AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Congress backstabs US ally; Times lie trashes Abe

Posted by ampontan on Monday, March 5, 2007

WE BOTH KNOW that sticking pins into the head of rattlesnakes, wrote Herbert Hoover to a friend the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, is what got this country bit.

The US cut off the head of that rattlesnake more than a half century ago, so why are the House of Representatives and the New York Times now sticking pins in the voodoo doll they’ve created of contemporary Japan? The House seems poised to pass a maudlin, facile resolution about comfort women during the Second World War, taking at face value the word of a woman who can’t get her story straight and whose testimony may be fraudulent. Meanwhile, the Times has added fuel to the fire by intentionally—and maliciously–garbling a quote from Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

It’s not clear what they intend to accomplish, but one thing is certain—they are gratuitously offending our staunchest ally in Asia and creating unnecessary difficulties for the Abe administration’s heretofore successful efforts at rapprochement with its Northeast Asian neighbors.

Then again, knowing the New York Times, that may be one of the things they do hope to accomplish—the other being to bring down the Abe government. And considering that it’s the word of the Times and its butchered quote in English against the actual words of Prime Minister Abe in Japanese, they might just get away with it.

The resolution calling for Japan’s prime minister to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility” for using “comfort women,” is being sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda, a San Jose, CA Democrat, who has used the Japanese as his pincushion before. This is the fifth such resolution introduced in the House, but with the new Democratic majority, the first one to have a real chance of passage. The resolution does not ask the Japanese to compensate the women.

Typical of the American media coverage is this article from the San Jose Mercury:

Elderly and stooped, their voices tremulous with anger, three women Thursday told a hushed congressional committee how they survived systematic rape and enslavement by the Japanese military during World War II, but never received an official apology.
The victims, who were known during the war by the cruel euphemism “comfort women,” pleaded with Congress to adopt a resolution sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda, a San Jose Democrat. It urges Japan to apologize officially for coercing up to 200,000 women into sexual slavery as a matter of policy.
The Japanese government opposes the resolution, and worked to defeat a similar effort in Congress last year. But backers believe it has a better chance this year, in part because of the emotional testimony.

Emotional testimony, indeed, amplified by the emotional language of a news report written by a journalist who hammered down a verdict without making the effort to fulfill the journalistic responsibility of impartiality before investigating what actually happened.

Fortunately, the Australian-based blogger Occidentalism decided to do their work for them. For example, he found that one of the three witnesses, Lee Yong-soo, gave sharply inconsistent accounts of her experience within a matter of days.

On February 15, Lee told the House Committee:

(My friend Kim) Punsun knocked on my window early in the morning, and whispered to me to follow her quietly. I tip-toed out of the house after her. I left without telling my mother. I was wearing a dark skirt, a long cotton blouse buttoned up at the front and slippers on my feet. I followed my friend until we met the same man who had tried to approach us on the riverbank. He looked as if he was in his late thirties and he wore a sort of People’s Army uniform with a combat cap. Altogether, there were five girls with him, including myself.

But earlier CNN reports had her giving a different story in Tokyo:

Lee Yong-soo, 78, a South Korean who was interviewed during a recent trip to Tokyo, said she was 14 when Japanese soldiers took her from her home in 1944 to work as a sex slave in Taiwan.
“The Japanese government must not run from its responsibilities,” said Lee, who has long campaigned for Japanese compensation. “I want them to apologize. To admit that they took me away, when I was a little girl, to be a sex slave. To admit that history.” “I was so young. I did not understand what had happened to me,” she said. “My cries then still ring in my years. Even now, I can’t sleep.”

Well, which story is true? Did the 16-year-old Lee sneak out of the house with a friend in the middle of the night in 1944 to meet a procurer, or was the 14-year-old Lee snatched from her home in 1944 against her will?

In fact, Lee has told six different versions of her story. The variations range from the story above, which she told the House committee, to “Japanese soldiers took me from my home at gunpoint”, which she tells Japanese audiences at conferences sponsored by her local supporters.

Had the media done its basic homework, it would have discovered there are three possibilities for what happened:

Possibility One: They did it for the money

Occidentalism’s Gerry Bevers has produced two advertisements from Korean newspapers in 1944 soliciting comfort women—the precise phrase used in Japanese.

