evening News that people should not use their ideological differences to stir ethnic disputes between Taiwan and Japan.