At the beginning of this year, President Moon Jue-In declared that the agreement which was concluded on the issue of “Comfort Women” irreversibly in December 2015 does not fully solve this controversial issue, although the Japanese government again paid 100 million dollars for the redemption to former “Comfort Women.” In studying through past negotiations on this issue, it is obvious that the Korean government does not seem to have any intention to conclude this matter. When the Japanese government formerly expressed apologies and paid the redemption to “Comfort women,” the Korean government claimed that the way of apology didn’t express enough for its repentance. Then Japan again expressed its apology, but the Korean government insisted that all the victims are not satisfied by the way of Japan’s apology. Furthermore, when Japan paid $10 billion as indemnity, the then Korean President criticized, saying, “Japan tries to settle this matter by money, not by sincere repentance.”
There are rumors that some organizations which are closely connected to the North Korean Government urge former comfort women not to receive any redemption from the Japanese government, because they may lose the best way to draw the money out from Japan. I hardly believe that the Korean government is sneaky to that extent.
In 1993, Cabinet Secretary Taro Kohno expressed his apologies on the basis of re-examination on this issue, and in 1995, on the basis of Mr. Kohno’s apologies, Prime Minister Murayama established “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” (Prime Minister Murayama was the first Prime Minister who was elected from the Socialist Party.) Then, with the letter of apology from Prime Minister Murayama, the indemnity of 2 million yen was paid from the donation of Japanese people and an additional 1.2 million yen – 3 million yen were paid from “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” for their medical expenses. However, in Korea, many organizations which support former “Comfort Women” rejected the payment from “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” and tried to persuade the former “Comfort Women” not to receive any form of redemption from the Japanese Government or from other Japanese organizations. As a result, among 240 women who claimed to be “Comfort Women,” only 60 women accepted the indemnity. “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” was established for the purpose of paying redemption to Asian women. This foundation paid redemption to women in Indonesia, The Philippines, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan and supplied medical needs and other support they needed. This fund was closed in 2007 by the completion of its ultimate purpose.
When the Pacific War started on December 8, 1941, I was a teenage girl and lived in Tokyo, Japan. From the beginning of the year 1945, I experienced indiscriminate bombing by B-29 bombers almost every night until Japan declared surrender on August 15. By the air raid by B29 bombers on March 10, 1945, more than 100 thousand people were killed by the fire bombs. Those who jumped into the Sumida River were killed by boiling water. It was estimated that more than 300 fire bombs were dropped into the Sumida River. Some people said, “it was caused by the natural consequence of your own government’s act.” Since Japan started the Pacific War by attacking Pearl Harbor, all the Japanese accepted the consequence and endured all kinds of unbearable difficulties for many years during and after the war. Many people still talk about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first and second cities where thousands people were killed by atomic bombs. However, the air raid by fire bombs in Tokyo on March 10, 1945 was as brutal as Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Those who were injured or killed did not receive any monetary assistance from the government. Whenever I mentioned indiscriminate bombing by B-29 bombers, and many large cities in Japan became burnt fields, many said, “the disaster was caused by Japan and it was the consequence of Japan’s brutal acts. It was indeed true that the disastrous cause of the war was started by Japan. Therefore, Japanese people had never complained – we just worked so hard to reconstruct our country. Then, only 20 years after the war, Japan was able to host the Olympic Games in 1965!
I would like to mention again that the hard life of “comfort women” was not caused by the war, but caused by the Japanese/Korean feudalistic societies where the status of women was not equal as men, and women who were born into poor families were forced to sacrifice their own lives for their family. After the war, particularly during last 20-30 years, many Koreans have immigrated to the U.S. Those children of new immigrants were educated in the U.S and many of them became college graduates. They are intelligent and active in local politics. However, they do not seem to know the history of the country they came from. Therefore, they invited former “Comfort Women” to speak at public and civic meetings, even at the Human Rights Committee meetings of the Congress to tell their fabricated story.
However, it is almost impossible to persuade the Korean Government not to reiterate this controversial matter, because the issue of the comfort women is the most effective tool to insult Japan and to keep receiving remuneration from Japan.
Publisher of Potomac Newsletter
●Focusing historical issue from the overseas point of view chapter 9
The Comfort Women
A fabricated story as a tool of bashing Japan! Don’t let that change true fact
I was born in 1930. I am in the same generation of those “comfort women” who allegedly insist that they were abducted by the soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army and forced to become sex slaves – or so called “comfort women.” I am a living witness of the upheaval Showa era of Japan. Although I have the deepest sympathies for those who were born in poor families and who were forced to engage in professions which would yield much greater amount of money than factory workers or baby sitters, I am appalled by the allegations which these comfort women appealed at the meeting of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. As witnesses of the most inhumane acts done by the Japanese Imperial Army whose allegations, for the most part, do not match the backgrounds of that time, it is indeed a shameless act by the Korean Government to use old women as witness at the international scene and let them speak the fabricated story which has already been denied by the Japanese people who live in the same generation.
