I have visited Geneva, Switzerland, on the 16th and 17th of August, to attend meetings at the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination as an NGO member. The Committee holds sessions periodically to examine the racial discrimination situation of each country that ratifies the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. During the session, the committee, the government delegations and NGOs participate in the meetings and exchange information and opinions. After the session, the Committee presents a report called “the Concluding Observations” and states recommendations to the government on various human rights issues.
The reason why I attended the session this time is because after the last session on Japan, in August 2018, the committee made recommendations as follows:
The Committee urges that the State party take immediate action to:
(a) Conclude investigations on violations of the rights of comfort women by the Japanese military, and bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations;
(b) Pursue a comprehensive, impartial and lasting resolution of the issue of comfort women, including expressions of sincere apology and the provision of adequate reparation to all surviving comfort women or to their families;
(c) Condemn any attempts at defamation or denial of such events
Why did the committee make such recommendations?  The committee respects the opinions from NGOs and has received reports on the comfort women issue from NGOs who claim  “Japanese military’s comfort women as sex slaves.” And the UN Special Rapporteurs, Coomaraswamy and McDougall, had reported one-sided claims on comfort women without any corroborative evidence.
So, I went to Geneva to speak at the meeting with the committee members and delivered the booklet “What is ‘Comfort Women’ BASIC FACTS.” Here is my oral statement at the meeting:
The myth of comfort women as “sex slaves” despite being completely debunked, continues to be weaponized against Japan and its people.
The myth deliberately tarnishes Japan’s image and justifies crimes committed against Japan.  This fake human rights issue causes people of Japanese descent, especially those living in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe, to face discrimination and feel ashamed.
I produced this booklet “What is ‘Comfort Women’ BASIC FACTS” with the Japanese mothers whose children are bullied – as the vicious propaganda campaign has infiltrated schools – to protect them from further harm and humiliation.
Vice-chair Ms. McDougall, in your 1998 report “Contemporary Forms of Slavery” you repeatedly accuse Japan of being legally liable for its government and the military running “rape centres.” However, the grounds for such condemnation fail to meet the minimum legal standard.  Justice requires facts to be examined without bias. I hereby request that you and the committee look at the facts presented in our booklet.
We also request the government of Japan to take responsibility of protecting Japanese children and women from this vicious propaganda campaign masquerading as a women’s rights issue.
There was another issue that our NGO presented to the committee. That is “Japan was the very first country who proposed the elimination of racial discrimination in the international community.”
On February 13, 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference in Versailles, a responsible committee was held to draft the Covenant of the League of Nations. And the Japanese government made a proposal that racial equality and the elimination of racial discrimination should be clearly stated in the Covenant. Japan was the very first proposer in the world when there were few independent nations of colored people. The proposal was supported by an overwhelmingly majority, 11 to 5, of the committee members. However, US President Woodrow Wilson, chairman of the committee, blithely argued that such an issue of importance should be decided unanimously and turned down the proposal.
50 years after Japan’s proposal for racial equality, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination finally came into being in 1969. And now, countries of various races watch and examine each other’s human rights situations at the United Nations. This had never happened 100 years ago.
Well, do you think Japan a racially discriminatory country? How is the situation in comparison with other countries? I would like to know how the readers living outside of Japan think about it.
I do not think Japan is racially discriminatory. Japan was a pioneer and has been a leader of racial equality for last 100 years. I believe that Japan will continue to contribute to the movement.
Yumiko Yamamoto, president of the grassroots civil group “Nadesiko Action,”also known as “Japanese Women for Justice and Peace.”