Nishioka Tsutomu on the comfort women (Part 3 of 4)
Posted by ampontan on Monday, December 17, 2012
NISHIOKA Tsutomu, a researcher associated with Tokyo Christian University, has been conducting research into the comfort women for more than 20 years.
Earlier this year he published an article on the subject in the biweekly Sapio magazine. He split it up into four parts on his website. Here is Part Three.
The second great uproar began when Japanese left-wing academics, encouraged by the Kono doctrine, wrote about the coercion of comfort women in junior high school textbooks. Other scholars, intellectuals, and many citizens formed the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform. In addition, the late Nakagawa Shoichi, Abe Shinzo, and other conservative politicians with a conscience joined the ranks of those who argued there was no coercion.
At the start of a live, late-night television program on the comfort women broadcast in 1997, I asked Prof. Yoshimi Yoshiaki of Chuo University if it had been proven that comfort women were forcibly seized under government authority on the Korean Peninsula. He answered that it had not. At this point, even the leftwing scholars could no longer quote the testimony of Yoshida or Kim Hak-sun.
In 2006, however, soon after the Abe Shinzo Cabinet was inaugurated, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on the Japanese government to give a formal apology to the comfort women and compensate them for sexual slavery. During a debate in the Diet, Prime Minister Abe explained there was no coercion of the comfort woman, based on the results of the domestic debate. He was harshly criticized by the American media, and bilateral relations began to grow strained. The backdrop to these developments was that an anti-Japan Japanese took the comfort woman as sex slave theory to the UN and spread the lie internationally.
It was Japanese lawyer Totsuka Etsuro who conceived of the international scheme to equate comfort women with sex slaves. He wrote rather self-importantly about his idea in War and Sex, Vol. 25, May 2006.
As a representative of the IED NGO, I first brought up the military comfort woman issue of the forced recruitment of North and South Koreans during the war at the UN Commission on Human Rights in February 1992. We demanded that the Japanese government take responsibility, and asked the UN to respond…
…Until then, there had never been a consideration of the military comfort woman issue on the basis of international law. A new investigation was necessary to determine how to evaluate the issue. As a result, I defined (the women) as sex slaves of Japan’s Imperial Army.
Totsuka’s definition was the start of the anti-Japan plot in the international community. A Japanese went to the UN and continued to slander his nation in contravention of the facts, so it was relatively easy for the diplomats of many countries to get caught up in the plot. The activities of his UN lobby included 18 trips overseas during the four-year period from 1992 to 1995. Of these, 14 were made to Europe, two to the U.S., and one each to South Korea and China. As a result of this relentless, abnormal activity, Totsuka’s sex slave theory was adopted in an official UN document in 1996.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, a special rapporteur on violence against women, submitted a report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1996 titled, “Report on the mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the issue of the military sexual slavery in wartime”. She wrote:
The Special Rapporteur would like to clarify at the outset of this report that she considers the case of women forced to render sexual services in wartime by and/or for the use of armed forces a practice of military sexual slavery.
This document is based on the testimony of Yoshida Seiji and the idea that comfort women were forcibly recruited as part of the volunteer corps. This recognition of the facts is in error. Before this report was adopted, the Foreign Ministry submitted a 40-page report in rebuttal to the Human Rights Commission. This rebuttal was suddenly withdrawn, however, and replaced with a document stating that Japan had already apologized. It made no reference to the facts of the matter. The prime minister of Japan at the time was Murayama Tomi’ichi of the Socialist Party. Since then, the Foreign Ministry has issued no rebuttal with a discussion of the facts. This was the spark for the resolution in U.S. House of Representatives.
The Yoshida book had already been discredited both in Japan and South Korea by the time it was cited in the Coomaraswamy report.