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Japan faces its history

But critics say Nagasaki museum doesn't go far enough

Nagasaki museum

April 7, 1996
Web posted at: 2:25 p.m. EDT (1825 GMT)

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NAGASAKI, Japan (CNN) -- Japanese aggression leading up to World War II is being acknowledged in a new museum now open in Nagasaki.

The museum's brief mention of Japanese atrocities, although deemed insufficient by critics, nevertheless reflects unusual candor by the Japanese about their recent history.

It includes Japan's invasion of China in the early 1930s and its attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which brought the United States into the war. And in videotaped interviews, Koreans explain how they were forced to go to Nagasaki and serve as laborers in the war industries.

Hiroshima map

But most of the $62 million museum is dedicated to the suffering of Hiroshima and Nagasaki residents as a result of the U.S. atomic bombs, the second of which exploded on August 9, 1945 (1M QuickTime movie) , not far from where the museum is located.

"My father was an A-bomb victim," says a Japanese woman who brought her child to the museum. "I want to show this to my son."

Japan announced its surrender five days after the Nagasaki bomb was dropped.

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