In August 1945, Japan lost the war and was occupied by the Allied Forces led by General Douglas MacArthur. The GHQ (General Headquarters) was very eager to change Japan towards modern society, particularly the social status of women. The gates of good colleges, which were opened only to male students, had to open their gates equally to women. Japanese women over 20 years old were given voting rights and freedom of marriage, by which allowed women to marry men they chose without their parents’ consent. The most notable change was the abolition of licensed prostitution. Until 70 years ago, it was notable that chronicly poor families had many children, and even before they could finish elementary school, many girls of poor families had to work as babysitters, factory workers, and at other low-wage jobs. Some girls, particularly good-looking girls, were adopted by the owners of licensed prostitution houses and were taught about their jobs until they reached the legal age of 17 to work as prostitutes. In those days when I was a child, I noticed a big advertisement on the pole at the corner of streets that read “Help wanted – Girls for Brothel”. I asked my mother what a brothel was, and she quickly said “Children don’t have to know.” Before 1945, it was obvious that many women who were born in poor families took that kind of job at their own will in order to bring some money to their family.
Those Koreans, who are completely ignorant about the history of their own country, use “comfort women” as a tool of Japan bashing. What shameless people they are! Furthermore, in Japan, there are some people, including a honorary professor of one of the top ranking universities, who believe the fabricated story of the comfort women. Without having a bit of knowledge about the history of the feudalistic society both in Japan and Korea, those Koreans who immigrated to the U.S. with their parents and were educated in the U.S. believe the fabricated story of comfort women, and are actively working with local governments to build comfort women statues in public places such as play grounds and parks. How ignorant and shameless they are!
In June 22, 1965, The Treaty for the Basic Agreement for the Normalization of the Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea was signed by the Prime Minister of Japan and by the President of Korea. Since the first meeting to discuss the treaty was held in February 1952, it took 15 years to conclude the finalization of the Treaty. After numerous negotiations, both governments finally agreed that Japan will pay the total of $800 million as an indemnity. The assets of about $530 million owned by the Japanese government and Japanese residents in the Korean Peninsula were confiscated. During the negotiations, the Japanese Government suggested that such individual claims as forced laborers and comfort women will be taken care of by the Japanese Government. However, the Korean Government insisted that the individual compensation will be taken care of by the Korean Government.
In December 2015, Japan again paid $100 thousand dollars by the request of the then Korean President, and both countries agreed that this issue is irreversibly solved. However, some Koreans still insist to build comfort women statues in the U.S. and Canada.
In the past, the Japanese Government paid twice.
の証人として国連の人権問題委員会の公聴会やアメリカ各地の集会 で訴えまわっているお婆さんたちとまさに同年で、 昭和の激動時代を生きてきた昭和史の生き証人である。元「 慰安婦」のおばあさん達が、 アメリカ各地で全く時系列に合わない、 当時の日朝両国の社会的背景とも全く異なっている「証言」 に唖然としている。そして、彼女たちを国際社会の場で、 このような証言をさせている国の品位を問いたい。
マッカーサー元帥が率いる連合軍に占領され、 連合軍総司令部の指導のもと、 今までの封建的日本社会の改革が行われた。 中でも連合軍総司令部は女性の社会的地位の向上に熱心であった。 女性の参政権を認め、男性オンリーだった国立・ 私立大学の門戸を女性にも開放した。 親の承諾がなくても自分で選んだ男性と結婚ができる結婚の自由、 そして公娼制度の廃止等であった。
日本もそして日本の統治下の朝鮮でも公娼制度が認められていたの である。 当時は「貧乏人の子沢山」と言われた通り、 貧困家庭には子供が多かった。そして、 小学校を卒業すると男の子も女の子も、 工場や商店に年季奉公に出された。
そして娼妓として売られた者も多かった。 当時の日本でも朝鮮でも、電柱に「娼妓募集」や「 カフェー女給募集」の広告が堂々と張られてあったのである。( 私が子供の時に電柱の「娼妓募集」の広告を見て、「 娼妓ってなーに」と母に聞いたことがあった。母は慌てた声で「 子供には関係のない、知らなくてもいいことよ」と言った。) 強制連行などしなくても、 貧家に生まれた女性が親兄弟の犠牲になって応募したのである。 こういう当時の社会背景に全く無知な韓国人の戦後生まれの世代が 、アメリカやカナダで「 韓国人女性が強制連行されて日本軍の性奴隷にされた」 と言いまわっているのは、明らかに日本叩きに「慰安婦」 を利用しているのである。 私から見れば実に恥知らずの連中と呆れている。そして日本でも、 大学の名誉教授までが、 韓国の不当な言いがかりを認めているのには、 本当に情けないと思っている。この連中の歴史的無知に対して、 まだ生存している者が正しいことを伝えなければ、 日本は賠償金を取られ続けられ、世界各地に「慰安婦像」 と称する少女像を建てられるのではないかと大いに危惧している。
との間で両国の関係正常化に関する「 日本国と大韓民国との間の基本関係に関する条約」が調印された。 １９５１年にサンフランシスコ講和条約で、 日本と朝鮮の関係処理は両国の合意にゆだねられることになった。 １９５２年２月に第一次会談が開かれ、 65年の妥結にいたるまで、実に15年ものあいだ、 中断と再会を繰り返した。１９６５年６月に、日本（ 佐藤栄作総理）と韓国（朴正熙大統領）の間で調印された。
同条約は15年にわたる交渉の末に調印されたが、 調印と批准には両国で反対運動が起きた。 両国間の問題点は報償金であったが、交渉の末、総額８億ドル（ 無償３億ドル、政府借款２億ドル、民間借款３憶ドル） の援助資金と引き換えに、韓国側は請求権を放棄した。
日本政府は韓国側からの徴用者名簿等の資料提出を条件に個別補償 を行うことを提案したが、 韓国政府は個人への補償は韓国政府が行なうということで、 日本政府は「慰安婦」 への補償も当然含まれていると解釈したのである。 日本が統治時代に朝鮮半島に持っていた53億ドルの個人資産や国 有資産に対する最終請求権を放棄した。 かくて日韓基本条約によって、両国間の財産、 請求権の一切の完全かつ最終的な解決が確認されたのである。 条約は、英語、日本語、韓国語で２部づつ作成され、 両国政府で保管されている。
日本政府は村山政権のときに10億８０００万円支払い河野官房長 官が謝罪文を送った。そして、 ２０１５年の日韓両国の話し合いでさらに10億円を日本が支払っ て、この問題は「不可逆的に解決した」と日韓両国が署名した。 それでも、アメリカで「慰安婦」 像を建てろと言いまわっている韓国人の「恥知らず」には、 全く呆れている。
THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR HISTORICAL TRUTH (GAHT) www.gahtjp.org
“Kono Statement” Spoiled National Interest