The ad on the left was placed in the Gyeongseong Ilbo on July 16, 1944 and offered women between seventeen and twenty-three years old 300 yen per month to work as “comfort women.” It also offered an advance payment of 3,000 yen. The ad on the right was placed in the Maeil Shinmun on October 27, 1944 and also offered 300 yen per month for “healthy” women between eighteen and thirty.

The advertisements are in Japanese, and as a professional Japanese-English translator, I can vouch for Bevers’s explanation. According to links at this site, 300 yen per month was equivalent to $US 70.00 in 1941. (No figures are available for 1944.) According to this site, that could be equivalent to anywhere from roughly $755 to $6,880 in 2005 dollars, depending on the conversion standards. Multiply by ten, of course, to get the bonus.

So one possibility is that Lee had an idea what she was getting into, and did it for cash on the barrelhead. This is a very important point, because a discussion of this possibility is precisely what the New York Times left out of the Abe statement.

It is also possible–in fact, probable–that in many cases their fathers did it for the money. Though this BBC article supports the cause of comfort women, it also clearly reports one woman’s admission that the Japanese weren’t responsible for her involvement:

Kim Gunja suspects that her foster father, a policeman, sold her for money or a promotion

Keep in mind that this is Asia; men with little or no financial means, who had too many mouths to feed, or who found themselves in debt, sold their daughters for money. Prostitution in those days was not illegal. It doesn’t happen any more in South Korea or Japan, but it still happens today in other parts of Asia.

Possibility Two: They worked in a factory instead of a brothel

As astonishing as it may seem, that is the claim of one South Korean researcher, Ji Man-won. As the English-language edition of the Chosun Ilbo reported in April 2005:

The controversial military commentator Ji Man-won has come under fire again after saying that claims by some women to have been drafted into sexual slavery as “comfort women” by the Japanese Army were fraudulent.
Ji said on his website on Wednesday and Thursday that only 33 women had been confirmed former “comfort women,” or Chongshindae, by Shim Mi-ja, a comfort woman whose painful past was acknowledged by the Japanese Supreme Court. Ji said none of the 33 took part in a protest former comfort women stage every Wednesday in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul…Ji claimed no more than 20 percent of all comfort women were forcefully conscripted by Japan, while the rest were ordinary prostitutes trying to escape from poverty

The Japanese version of the article, which is still on line here, adds some information. That source reports Ji has classified comfort women into three groups. The first are the military comfort women. The second group are called “jugun comfort women” in Japanese. In this context, the term “jugun” roughly translates to camp follower. The third group are called “teishintai“.

This third group requires some explanation. It literally means volunteer corps. The term was used to refer to Japanese women at home who volunteered to work in factories and other locations for the war effort. At first they were simply volunteers, but they were given legal status in 1943, and by 1944, when the situation in Japan deteriorated, they were conscripted. The name “volunteer” was kept, but the Japanese have always had a taste for euphemism, as the term “comfort women” itself indicates.

In Korea, the latter group seems not to have been volunteers at all. The female “volunteer corps” in Korea were conscripted into the war effort at the same time as the Japanese women. Some of these women were as young as 12 years old. One Japanese language website quotes a newspaper report from 1992 that states school records indicate girls aged 12-14 were removed from one school and taken to Toyama Prefecture as laborers. One of the students testified they had to work 14 hours a day with insufficient food. (It is unlikely that Japanese women working in factories had sufficient food at that time, either.)

Thus, Ji seems to be stating that South Korean authorities are lumping comfort women, prostitutes, and conscripted female laborers into the category of comfort women, and that the comfort women providing sex were just 20% of this total.

Possibility Three: They’re telling the truth

The Imperial Japanese Army may well have abducted these women from their homes and forced them into sexual slavery. Every army in war sexually abuses the women of the territory it has conquered. That’s not a justification, but it is a fact.

But if that is the case, one wonders what the women hope to accomplish by making a Federal case out of it when they already have what they want.

Do they want an official apology from the Japanese government? Well, they’ve already got it, here. That’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei, the official government spokesman, talking:

The Government again would like to express its sincere apology and remorse to all those who have suffered indescribable hardship as so-called “wartime comfort women”, irrespective of their nationality or place of birth. With profound remorse and determination that such a mistake must never be repeated, Japan will maintain its stance as a pacifist nation and will endeavor to build up new future-oriented relations with the Republic of Korea and with other countries and regions in Asia.

