The Holocaust Historiography Project

Japanese Court Declines to Validate Gas Chamber Claims

Revisionist Progress in Nippon

by Mark Weber

In a major victory in Japan for freedom of speech and research on the Holocaust issue, a Tokyo District Court has declined to give judicial validation to claims of mass extermination gas chambers in wartime German concentration camps.

The case began in April 1997 when Japanese revisionist author Aiji Kimura brought a lawsuit against three defendants for a series of articles in the weekly magazine Shukan Kinyobi that, he charges, portray him as a “falsifier of history.”

In August one of the defendants in the case quoted Presiding Judge Toshimi Ouchi, who called him into the judge’s chamber, as saying: “The court cannot decide whether gas chambers existed. The court can only judge whether there was [an act of] defamation.” (The Japan Times, Aug. 11, 1997).

Another defendant in the case, a Japanese journalist, expressed outrage at the judge’s remarks: “That a court can openly choose not to make a decision over the existence of gas chambers is an illustration of Japan’s lack of a moral yardstick by which to judge right from wrong. I think it is only Japan, of all countries in the world, that such an idiotic thing can happen.”

Judge Ouchi’s decision shows that, in Japan at least, one may dispute claims of gas chamber killings at Auschwitz and other German wartime camps without fear of legal punishment. With regard to the Holocaust issue, Japan permits greater freedom of speech and expression than do countries such as Germany, France and Austria, where “Holocaust denial” is a crime.

At the same time, though, formidable economic and social pressure can be applied to force compliance with the prescribed orthodoxy. In early 1995 a major Japanese magazine, Marco Polo, was compelled to shut down because it had published a ten-page article disputing the orthodox Holocaust extermination story. The article, headlined “The Greatest Taboo of Postwar World History: There were no Nazi 'Gas Chambers',” was written by Dr. Masanori Nishioka, a physician.

Jewish organizations responded with an international boycott campaign, promptly pressuring major corporations into cancelling advertising. The large Bungei Shunju publishing company quickly caved in, and news of the unprecedented surrender received worldwide media coverage. (A detailed report appeared in the March-April 1995 Journal, pp. 2-9.)

A few months later, the first book-length Japanese-language presentation of Holocaust revisionism appeared in bookstores. Written by Aiji Kimura, “The Auschwitz Debate” (Aushuvittsu no souten) is a handsome 350-page hardcover work, illustrated with numerous photographs. (A detailed report on Kimura’s book and the continuing Holocaust debate in Japan appears in the May-June 1997 Journal, pp. 34-36.)

In June 1997 a second well-referenced revisionist book on the Holocaust issue was published in Japan, this one by Dr. Nishioka. (A report on this work, “Auschwitz: Truth of Gas Chambers: What is the true tragedy,” will appear in a forthcoming Journal issue.)

Bibliographic information
Author: Weber, Mark
Title: Japanese Court Declines to Validate Gas Chamber Claims
Source: The Journal for Historical Review
Date: January/February 1998
Issue: Volume 17 number 1
Location: Page 10
ISSN: 0195-6752
Attribution: “Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, USA.”
Please send a copy of all reprints to the Editor.