After returning home from his official visit to South Korea, Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa instructed its cabinet a full investigation on the comfort women, and Japan’s response to the issue. On August 4 of the following year 1993, then-the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yohei Kono, made a statement now called “Kono Statement.” Principal parts of the Statement are shown below:
The Government of Japan has been conducting a study on the issue of wartime comfort women since December 1991. I wish to announce the findings as a result of that study.
As a result of the study which indicates that comfort stations were operated in extensive areas for long periods, it is apparent that there existed a great number of comfort women. Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military authorities of the day. The then Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of comfort stations and the transfers of comfort women. The recruitment of comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who acted in response to the request of the military. The Government study revealed that in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc., and at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments. They lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere. (skip a paragraph below)
Undeniably, this was an act with the involvement of the military authorities of the days, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apology and remorse for all those women, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. (The rest skipped) (Underlines by author)
This Kono Statement contains several ambiguous expressions. There is no wonder if “the Government of Japan was directly involved in the establishment of comfort stations, comfort women were recruited against their own will, with direct involvement of the administrative/military personnel, and they were under a coercive atmosphere, and, in addition, the Government of Japan extends its sincere apologies and remorse,” then everybody took this statement as admission of guilt by the Government of Japan. International reporters took this statement meaning that the Government of Japan recruited coercively young women and forced them to be sexual partners for its soldiers. Especially so, as Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono, during the Q/A session subsequent to his statement, admitted verbally the existence of coercive recruitment by Japanese officials. Whenever we state in the United States that the Government of Japan did not recruit comfort women coercively, nor were they “sex-slaves, ” the response is always that the Government of Japan has already admitted these points in the “Kono Statement.”
However, the Government study on which this Statement should be based revealed that there was no document that supported coercive recruitment. Then, why did the Government of Japan admitted crime in the “Kono Statement”? It took 22 years until the truth has been revealed.
On February 20th, 2014, Mr. Hiroshi Yamada, M. P. inquired Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Budget Committee meeting, the background in which the “Kono Statement” was made, and Mr. Abe promised a study. A study team, composed of experts, was appointed and its report was submitted on June 20th. According to this official report, the Government of Japan was exchanging views with the Government of South Korea. The South Korean side requested persistently the use of words which would imply “coerciveness” in the recruitment stage. The Government of Japan resisted to the request, but decided to use some words which could be interpreted as “coercive recruitment.” The Government of Japan mistakenly believed the assertion from the Korean side that once such words were in, the Government of South Korea would never complain about the issue of comfort women in the future.
The honor of Japan has been hurt seriously by this lack of prudence in diplomacy. However, the Government of Japan has not learned enough from this critical mistake. This kind of action which evades a temporary issue leads to serious long-term implications. At the time of Japan-South Korea Agreement of 2015, Japan apologized and paid money. These actions are certainly taken by observers as solid evidence of crimes committed by Japan.
Koichi Mera, Ph. D.
President, GAHT-US Corporation
THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR HISTORICAL TRUTH (GAHT) www.gahtjp.org
THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR HISTORICAL TRUTH (GAHT) www.gahtjp.org
Japan Defamed by Seiji Yoshida and Asahi Newspaper
When we talk about comfort women, we have to refer to Seiji Yoshida. He published his book My War Crimes in 1983 and became a sensation. This book tells a story that when he received an order from the Western Military Command during the wartime of May 1943, he took several subordinates to Cheju Island of Korea and abducted 205 young women. In other words, a team of Japanese military was sent to an area outside of its command area, and hunted young women by threatening with wooden swords, and sent them by trucks to central China where Japanese military troops were stationing. His descriptions on the locations where the team gathered young women were very precise. For example, he wrote they hunted 16 young women at a button factory in a certain town.