There’s a longer statement in Japanese, here, from the same Foreign Affairs Ministry website. In that, Kono says the comfort women were obtained “primarily” by independent businessmen, though also admits the army played a direct role at times.

It does not speak well of the Imperial Japanese Army for outsourcing the procurement of comfort women to pimps, but it does show that the Japanese government did look at the historical records, that the Japanese-language newspaper ads Bevers cites were legitimate, and that Lee just might have snuck out of the house at night with a friend to volunteer for duty.

One wonders about the point of this game playing. It makes no difference whether the Japanese Diet says it, the Japanese Prime Minister says it, or the Chief Cabinet Secretary says it—the Japanese have already officially admitted it and apologized for it.

Do they want reparations? As the media reports indicate, the House resolution does not ask for reparations. But the CNN report has Lee asking for compensation.

But if that’s what she wants, compensation is available from the Asian Women’s Fund, which was established with the assistance of the Japanese government. The funds come from private donations, because the Japanese government claims it has already paid war reparations.

In fact, the Japanese government reached an agreement with South Korea about reparations in 1965. Seoul wanted $US 364 million as compensation for the conscripted laborers and comfort women during the period of the Japanese colonization. The agreement instead gave South Korea $800 million in grants and low-interest loans. President Park agreed as part of the deal that South Koreans would relinquish the right to make individual claims against the Japanese government. However, Park paid out only about $251 million to families killed by the Japanese and some more to owners of destroyed property. None of the South Koreans conscripted into the Japanese military or workforce, or the comfort women, received anything. Park spent the rest of the money on the Korean infrastructure. The South Korean public only found out about this deal and Park’s use of the money in January 2005.

Indeed, the reason Park distributed money to property owners and not comfort women may have been because he knew this fact: Many of the comfort women either got involved voluntarily, or because one of their relatives sold them, as we’ve seen by the statements of the women themselves, quoted above. He also likely knew it was not possible to determine the truth in individual cases, and separate those who were perhaps exploited by the Japanese and those who weren’t.

Lee’s had an admission and an apology, money is available from the Asian Women’s Fund, and the Japanese government has already paid compensation to the Korean government. What else is it that she wants, assuming her story is true? To play a role on the world’s political stage? The chance to work off her share of the Korean grudge against Japan? Or to get more money while the getting’s good before the AWF expires later this month?

And what exactly is the point of Honda’s posturing? We all know Mencken’s dictum that the chief occupation of a politician is to create hobgoblins so he can play the hero and slay them, but this isn’t even an American hobgoblin to start with. The meddlesome Congressman doesn’t bother to waste his time and ours with the usual American issues—he has to stick his nose into a bilateral relationship that doesn’t involve the US and risk an international incident. If he wants to get involved in international issues, why isn’t he sponsoring legislation condemning the Soviet Army for raping its way across Eastern Europe in 1945? Does he want to legitimize the segment of public opinion in Japan that complains about victor’s justice? As this report shows, the Japanese are none too happy with his activities.

Prime Minister Abe has said that it’s natural for countries that believe in liberty, free markets, free speech, and the rule of law to be allies. He’s also made it clear that he thinks the alliance with the US is the key to Japanese foreign policy. So what does Honda, an ethnic Japanese, hope to accomplish by what the Japanese could legitimately consider a betrayal of trust?

Not having a degree in psychology, I couldn’t begin to speculate on the motives of these people.

Psychology may not be required with the New York Times, however. In their case, it may just be simple venality.

Again, Occidentalism did the spadework to uncover the Times’s deceit, here:

The original quotes in Japanese were –
「当初定義されていた強制性を裏付ける証拠がなかったのは事実だ」
And –
「定義が大きく変わったことを前提に考えなければならない」
The NYT translates that as –
“There is no evidence to prove there was coercion, nothing to support it,” Mr. Abe told reporters. “So, in respect to this declaration, you have to keep in mind that things have changed greatly.”
The NYT and every other article in English…omitted the main subject of the quote, because Prime Minister Abe is talking about definition of a word. Here is my translation of what Prime Minister Abe said –
“It is a fact there was no proof to support coercion as it was initially defined

Instead of Occidentalism’s translation of the second, I might say, “We must consider (the Kono statement about comfort women) on the basis that the (initial) definition (of coercion) had greatly changed.” Be that as it may, there should be no question that the New York Times has purposely altered Abe’s statement to eliminate the qualification that he was talking about the definition of coercion, rather than the absence of coercion.

