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Tokyo gov. skips eulogy to Koreans massacred after 1923 quake

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike (Mainichi)

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has canceled sending a eulogy to an annual ceremony commemorating Korean residents murdered in the aftermath of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, it has been learned.

    Tokyo governors have historically sent eulogies to the ceremony, and Koike herself sent one last year. An official from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said that since the governor has expressed condolences to all victims of the disaster, including Korean residents, she has decided to skip sending letters to individual memorial ceremonies.

    The ceremony paying tribute to the victims of a massacre amid the chaos after the 1923 earthquake is held on Sept. 1 every year in front of the cenotaph dedicated to Korean victims at Yokoami-cho Park in Tokyo's Sumida Ward. It is organized by a committee comprising citizens' groups and other parties. In addition, a joint memorial service for victims of the Great Kanto Earthquake and the 1945 Great Tokyo Air Raid is held on the same day at the memorial hall in the metropolitan park, and Tokyo governors have attended this memorial service every year. According to the metropolitan government, governors of the capital have sent eulogies to the ceremony for the Korean victims upon request of the organizers.

    Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member Toshiaki Koga of the Liberal Democratic Party stated during an assembly meeting in March that since there are different views on the number of Korean residents massacred in the disaster, the governor should think twice about sending a eulogy to the ceremony.

    Koike responded, "I am aware of different opinions (about the massacre of Korean residents) including the number of victims. We have been sending eulogies every year as a customary procedure and metropolitan bureaucrats sent one last year accordingly." She added that she would make decisions about the eulogies after checking the letters.

    An official from the metropolitan government's parks and recreation department commented that forgoing the eulogy had been considered for some time and said, "It's not that the governor's response (during the assembly meeting) was the decisive factor, but it's true that it affected the decision."

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