This book had been publicized widely by Asahi Newspaper. If this news were issued earlier in the postwar years, some of those who knew the comfort women issues well might have protested Asahi Newspaper as fake news to a possible result that the author confessed it was a novel. But, at that time, nobody challenged Asahi Newspaper. It might have been as a result of the authority that Asahi Newspaper had acquired over the years.
However, there were several who doubted the contents of the book. First, some of the residents in Cheju Island raised questions. This book was translated into Korean and published in 1989. Immediately after its publication, local news reporter, Ms. Heo Young-seon visited the factory and fishing villages where Yoshida wrote he abducted young women without obtaining confirmation. Historian Ikuhiko Hata (Professor at Nihon University at that time), having concern about the credibility of Yoshida’s book, visited Cheju Island in 1992. He visited the places where Yoshida claimed he picked up a certain number of young women without getting any confirmation. He confirmed an aged person had said before, “In this village of having only 250 homes, if 15 women were Ikuhiko Hata , it must have been a very tragic event, and everybody would still remember such an incident.” He reported his findings that the book was not based on fact in the June 1992 issue of Seiron.
Nonetheless, Asahi Newspaper kept reporting the women hunting by Yoshida as historical records. Since the second half of 1991 when the issue of comfort women became a hot topic, Asahi Newspaper reported four times in one year on Yoshida’s women hunting trip to Cheju Island.
Furthermore, Asahi Newspaper reported on its front page of the morning issue of January 11, 1992 the direct involvement of the Japanese military with comfort women. The article reported with an explanation by Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki of Chuo University that a public document was discovered in the Archives of the Ministry of Defense which proved that the military was supervising and controlling the recruitment of comfort women and the installation of comfort stations. This story was made public immediately before the planned departure of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa to South Korea on January 16th. However, the role of the military in such supervision and regulation had been known before and was not news at that time. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister and his supporting staff were stunned as they did not know the details and did not have experience in the war. They struggled in finding appropriate responses. As a result, then-Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa repeated “apologies” in his talk with his counterpart and in his talk to the South Korean Parliament, and promised “truth-finding” upon his return. It was reported that Miyazawa expressed “apologies and remorse” eight times during the talk with President Roh Tae-woo.
Since then, Japan undertook research on comfort women and could not find any support to the assertion of coercive recruitment. The stories told by Yoshida have been recognized as fiction. Especially during the year of 2014 in which the issue of comfort women became a hit issue, Asahi Newspaper, upon serious internal debates, had to make a public announcement on their errors. On the front pages of the morning issues of August 5th and 6th Asahi Newspaper announced that their 16 articles on Seiji Yoshida in the past were in errors. Indeed, it was 32 years after its first reporting on Yoshida in 1982. However, in its English language edition, Asahi Newspaper has not made full disclosure of their mistakes.
Koichi Mera, Ph. D.
President, GAHT-US Corporation
THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR HISTORICAL TRUTH (GAHT) www.gahtjp.org
なでしこアクション Japanese Women for Justice and Peace
Comfort Women Issue: Fake News and the Facts
Many people in the world believe comfort women as the following:
“During WW2, atrocious Japanese military personnel abducted hundreds of thousands of girls, and forced them into sexual servitude. They were called comfort women. Most of them were tortured, killed and died. It was an act of sexual human trafficking and a war crime committed by the Japanese military.”
What makes people believe this? One of the reasons is media coverage.
The word “comfort women” is not a common word in English. So everytime the word “comfort women” appears in a news article, it is always followed by an explanation. Let’s see how newspapers and news agencies explained the word “comfort women” in articles published this year:
• The Washington Post (January 31)
“Historians say as many as 200,000 women in occupied countries were coerced by the Japanese Imperial Army to work as sex slaves, euphemistically known as “comfort women.”
• The Wall Street Journal (January 9)
“[Comfort women were] women forced into sexual service for Japanese soldiers.”
• The New York Times (January 12)
“[Comfort women were] women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II.”
• Reuters (January 8)
“Comfort women”, a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels… as many as 200,000 Korean women were forced to work in the brothels.”
• Deutsche Welle, Germany (January 12)
“[Comfort women were] women who were forced to work in frontline brothels for the Japanese military from the start of the occupation of the Korean Peninsula in 1910 until the end of the war in 1945.”
• The Straits Times, Singapore (January 12)
“Between 80,000 and 200,000 women, mostly from the Korean Peninsula but also from China, Taiwan and South-east Asia, had been recruited to provide sex to the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.”
• Asahi Shimbun, English version (January 9)
“…the former comfort women, who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. Many of them came from the Korean Peninsula.”
• The Japan Times (January 10)
“[Comfort women were] women forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels”
Which article do you think is correct?
The answer is none. For the correct definition of “comfort women”, please read the excerpt from “What were the comfort women?” by Ph.D. Koichi Mera in chapter 2 of the January 27th edition.
