Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose with other INA commanders in exile government. (Photo courtesy: Subhas Chandra Bose Facebook Page)

Japan Declassifies its 1956 Report, Says ‘Netaji Died’ in Plane Crash

Nothing ground-breaking but the report declassified by the Japanese government after 60 years reiterates the traditional stand of Tokyo that Netaji did die in a plane crash at Taihoku on the fateful day of August 18, 1945.

The report titled ‘Investigation on the cause of death and other matters of the late Subhas Chandra Bose’ is a 7-page brief that was submitted to the Indian Embassy in January 1956 by the Japanese government though it was almost a verbatim version of what Indian investigation commissions had asserted in the past.

What Japan Report Said:

  1. “Immediately after taking off, the airplane in which he (Referred as T or Netaji) rode fell to the ground, and he was wounded.”
  2. “About 3.00 pm, he entered the Nanmon Branch of Taipei Army Hospital.”

  3. At “about 7.00 pm he died.”

  4. On August 22, Netaji was cremated at the Taipei Municipal crematorium.

Here are some anomalies which the Japanese report has failed to answer:

Japanese Version: “After the plane had taken off and risen about 20 metres above the ground, one petal of the three-petaled propeller of the left wing was suddenly broken, and the engine fell off”.

The Justice Mukherjee Commission questioned this version saying the crash would have moved all the passengers to the cockpit side and injured all equally. How can so many of them survive and walk out of the flames?

Japanese Version: The “airplane, subsequently unbalanced, crashed into ballast piles, beside the strip of the airport” and “was wrapped in flames in a moment. Mr Bose, wrapped up in flames, got off the plane; His aide Rahmin (INA Colonel Habibur Rehman) and other passengers exerted themselves to take his clothes off. His whole body was seriously wounded by burns”.

JM Commission Questioned this already stating that Netaji was not the person in flames. It had questioned the verbatim statement of witnesses who had read out their statements to 1956 ShahNawaz Commission.

Japanese Version: “About 3.00 pm, he entered the Nanmon Branch of Taipei Army Hospital. At about 7.00 pm he died.”

JM Commission challenged this saying the doctor who claimed to have adminsitered him drugs said Netaji died around 11 pm. How can a government report allow so much of variation in recording the time of death, if true?

Japanese Version: “On August 22, Netaji was cremated at the Taipei Municipal crematorium.”

JM Commission questioned this version already stating that it was not Netaji but Ichiro Okura who had been cremated as per the records. If Japanese insist that the name changed to keep Netaji identity secret from the Allies or Occupation authorities, then comes the question of how can Japan treat Netaji, the Supreme Commander of INA with callous attitude so horribly that his body was taken in a truck and cremated like any other common man?

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While Ashis Ray, creator of and London-based grand-nephew of Netaji said, “This is yet another decisive breakthrough. There is now no reason why the Government of India should not accede to Bose’s daughter Anita Pfaff’s request to transfer her father’s ashes from Tokyo to India,” the question remains whether Japan owns responsibility for its negligence that caused air crash before insisting that the Indian Hero was killed in the crash?

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