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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Revisionism and denial

The Daily Yomiuri doesn't archive material online so the original will be posted on their site for only 24 hours- thus I will reproduce the entire sad attempt at denying the commission of war crimes. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of WWII knows this is bullshit. I would urge anyone reading this to write a letter to the editor of the DY.

Asian Woman's Fund based on distortions
Yomiuri Shimbun
What was the purpose of establishing the Asian Women's Fund?
The government-authorized corporation has been in operation for about 10 years, mainly with the aim of providing allowances for purported former comfort women in other Asian countries. The corporation, which has nearly completed its mission, will be disbanded in two years.
The corporation was established in 1995. It has since collected about 600 million yen in donations from Japanese, and has given 285 purported former comfort women in South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines 2 million yen each.
It should be noted, however, that a major driving force behind the establishment of the fund was an attempt by some quarters of society to misrepresent historical facts on the purported former comfort women.
For example, some newspapers campaigned to convince the public that the system created to form corps of women volunteers eager to contribute to the war effort during World War II was an attempt by the Imperial Japanese Army to forcibly recruit women as comfort women. This did much to ensure the mistaken perception both at home and abroad that the women who worked at brothels had been forced to do so by the Imperial Army after being forcibly transported to such facilities for sexual servitude. The campaign aroused a sensational reaction, especially among South Koreans.
Kono's statement ridiculous
The Japanese government was thoughtless in dealing with the rising tide of antagonism overseas as a result of the campaign. An excellent example of this was seen in a statement issued by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono under the Cabinet of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa in August 1993. Kono's statement said "the government authorities had played a part" in what critics called "forcible transportation" of women for service at brothels.
However, the statement was unsupported by historical facts. Kono's comment has been discredited by testimony from several senior officials in the Miyazawa government, including then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobuo Ishihara. A high-ranking bureaucrat who was director general of the Cabinet Councillors' Office on External Affairs during the days of the Miyazawa Cabinet also said the same thing before the Diet.
No forcible transportations
All this shows there were no grounds for the assertion that the comfort women were victims forcibly transported to wartime brothels.
But Kono's patently false statement took on a life of its own, somehow transmogrifying to become the official view of the Japanese government about the issue of purported comfort women.
In South Korea, the statement was taken
as the Japanese government's acknowledgment of its purported "forcible transportation" of women to brothels. In Japan, too, a campaign to "compensate forcible transportation" gathered momentum. All these developments led to the establishment of the Asian Women's Fund.
The attempt by some quarters of society to distort the historical facts on purported comfort women was also one cause of the ongoing dispute between NHK and The Asahi Shimbun over which lied about an altered television program.
Kono's statement was a boon for a campaign to conduct a "women's international tribunal of war criminals" in December 2000, a mock trial the NHK program in question featured.
What criteria were adopted by the Asian Women's Fund to produce a list of women "eligible" to receive allowances? The fund was established with little effort to inspect historical facts about purported comfort women. Given this, it is no wonder that some always have viewed the fund with skepticism.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 6) Copyright 2005 The Yomiuri Shimbun

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