The problem is that all the reporters and journalists copy and paste the defiition of “comfort women” from past articles, without doing their own research.
Some reporters are Japanese. They must be able to read Japanese materials, but never seem to research on their own, or may intentionally write Japan as the villain.
What are common in the articles above are the words “enforcement”, “sex slaves” and “Japanese atrocities against women.” Because all media writes based on these images, the fabricated narrative of “comfort women” penetrates and disseminates more and more.
This situation is caused because, for many years , the Japanese government did not refute the fabrications with the facts, but instead made political compromises and apologized with ambiguous expressions. The Japanese government is changing now, but it is still not enough. We must send more information overseas.
We should not just complain about this situation, but do something positive as a civil group. So, we have published the pocket booklet entitled “What is “Comfort Women”? BASIC FACTS.” We have made both English and Japanese versions.
People usually do not care about the comfort women issue, especially those who are not Japanese. They do not read thick, profound books either. So, we made this booklet very easy to read for beginners who are new to the comfort women issue and would like to learn about it. The content is a simple Q&A style with lots of figures and photos. It is postcard size, and is 32-pages in full color. If you would like a copy, please visit our “Nadeshiko Action” website for more details.
We really hope that you will read and use this booklet, and also hope that many people will understand the comfort women issue, instead of being misled by fake news.
(Yumiko Yamamoto is the president of the grass roots civil group “Nadesiko Action”, also known as “Japanese Women for Justice and Peace”.)
NADESIKO ACTION Japanese Women for Justice and Peace http://nadesiko-action.org
なでしこアクション Japanese Women for Justice and Peace http://nadesiko-action.org
●Focusing on historical issues from the overseas point of view in 5 chapters
Comfort Women Statue in San Francisco:
Influence on School Education and Children
Hello, everyone! I am Yumiko Yamamoto, president of the grassroots civil group “Nadesiko Action,” also referred to as “Japanese Women for Justice and Peace.” Our goal is to not pass on the negative legacy of the comfort women issue, which fabricates the historical narrative that “comfort women were sex slaves” to the next generation.
Last year, a comfort women statue was erected in San Francisco. Plans for the statue started in July 2015 when a resolution, “Urging the Establishment of a Memorial for ‘Comfort Women’” was first proposed at the Board of San Francisco. Since then, for more than two years, together with Japanese and Japanese American women in San Francisco, our struggle and actions against the comfort women statue had begun. We organized several petition and signature gathering campaigns and opposition email campaigns. These women went to the committee and board meetings to speak many times and delivered materials and documents to the board of supervisors and staff. We tried everything we could very diligently and patiently. At the very last board meeting of last November, when San Francisco finally accepted the comfort women statue, we were told to wait for six hours before public comments could be made, but still we spoke against the statue. Despite our tremendous effort, it was very disappointing that the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco gave us no support.
Korean American civil groups have erected comfort women monuments and statues in the United States. However, in San Francisco, the Chinese American civil group called the “Comfort Women Justice Coalition” was the organizer. Two Chinese American women are co-chairs. Both are retired judges of the California high court, and one of them was a founder of “The Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition” in 1998. In addition, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco supported them.
Naturally, a Korean American group cooperated with the coalition. The group invited a self-proclaimed former comfort woman to the board meetings and ceremonies, attracting big media attention. This elderly Korean woman is the one who hugged President Trump at the banquet on his visit to the Republic of Korea in November last year. She is akin to a famous spokesperson of the comfort women support group “Chong Dae Hyup,” which is known as a pro-North Korean group.
I have watched the San Francisco board of supervisors in recent years, and I felt their very strong discrimination against Japanese and Japanese Americans who opposed the comfort women statue. The board is an official and public place. They must listen to the pros and cons with fairness. But, a chairman once interrupted an opposition speaker and called him “a history denier.” One supervisor said to the people who spoke against the comfort women statue, “Shame on you!” four times. Later he received a letter of protest, but he replied with “Shame on you!” again. Some people say that San Francisco is now one of the autonomous regions of China. As far as I have seen with the San Francisco board, I totally agree with this opinion.
Now, what we must concern ourselves with most is the influence on the children. The comfort women statue in San Francisco is placed in a public park in town. On a big signboard, explanations of the statue are inscribed in five languages: English, Korean, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese. They read, “Comfort women who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces” and, “Most of these women died during their wartime captivity.” This park will likely be one of many field trip destinations for schools.
In California, the Board of Education decided to include “Comfort women as institutionalized sexual slavery” in the high school curriculum since last year. There are an estimated 6.2 million students in California. Their backgrounds are multicultural and multinational. They will be educated with this false notion of “comfort women” for years. We must concern ourselves with its terrible influence on future decades.
We must not leave fabricated history to our children. Let me introduce the “Nadesiko Action” approach to this in the next chapter.
Yumiko Yamamoto, president of the grassroots civil group “Nadesiko Action,”also known as “Japanese Women for Justice and Peace”.
