The Ministry of National Defense is planning to give thousands of commemorative medals to veterans of the Second Sino-Japanese War, as part of a series of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China’s (ROC) victory over Japan in 1945.
Those who joined the ROC military before Sept. 3, 1945, to fight Japan are eligible to apply to the ministry for the medal, said Lieutenant General Hsu Yen-pu (徐衍璞), who is responsible for the project.
The design of the medal is based on a commemorative medal bestowed by the ROC government in October 1946 on those who served in the military and in government agencies during the war, he said.
The bottom of the medal features an illustration of the Marco Polo Bridge, where Japan launched its initial attack on ROC forces on July 7, 1937, marking the start of the war. In the middle is a portrait of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), who led the ROC military.
The ministry plans to produce 6,000 medals in the first stage, Hsu said, adding that there is no deadline for veterans to submit their applications.
On whether the applications will be limited to ROC nationals in Taiwan or include those living in China or other countries, Hsu said that anyone who served in the ROC military during the war against Japan is eligible and that their contributions to the war effort should be valued.
In 1937, the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalists agreed to cooperate to defend China against the Japanese invasion, although that cooperation was often cursory at best.
The ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing to the communist forces in the Chinese Civil War.
In the first stage, the ministry will accept applications filed by veterans themselves.
As to a suggestion by a lawmaker that the applications should also be opened to families of veterans who have died, ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said that the issue would be dealt with later.
More than 3 million soldiers and officers fought in the war, Lo said, and the ministry will first focus on granting the medals to veterans who are still alive in Taiwan, China and other countries.
The ministry will review the applications and the commemorative medals will be granted in a ceremony to veterans whose applications pass a ministry review, as part of a series of commemorative events.
Other events will include exhibitions and conferences on the ROC’s fight against Japan and a July 4 military display that is to incorporate the air force, navy and army at a military base in Hsinchu.
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