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08 March 2016

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This story, as reported, does not have the ring of truth for me.

The war in the Pacific was exceptionally terrible and cruel. There were many well documented instances where the Japanese treated Australian prisoners of war with unspeakable cruelty. My uncle was one of those imprisoned, beaten, starved and worked almost to death.

Similarly, the Japanese army in PNG did not treat the local people well. Incidents of summary execution, cruelty and virtual enslavement are well documented. This turned Papua New Guineans against the Japanese and helps explain why so many Papua New Guineans readily worked for the Australian and American forces.

As the allies advanced through PNG the Japanese resisted fiercely, preferring to die rather than surrender. No quarter was expected or given. As a consequence, casualties amongst the allied troops were much higher than might otherwise have been the case and this helped cause enormous bitterness against the Japanese.

There are recorded incidents where wounded or sick Japanese soldiers were killed out of hand by exhausted and very angry allied troops. Similarly, those few Papua New Guineans found to have willingly aided and abetted the Japanese were, in some cases, subjected to what amounted to summary execution.

In such an environment it seems highly improbable that a Japanese sympathiser would be spared because he was sick and even more improbable that his wife and child executed in his stead.

The Japanese government has, over many years, sought to play down the extent of Japanese atrocities during World War 2. They have deceived their own people about this and continue to do so. This reflects badly on Japan.

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