NADESIKO ACTION Japanese Women for Justice and Peace http://nadesiko-action.org
●Focusing historical issue from the overseas point of view chapter 4
A comfort women memorial to be erected in Fort Lee
Fort Lee, a town of 37,000 in Bergen County, NJ sits on the Hudson River and offers a magnificent view of Manhattan. It has 2,100 Japanese residents, the largest concentration of Japanese in New Jersey. Its easy access to Manhattan is convenient for many Japanese commuters. While Japanese population declined slightly, the population of Korean- Americans has risen to roughly 30% of Fort Lee residents. Many of them work as retailers, medical doctors, police officers, municipal workers and car dealers. The Korean population of the town adjoining Fort Lee, Palisade’s Park, is almost 65 %. Many official notices and letters from public schools, medical offices are written in both English and Korean. As the number of Koreans has increased in these boroughs, Korean political influence has also grown. Today, 2 of the 6 Fort Lee councilmen are Korean-Americans. In 2013, the “comfort women” issue entered local politics for the first time. Since then, there have been three proposals to build a “comfort women” monument in Fort Lee, but all failed because some Koreans feared ethnic divisiveness.
In June 2016, YCFL,( The Youth Council of Fort Lee) a group of high school activists proposed erecting a “comfort women” memorial. Local newspapers explained that YCFL was organized after students saw the film, ”Spirits’ Homecoming.” The group held a contest for the design of the monument and poem to be inscribed on it. The final design of the memorial shows a poem by a Korean high school girl. Although she makes no mention of the Japanese military, she describes a young Korean girl’s suffering sexual assaults during the War. The poem clearly points its finger at Japan.
When I attended the September 7th. 2017 hearing of the Fort Lee Borough council, YCFL insisted that it was not criticizing Japan, but only commemorating “comfort women” survivors. However, in an interview by “Record China”, the same youngsters stated that “Japanese students are studying incorrect history at school. Therefore, we need to teach them the truth about history by building“comfort women” memorials.”
Because Himawari Japan believes that the proposed memorial will create irreparable division between the Korean and Japanese communities, we protested the proposal to Mayor Sokolich and the Borough council. We presented a petition from 5,922 people opposing the monument, pointed out that the monument will encourage bullying of Japanese students in the schools, and we distributed pamphlets in English containing all our objections.
One of our biggest obstacles has been the Japanese government’s vacillation over the past twenty years. Despite the fact that Japan had paid South Korea $800,000,000, the equivalent of 3 years of Korea’s national budget, under a 1965 treaty covering all losses suffered by Korea during the War, Korea never stopped demanding more apologies and money. Under the Treaty, all Koreans including “comfort women” should have been compensated from the money already paid to South Korea. However, the Japanese government’s indecisive response may seem somewhat incomprehensible to foreigners. It reflects the Japanese desire for harmony by ending disputes even if the alleged wrongs have been paid. Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich explained, “ I think the blame lies upon Japan because the Japanese government paid compensation to South Korea. Why do you pay if you don’t admit you were wrong?” Despite our explanations, on December 14th. 2017, the Borough council voted unanimously in favor of the memorial.
This is just the beginning of our fight against anti-Japanese propaganda. Despite the odds against us, we are determined to fight to recover the pride and honor of our country. Modern Japan, unlike our neighbors, is the sole constitutional democracy in East Asia. It has, in its constitution, surrendered the right to wage war. Instead, Japan is dedicated to world peace and helping other countries. Japan is the world’s fourth largest donor of foreign aid. As of 2012, eighty-eight nations all over the world received Japanese help, including the People’s Republic of China. For decades, Japan has helped South Korea in economic and social development and assists developing countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and the Middle East.
The face of modern Japan, over 70 years after the War, is that of a peaceful, productive, and helpful neighbor. This is the truth that South Korea chooses to ignore. In reality, the “ comfort women” issue has nothing to do with “healing” war victims. Its true aim is to damage the image of Japan and hurt Japanese people wherever they may reside.
President Himawari JAPAN
●Focusing on historical issues from the overseas point of view chapter 3
Himawari Japan’s role in the Comfort Women issue
One day, a Japanese girl came home from school very upset and said to her mother,” Mom, I’m ashamed of being Japanese! “ Why did she have to make such a terrible remark to her mother? Earlier that day, a Korean classmate had criticized Japan to her face in front of her class, saying that “Japanese soldiers had kidnapped more than two hundred thousand Korean women, mostly young girls only twelve or thirteen years old, for sexual slavery and eventual massacre.”
This is one of the examples of school bullying and bias that young Japanese nationals face today in New Jersey and New York. The problems of anti-Japanese bias continues to grow. Much of this stems from the growing presence of comfort women monuments in neighborhood parks and from public school history miseducation about Japan. One of the largest history book publishers, McGraw-Hill, includes many anti-Japanese descriptions in its modern world history books. These texts state that the Japanese Army abducted girls between 14 and 20 years of age and forced them to serve in Army brothels called “Comfort Stations” or “Entertainment Centers.” When the Army provided soldiers with these women, it referred to them as “the gift from the Emperor.” The books also claim that most of the girls were Koreans or Chinese. Each had to service 20 to 30 men a day. If anyone tried to escape or contracted a sexually transmitted disease, she would be executed. As the end of war approached, to hide their crimes, the soldiers massacred many comfort women. However, we believe these stories are untrue and were created as anti-Japanese propaganda. When these stories are relayed by American history teachers, sometimes Chinese and Korean students become angry. Japanese mothers have reported that their children have been called rapists and terrorists, and even spat upon. Upon hearing of the mistakes that McGraw-Hill had made in its books, a group of nineteen Japanese scholars, in March 2015, sent a statement to the publisher requesting correction of these factual errors. They presented the publisher with correct information supported by numerous government records, including American post-war military investigative reports. So far, there has been no response.
