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Radha Binod Pal Memorial, Tokyo - The Indian, respected in Japan

While walking around Yasukuni Jinja Shrine, came across a memorial. Going close to it, found that the memorial is dedicated to Dr. Radha Binod Pal.

Next thought in my mind was who this Mr. Pal is and how come he has a memorial in Tokyo? Curious investigation there itself revealed that Dr. Pal was the judge at International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) who had exonerated Japanese leaders, who were being tried for war crimes (after World War II). 

Paying homage to bravery and dedication of Dr. Pal, who with utmost honesty tried to defend justice of law, a memorial dedicated to him stands adjacent to main shrine at Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine, which commemorates Japanese war heroes. This small memorial is looked after carefully, the flowers kept here are always fresh.

Let’s walk down the history lane to know about Dr. Pal:
2nd World War had ended in Europe on 8th May 1945. However Japan was still fighting, until Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With signing of surrender with Japan, 2nd World War finally ended on 2nd September 1945. After hostilities ceased, the cycle of inciting formal vengeance by Allied Powers started in form of trial of defeated Japan.
History is written by the victors. So, International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) was set up by the Allied powers to try Japanese leaders for “war crimes". On this tribunal, 10 judges were from the US, Canada, Britain, France, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Soviet Union, China and Philippines. And there was one judge representing Asia, he was from India and his name was Radha Binod Pal, who was a member of the United Nations' International Law Commission from 1952 to 1966.
Presence of Dr. Pal might have been to show Asian presence on the bench. In fact his accommodation in Tokyo was also not on par with other judges. However utmost honest Dr. Pal refused to be the token presence on the bench. He stood for principles. Why? The way tribunal was acting, Dr. Pal clearly told to the tribunal, that the tribunal was just legalizing process for the satisfaction of revenge. Not just words, he explained this in his 1,235 page judgment, dissenting with the views of rest of judges.
He pointed out that class A and class C charges— crimes against peace and crimes against humanity—with retrospective effect, were not listed under international law when Japan had gone to war, so Japan could hardly have broken any law.
Going against the majority is not accepted easily. His point of view on Tribunal were met with due anger and embarrassment when he put across that the indictments were invalid to try defendants under these charges and against accepted legal procedure. His strong arguments based on understanding of International Laws, found favor and acceptance with the French and Dutch judges and they also submitted separate dissenting notes. However French and Dutch judges agreed with the majority judgement of finding the defendants guilty.

To mention – Dr. Pal was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure First Class by the emperor of Japan, one the country’s highest honours in 1966. His statement has been gracefully carved on his memorial: When Time shall have softened passion and prejudice….then Justice, holding evenly her scales, will require/much of past censure and praise to change places".
This was perhaps the best experience in my Tokyo itinerary, realized wherever you go you can always find some offbeat wonders. Thanks to my friend Kento for taking me to this place.
Indian Embassy is at walking distance from this place. Was delighted to get a click like this at Indian Embassy:

Keep Exploring Guys.

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