Read Occidentalism’s full post for the context of the statement. During a Diet interpellation with the chair of the Japanese Communist Party last fall, the prime minister went into greater detail by saying there was no proof to support the assertion that “the women were taken out of their houses forcibly” but accepting that in “many cases” the women “wanted to choose to not go but they were in an environment that compelled them to go in the end”. The bickering over the original definition of coercion is what Abe is referring to.

The New York Times knows very well what Prime Minister Abe was talking about. They also know very well that with superficiality being the standard for journalism today, and that because a knowledge of the Japanese language and the details of an arcane exchange are required to understand the real issue, they stand a good chance of tarring Abe with the brush of being a “comfort woman” denier.

We can use the Sherlock Holmes dictum of the dog that didn’t bark to show that the Times did this purposely and maliciously. The Japanese media, for all its faults, is ready to jump on even the slightest misstatement by a Japanese politician. That’s how they knocked Mori Yoshiro (Koizumi’s predecessor) out of office more than five years ago, and that’s how they’ve been holding the Abe Cabinet’s feet to the fire since January after they caught health minister Yanagisawa Hakuo making an off-handed comment that women were “baby-making machines”.

Yet no one in the Japanese media gave Abe’s comment last week a second thought—because they understood the context in which it was made.

Well, all that’s changed now that the Times has rattled the cage. As this article notes:

South Korea later lodged an official protest, accusing the leader of “glossing over the historical truth.” Rights activists in the Philippines also slammed Abe for labeling the slaves as common prostitutes.

That’s no surprise for the government of President Roh Moo-hyun, who has seized every opportunity to demagogue the issue of Japan’s wartime actions as a way to boost his flagging popularity among Korean voters. (Even that hasn’t worked; Koreans are fed up with him.) Yet to be fair, this report by the Choson Ilbo is rather even-handed. It even tries to provide some sense of the context for Abe’s statement, albeit incomplete.

Here’s the link to the story out of The Philippines. This article fails to point out, however, that the Japanese paid compensation to The Philippines of more than $US 500 million from the mid-50s to the early 70s.

Ozawa Ichiro, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, finally woke up, saw his chance, and slammed Abe on Sunday as well, even though Mr. Ozawa is aware of what really happened.

The AP joined the chorus, incorrectly reporting from the above story: “The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion,” Abe said on Thursday.”

CNN (from the link above) also parrots the Times’s distortion:

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday denied women were forced into military brothels across Asia, boosting renewed efforts by right-wing politicians to push for an official revision of the apology.”
“The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion,” Abe said.
Abe’s remarks contradicted evidence in Japanese documents unearthed in 1992 that historians said showed military authorities had a direct role in working with contractors to forcibly procure women for the brothels.

As more people repeat the errors, and more reporters pump even more lurid quotes out of the East Asians, the story will take on a life of its own in a dimension one step removed from reality—which the New York Times surely counted on.

It is impossible to speculate what motivates that newspaper any more. Yet it is no exaggeration to say that their effort to discredit Abe is just as blatant as the effort of Dan Rather and CBS News to discredit George Bush. But the Times is distorting a statement in a foreign language, so it’s not as apparent to the casual observer.

They know that Abe Shinzo is a man of the Right who is outspoken about his dislike for the media and its biased coverage, and they know he wants Japan to play a more assertive role on the world’s stage. By their behavior, it would seem the Times would welcome the demise of the Abe administration, though why they would want to weaken Japan’s position as the only serious US ally in a neighborhood that includes China, Russia, and the two Koreas is anyone’s guess.

They play a dangerous game by giving ammunition to Japan’s neighbors. For example, Jiang Zemin, former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and President of the People’s Republic of China, gave a speech in 1998 while still in office to members of China’s diplomatic corps, in which he stated, “We should always emphasize the historical problems with Japan. We must continue to make this an issue for eternity.” The quotation came to light when it was included in a recent collection of Jiang’s writings.

This makes it apparent there is nothing the Japanese can ever do to mollify China about the events of the Second World War because China does not want to resolve the issue–China considers history to be a political weapon to use forever in its dealings with Japan. Note that Jiang made this speech in 1998—three years before Koizumi Jun’ichiro became prime minister of Japan and started visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, and while Japan was paying China hefty amounts of ODA as de facto war reparations.