Another example of anti-Japanese education occurred in New York and New Jersey where school districts presented two extremely anti-Japanese movies, “The Cove” and “Unbroken”, to their high school students on several occasions. When the teachers asked the audience its opinion about what they saw, all the Japanese students lowered their heads and said nothing.
One World War II veteran visited schools in New Jersey and New York in 2015 and 2016 to speak about his first-hand experiences as a war prisoner of Japan. He told elementary school children that he has seen a Japanese soldier stab a baby with a bayonet and began eating it in front of everybody. Imagine Japanese youngsters having to listen to this with their American classmates! This is psychological abuse for Japanese children. Why do teachers have to emphasize the alleged horrors of a war that ended more than 70 years ago? What is the point of propagandizing in American schools that Japan is the eternal enemy of decency in the world?
Showing cruel movies only results in creating conflicts among innocent children. When I found out about these incidents, I was so humiliated and outraged that I had to do something. Coincidentally, I had the opportunity to meet Professor Shiro Takahashi of Meisei University who was visiting America to do research about “bullying issues”stemming from historical disputes in the United States. This meeting prompted me to begin organizing in June 2016 our “Himawari Japan” group. Our members are Japanese women who live in New York and New Jersey.
Our goal is helping troubled Japanese people who live in America. We want to inform both Japanese and Americans about the truth of world history, Japan’s role in the modern world, and problems miseducation inflicts on our children in America. We want Japanese children to live with pride.
Himawari Japan’s activities include distributing historical documents in English to local schools when needed. We help Japanese children and parents with problems at public schools. We can also assist Japanese parents reporting any anti-Japanese harassment to the Japanese Consulate in New York and in some cases to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
At present, we are working with Japanese historians and researchers from various institutions by hosting lectures on relevant historical issues. We intend to do our best to explain true Japanese history, particularly about the comfort women issue, with the hope of resolving the problem someday.
President of Himawari JAPAN
●Focusing historical issue from the overseas point of view chapter 2
WHAT WERE THE COMFORT WOMEN?
Then, what were the Comfort Women? This issue is discussed in detail by Historian Ikuhiko Hata in his book published in 1999, The Comfort Women and the Sex in the Battlefields. The Imperial Armed Forces of Japan established “Comfort Stations” in which Comfort Women worked in Shanghai in 1932. At that time, as reactions to the Manchurian incident, the Chinese troops attacked the small Japanese Naval brigade in January. Immediately Japan dispatched Army troops to Shanghai. The Japanese side successfully repelled the opposing troops, made a ceasefire agreement in March, and the Army troops went back home in May. However, during their stay, many raping incidents of local girls were reported. Thus, staff officers of the dispatched troops initiated a request to Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture to send a group of female entertainers. As a result, the raping cases vanished.
The Comfort Stations established lasted only for two months because the troops went home soon after. But, the scheme of the Comfort Stations and Comfort Women established in Shanghai had been maintained ever since then. The principal components of the scheme were: (1) Comfort Stations should be prepared and managed by private entities according to the rules set by the Armed Forces. (2) The facilities could be used only by military and military-related persons. (3)There should be one holiday every month. (4)Those who obtained license to operate must present to the Military Police the name, nationality, the date of birth, resume, and photo of each female worker called Comfort Woman. (5)Once every week Military doctor would review the health of each worker , and those workers who were diagnosed to be ill were not allowed to work. (6)Condoms and disinfectants should be used. (7)Working hours should be from 10AM through 6 PM, and 7PM through 10PM. (8)The fee should range from 1 yen through 1.50 yen. (9)Workers should not be allowed to go out of the permitted zone without a permit. (10)The facility managers would be deprived of the permit if they did not follow the rules on the division of income between the manager and the workers. In other words, the managers of Comfort Stations were placed under strict supervision by the Military.
From the above description, it is known that this system of Comfort Women was for protecting local women and girls from sexual violence and for protecting soldiers and women from sexually transmitted diseases. This was a rare case in which military forces had adopted an organized policy on the sexual pressure of service persons. Behind this policy was a publicly accepted system of prostitution in Japan.
It is said from the ancient times that prostitution is the oldest profession of women. In modern times, for preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, prostitution was granted an official status when the workers were registered in France and other places during the 19th century. In Japan as well, the registration system of public prostitution requiring parental permission was started toward the end of the 19th century. Workers were allowed to quit the job. The Comfort Women of Japan were established in this environment.
