Japan asks Unesco to recognise work of ‘Japanese Schindler’

Tokyo, June 19 (IANS/EFE) Japan has requested Unesco to include in its Memory of the World Register, the work of Chiune Sugihara, a diplomat famously known as “Japanese Schindler” for saving 6,000 Jews from Holocaust, Japanese media reported on Friday.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, authorities of Yaotsu, Sugihara’s hometown, requested Unesco to recognise Sugihara’s legacy by 2017, said news agency Kyodo.

“His actions demonstrate a great appreciation for human life and remind us of the tragedy that led to the war for so many people,” the mayor of Yaotsu said in a statement.

Sugihara (1900-1986) from the Gifu prefecture, helped thousands of Jews escape Nazi persecution during World War II, while working as a Vice-Consul of Japan in Kaunas in Lithuania.

He issued transit visas via Japan to Polish and Lithuanian Jews, who could not meet the strict economic requirements imposed by the Japanese foreign ministry, which also required applicants to have a separate visa to exit Japan.

His initiative allowed thousands of Jews to flee the Holocaust but Sugihara was expelled from the diplomatic corps in 1947 for disobeying orders from his superiors.

Sugihara received the moniker of “Japanese Schindler” after the world came to know about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them as workers in his factories.

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