No one should be under any illusion that the issue of Imperial Japan’s behavior in the war is anything other than a convenient stick for the leadership in China (and both Koreas) to wield in their relations with contemporary Japan, or to cynically stir up domestic anger at the Japanese, deflecting attention from domestic problems.

The New York Times continues to deny Japan the baseline respect it deserves for its nearly impeccable behavior over the past 60 years—better behavior than that displayed by most of the world’s countries over that same span. Anonymous Congressmen can be expected to dig up a hobgoblin and bring themselves some reflected glory. That is what Congressmen do for a living, after all, but they are essentially fungible. By this time next year, no one will remember Mike Honda.

But why is the New York Times so maliciously distorting the facts to manufacture a scandal that could seriously harm a loyal ally that shares our political values and impair its ability to conduct foreign affairs over the long term? Why are they hobbling the Japanese in favor of the Chinese, who most certainly do not share our values, or the South Koreans, whose government continues to distance itself from Japan and the US, putative shared values notwithstanding.

The sad fact of the matter is that few people are capable and willing to call the newspaper to account, and in any event, it may be too late.

Their lie has now become the truth.

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54 Responses to “Congress backstabs US ally; Times lie trashes Abe”

  1. camphortree said

    Hi Ampontan,
    Your statement is very moving and touching! My big thank you to you not because you stand on the Japan’s side but because you take a stand to seek the whole truth on the issue of the comfort women that has been awashed with the tidal wave of media sensationalism with intentional and malicious half truths.
    Ampontan, your blog may currently be in the narrow corner of the East Asia, but you are a man of integrity. You stand high over such demagogues as Norimitu Onishi and Mike Honda. They may well fool the world for a long time, but they can not deceive the whole world forever. I believe that the day will come when the whole truth will be unmasked in English thanks to the great work you, Matt and Gerry have been doing.
    Thank you very much and please take care.

  2. […] Ampontan on the comfort women issue: why are the House of Representatives and the New York Times now sticking pins in the voodoo doll they’ve created of contemporary Japan? The House seems poised to pass a maudlin, facile resolution about comfort women during the Second World War, taking at face value the word of a woman who can’t get her story straight and whose testimony may be fraudulent, while the Times has added fuel to the fire by intentionally—and maliciously–garbling a quote from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. [Link] […]

  3. madne0 said

    Great work Ampontan! It’s revealing of the sad state of the press these days that you have to go to the internet (more specifically, to blogs) for this kind of in depth analysis.

  4. madne0 said

    I just have a small problem with this sentence:
    “The Imperial Japanese Army may well have abducted these women from their homes and forced them into sexual slavery. They—as well as every other army in war—have done the same or something similar.”

    I don’t recall the US or British army for that matter doing a similar thing during WW2. Heck, you’d probably have to go back to the Dark Ages to find a similar situation in the British army.

  5. hook said

    Occidentalism is based in Australia not Korea.

  6. […] Check out his post, Congress backstabs US ally; Times lie trashes Abe. […]

  7. Infimum said

    First of all, I echo the sentiment Camphortree expressed toward your blog. None of the blog about Japan equals the magnitude and extensiveness found in your blog. Excellent job!

    Not too much to add. In fact, I again echo the comments to this thread (though not well-moderated), detailed about how this comfort women issue developed from the Japanese side, in that we are all too engulfed in debates such as “what the definition of coercion is”, “whether those testimonies are accurate”, etc.
    Obviously, there is someone behind the scene pulling the string for whatever purposes, perhaps delighted to know that the issue is getting bigger and bigger internationally.

    I am not saying that all the efforts to uncover whatever hasn’t been uncovered so far should be stopped. But at this point, I am inclined to think that there is no physical evidence, such as documents officially released by the Japanese army, to back up this “coercion”. If this is the case, all that is left is ugly, infertile flaming bickering.

    And what can I say about the media? They are happy to pick up such stories, putting fuel to the flame as BBC does here.

  8. lirelou said

    I second Madne0’s #4, and would add the French Army to the list. Generalized statements like this only detract from your overall argument. As to why an Army would get involved in the brothel business in the first place, I would suggest that they served two very important functions. First, the kept conflict between the local garrison and community to a minimum. The French, for instance, with a colonial presense in Muslim North Africa, needed to ensure that the troops would have an outlet for sexual energy that would not offend local mores and custom. (As any contact between local women and the troops was bound to do.) Second, by providing field brothels, or coordinating with local brothel owners, military medical personnel could inspect the girls to keep sexual diseases to a minimum.