When the Pacific War was started in 1941, the Japanese military troops went to not only in China, but also to several countries in Southeast Asia. Accordingly, the number of Comfort Women increased. They were recruited not only within Japan proper but also in Korea and Taiwan which were parts of Japan. Some of women from China, Indonesia, Philippines had been added. The situation of Comfort Women at that time has been reported in the United States Office of War Information Psychological Warfare Team’s report NO. 49. This report is based on interviews with 20 Korean Comfort Women who were captured in Burma. The report which was written in 1944 presents the following:
Recruiting: They were recruited by Japanese managers in 1942, with a promise of high income. The exact nature of work was not explained.
Daily Life: Each woman was given a room in which she lived and took customers. Meals were provided by the Japanese couple who managed the Comfort Station and paid for by the Comfort Women. As they had a lot of money, they had a luxurious life. As they received periodic health checks, their heath conditions were good.
Work Conditions: As the number of Comfort Women was small relative to the demand, they had to keep service time strictly. A soldier was served up to 30 minutes, and an officer up to 40 minutes. They worked from 10AM through 12 AM, and had Wednesdays off duty, on which they received health checks. Comfort Women requested customers to use condoms and were careful in heath matters.
Remuneration: Generally, the managers took a half to 55% of the gross income, and the rest went to the Comfort Women. Each Comfort Woman took roughly 750 yen per month. The salary of a freshman soldier was 7.50 yen and sergeant 25 yen per month. Their income was exceptional.
Relationship with Japanese Soldiers: Generally the soldiers were kind to them, having parties together, and some requesting marriage. There are some cases of actual marriage.
Then, this report concluded that the Comfort Women were nothing more than prostitutes.
Koichi Mera, Ph. D.
President, GAHT-US Corporation
●Focusing historical issue from the overseas point of view chapter 1
COMFORT WOMEN STATUES ARE SPREADING TO MANY CITIES IN THE U.S.
On November 22, 2017, Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco officially endorsed the offer to annex the property containing statues of Comfort Women to City’s public park located within its China Town. With this, the number of monuments having comfort women statues had increased to three. The first was the one in the City of Glendale in California installed in July 2013. The second was four years later in the City of Brookhaven, GA in June 2017. These are small and medium cities. San Francisco is the first one among big cities.
These three monuments have a statue of a Comfort Woman (three comfort women in the case of San Francisco) as the focal point. There have been several monuments in public places containing drawings of Comfort Women before. The first was the one at the entrance to the public library on Palisades Park, NJ installed in October 2010. This plaque reads: “In memory of the more than 200,000 women and girls who were abducted by the armed forces of the government of Imperial Japan 1930’s-1945 known as ‘comfort women,’ they endured human right violations that no peoples should leave unrecognized. Let us never forget the horrors of crimes against humanity.” These descriptions contain several statements contrary to the historical facts, and are colored by anti-Japan sentiments. Later in 2012, a similar monument was built in Westbury, Nassau County outside of New York City. During 2013, another in Westbury, and a similar plaque in Hackensack, New Jersey were built. Then, in 2014, one in Fairfax County, VA, and another in Union City, NJ were erected. Since then, there was no activity for a while. This is due to the lawsuit against the City of Glendale as explained later. Then, when the lawsuit was about to end in the beginning of 2017, the erection of comfort women memorials has resumed.
These monuments have been built on the basis of the Resolution 121 against the Government of Japan which was approved in 2007 by the U.S. House of Representatives. This resolution was initiated ironically by Japanese –American, Mike Honda, then-Representative from a Silicon Valley district in California. This resolution was in turn based on the report on “Comfort Women” prepared by Special Reporter Radhika Coomaraswamy for the United Nations. She asserted they were coercively recruited, and became “sex slaves,” and endured extreme hardship going through repeated rapes, sexual violence, and abortions, and concluded that the system was the notable human trafficking of the twentieth century, and demanded apology to the Government of Japan. Even though this resolution was adopted in the House of Representatives, it was not discussed in the Senate. President Bush at the time kept some distance to the resolution. There are three important points in the resolution: (1) they were coercively recruited, (2) they were sex-slaves without freedom, and (3) the Government of Japan committed crimes of human rights violations.
Not only the resolution has led several cities to erect monuments for comfort women, but several states and cities have also made resolutions accusing the Government of Japan. They include States of New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, and cities of Milpitas, Fullerton and San Francisco, all in California.
This biased understanding of Comfort Women was originated from the U.N. Special Reporter’s report as stated above, and the report was made after a brief visit to Japan, South Korea, and North Korea (which was planned, but not visited). Thus, it was written largely on the basis of a book written by George Hicks, which was one of very few books written on Comfort Women at the time. Then, this book was written by believing the stories of girls hunting by gun-point written in My War Crimes by Seiji Yoshida, which was already discredited at the time. Thus, the Coomaraswamyreport is not credible either.
As I shall describe subsequently, the honor of Japan was hurt seriously by a careless report by the United Nations. The report spread the news of human rights violations around the world, and accused Japan for crimes of human rights violations which were not committed. The South Korean people, which is competing with Japan in every occasion, found this report highly usable for the purpose of disdaining Japan. Thus, they are promoting the spirit of the Resolution 121, and installing the statues of Comfort Women in every possible location within the United States