  9. Matt said

    Just a clarification. I live in Australia, and Gerry Bevers is Korea based.

  10. ampontan said

    Matt: I’ll change that part. Sorry.

    As for what other armies do, I said “or something similar”. By that, I meant the general treatment of the females in a defeated country. I think I’ll rephrase that. Thanks.

  11. KokuRyu said

    Hi Ampontan. I agree that the recent American resolution or whatever is more of a political football than anything else. At the same time, couldn’t you find a better resource to quote than Occidentalism? The blog is hardly sympathetic to Korean women, and most of the time the blog, with its focus on supposed Korean expat prostitutes in Australia and other countries, is downright misogynistic. And Gerry Bevars comes off looking like a lunatic with his obsessive and self-destructive need to explore every hidden mystery of the Dokdo/Takeshima issue.

    Anyway. So, we’ve established that Japan (in the form of the Kono declaration) has recognized and apologized for the entire issue of comfort women. They just haven’t paid any compensation…or have they? Is there any way to lay this issue to rest once and for all, or is it a convenient issue that S.Korea and NORK can continue to exploit? I guess, from the Japanese perspective, there is no pragmatic reason to pursue reconciliation. No meaningful constituency in Japan is demanding the government reinvestigate the issue and seek to make amends with the countries neighbours and former victims. And what would be the point of placating the two Koreas, anyway? The real tragedy here is that the wider world is unaware of the profoundly anti-democratic tendencies emerging in South Korea as it continues to align itself with the North.

    It’s just too bad Abe’s gaffes add more fuel to the fire. And it’s also too bad that such a relatively young politician like him has none of the guts, finesse, sophistication and sheer brutality of Koizumi. His clumsiness just makes things worse.

  12. ampontan said

    Kokuryu:

    Japan hasn’t paid anything to NK, but they think their payments to SK count as reparations. I think it was part of the deal that no SK individuals could try to get money from Japan in the future. It would require a major sea change in the Japanese government for that to happen. And it’s not their fault Park decided to spend the money elsewhere.

    As for Occidentalism/Bevers, they dug up the fact that Lee wasn’t initially coerced from her own testimony, and presented the newspaper advertisement that shows that it was a commercial proposition for some people, rather than soldiers with bayonets barging into houses. The rest of it I don’t know much about.

    I’m interested about what you refer to as the anti-democratic trends in the South. Got any good links?

    And as for Koizumi, no one was like Koizumi. Part of the deal with Abe is that the situation was very different when he came into office. After Mori and his predecessors in the 90s, the LDP was so desperate they would *even* turn to Koizumi. Had their poll ratings not been in the teens, they would never have taken him seriously.

    That situation had changed when Abe stepped in, with the LDP’s huge majority in the lower house. It’s no longer a do or die situation for them–back to business as usual.

  13. KokuRyu said

    >I’m interested about what you refer to as the anti-democratic trends in the South. Got any good links?

    I just follow the news, and read Marmot et al. But you’re right – I should probably back up statements like that.

    As well, have you seen the front page of CNN today? I mean, WTF?

    http://edition.cnn.com/

    Interesting to see how both sides of the House are willing to go off and tilt at windmills.

  14. ampontan said

    Kokuryu: I wasn’t asking you to “back it up”, I’m just curious and haven’t been following South Korea closely lately.

    CNN–still getting it wrong. They say Abe clarified his position, but they’re still misquoting what he said last week.

  15. Albion said

    Ampotan,

    Great post. One thing: While the “comfort women” issue should be a non-issue (because Japan HAS apologized already, etc), I think certain small details — for example, the euphemism “comfort women” (come on, they were prostitutes, not “comfort women.” what should we call rifles, “bullet delivery devices”? Jeez) — tend to give fodder to those like the North Koreans who want to keep this dead issue alive for as long as possible.

    I just wish Japan would stop playing into their hands by maintaining this euphemism.

    It’s like Japanese newspapers that don’t use the word for “rape” unless the suspect is a US serviceman. Instead of rape they use “assault” or “the suspect is accused of touching the victim’s body” or some other such roundabout phrase.

    If Japanese would be a little more forthcoming rather than trying to cloak harsh realities in pretty words then they wouldn’t be so easily misunderstood.

  16. Durf said

    Heh, now I’ll always wonder whether you’re doing a job or perparing a blog post when I see your questions on the Honyaku list. 🙂

  17. tomojiro said

    Thanks for your very balaced and researched post.

    But after a glimpse into the english speaking media, I gave it up. Abe became a pray for “yellow journalism” who is in need of the revisionist rightwing “evil” japanese politician (strangley, if you remove the word evil, it is not so far from the truth). But news coverage should be made from facts not on “arbitrary” translation of a comment which fit in a “wishful” scenario. But I now,realized that all around the world they have bought the Onishi scenario from the NYT.

    What happens if the bill passes? For me it seems to gave every anti-japanese activitist a white paper, and saying to them write what you will, we will approve it.

    Well, that is maybe to pathetic. sorry.

  18. passerby said

    Hi,

    Your writing was very insightful. Voices like yours are in need for a more balanced discussion on this issue.

    Keep up the great work!

  19. dan said

    One must remember that no article, no matter how free of opinion, can be objective. It seems the issue of Japan’s actions during WW2 and the reports of such can be divided into two groups: those that support Japan and those that deride it. The facts of this post is not in question; the subjective attitude of the author is.

    We’ll start with the apology of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono. Yes it’s an official Japanese spokesperson, but that’s akin to Truman nuking Japan and having Rice apologize for it. There’s always this magnitude of apology absent when someone other than the head of state issues an apology for the actions of a country in the past. Which brings us to this point point: if Japan were truly sorry, there’s no reason for Abe not to issue another apology, be it symbolic or meaningful or whatnot, at least in the minds of most observers.

    Then we’ll go on to the author’s supposed actions of Japan’s Asian neighbor: China. You claim that China doesn’t want to resolve its issue against Japan over WW2. Missing from the argument is that China felt Japan never properly addressed their wrongdoings during WW2, notably the Rape of Nanking and Unit 100, comfort women aside. Surely Japan is not completely faultless here; in trying to save face (factually or otherwise) they have provided the fuel China (and Koreas) needed to perpetuate their mutual hatred for Japan.

    Which brings us to the final point. The NYT’s misquote of Abe and Congress’ move to ask Japan for an apology is (unintentional or not) strategically brilliant: a reputable US newspaper and an official branch of the US deriding a longtime ally; in essence sacrificing confidence in Japan’s leadership to provide a psychological boost for Japan’s rivals in US relations. Countries which happen to, at this time, be involved in talks about weapons of mass destruction. A nuclear DPRK is real; losing Japan as an ally is only a possibility.

  20. Paul said

    let’s say you made a terrible damage to one of your friends long time ago. Who will be the one to forget about it? Maybe, it will be your friend. It’s bad memory for him..

    how can it be ended? Once you apologized, and accepted, never bring up the issue then, it can be ended. Right?

    but, what if you bringing it up to your friend time to time, and say things like “do you remember that I did that to you a while ago? Wait.. I said sorry.. so, it’s done. But, maybe, now, I think it’s partially your fault, too”

    Now, it gets intereting..

  21. […] Congress backstabs US ally; Times lie trashes Abe […]

  22. Marijke said

    I am a little disturbed by the asperations being cast on the “comfort women” through the questioning of Lee’s story. It is a bit disengenuous to disregard the truthfulness of the women’s stories simply because one woman’s story isn’t standing up. Because it appears that Ms. Lee may have answered an advertisment and was not kidnapped as she claimed, the idea that women “chose”, in a certain sense, to be prostitutes for the Japanese army has been extended to all victims of the “comfort woman” system.

    While it may be true that some women were procured through third-party sources or answered advertisements, it is also true that the Imperial Army was heavily involved in the recruiting, by choice or by force, of local women into prostitution. On the other hand, the issue of soldiers bursting into homes to kidnap women is a red herring. This statement is used to dismiss the women’s story and shore up the claim that most “chose” to be prostitutes. But many women were in fact taken by soldiers–not from their homes, but off the streets. This was the way in which my grandfather’s two sisters were taken–kidnapped by Japanese soldiers in Indonesia while walking down the street. They eventually died from being repeatedly raped over and over by multiple Japanese soldiers.

    Why, people ask, is this issue so important? The Japanese apologized right? Well, as a descendent of people directly affected by Japanese war crimes, I can say that for many of us the apology was not enough. Translate all you want but this is the essence of what the government said “Well we would like to apologize for the things we may or may not have done that some people see as bad.” And though many of you have claimed their behaivor as exemplary for the past 60 years, such is not the case when it comes to the country’s WWII war crimes.

    In their history books and movies about the conflict, the Japanese cast themselves as heros and victims, but never as aggressors. A few years ago the most popular movie had the Japanese as heros rescuing Indonesia from colonial masters. The truth is far less pleasent but always ignored. In fact, Japan has never acknowledged fully the awful things their soldiers did–in Korea, in China and in Indonesia. Instead they continue to lie to themselves and to the world, and cloak rape, torture and systematic abuse in pretty euphemisms.

    Of course, China and Korea will probably continue to use history as stick to get Japan to do whay they want–but that doesn’t change the fact that Japan, because of its unwillingness to confront its past, needs to finally come out and say, “We committed horrible atrocities during WWII and we are deeply and sorrowfully sorry for it” before these issue could even begin to be put to rest.

  23. Matt said

    I am a little disturbed by the asperations being cast on the “comfort women” through the questioning of Lee’s story. It is a bit disengenuous to disregard the truthfulness of the women’s stories simply because one woman’s story isn’t standing up. Because it appears that Ms. Lee may have answered an advertisment and was not kidnapped as she claimed, the idea that women “chose”, in a certain sense, to be prostitutes for the Japanese army has been extended to all victims of the “comfort woman” system.

    Who exactly has extended the doubts about Lee’s testimony to all the comfort women? I wrote the post about that, so I know it was not me. Could it be that reading about Lee it is you that feels doubt about the other womens testimony?

    Marijke, I for one have no doubt about the existence of coercion, even some instances of kidnapping, perhaps. Rape and death, which you say happened to your relatives, is a problem for every army. However, that does not mean that it was the policy of the government, or that they had a systematic program for it. Besides the testimonies, many of which are problematic (not just Lee), there is just no documentary evidence to support kidnapping. However, there is documentary evidence in the form of US army reports describing the situation of the comfort women that says they were not kidnapped.

    I wrote a comment about this at DPRK Studies, and since it is relevant, and sums up my thoughts, I will repost it here.

    The comfort woman issue is a very complex one. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that many (probably not most) were in fact forced to become comfort women. Since the Japanese were in charge at the time, ultimately the buck stops with them, but I think that the current comfort women controversy is about attacking the current Japanese government while shifting all the blame to Japan, when Korean (and Japanese) societal attitudes towards women was a significant factor in what happened to the women.

    While there are testimonies that claim they were abducted by the Japanese army, the Japanese government has not been able to find any documentary evidence anywhere to support that ever happening, even once. I suppose that does not mean that it never happened, but it certainly does indicate that it was not systematic, and that it was not the policy of the government.

    There is also confusion about the meaning of “comfort women”, as many people include battlefield rape victims as among the comfort women.

    What the documentary evidence does tell us, both Japanese and two US army reports on Koreans and comfort women, is that often the women were sold by their own families to serve a term of 6 to 12 months as prostitutes for the Japanese army.

    Once the family had received and advance, a small fortune, and signed the contract, then the daughters fate was sealed. Of course many would not want to go to be prostitutes, but they would have been pressured by their families. The Japanese and Korean people of the day treated women like chattel, so their would have been no recourse to the police, either. The woman would have to go, and if she was not cooperative when she arrived, then it is quite possible that she would have been forced to have sex. I can imagine just such a girl being screamed at like “if you don’t want to work, then pay us back the 1000 yen we advanced your family!”. Of course, there is no way such a girl would have that money or she would not be a comfort woman in the first place.

    From everything that I have read in the colonial era of Korea, I honestly believe that a girl that had been kidnapped would have recourse to the police and courts if they had not been sold by their families.

    I think that is the real scandal about the comfort women issue, although it does not apply to every single one of them. The problem with considering the issue this way is that it can no longer be used as an issue to bash the current Japanese government with because it becomes a more generalized issue about the oppression of women. Koreans do not want to face their substantial role in what happened to some of the comfort women, so it is in their interest to try to frame the issue as a black and issue of supporting or denying the comfort women. The US Congress resolution being undertaken now does just that. It does not even allow for any nuance or details at all, and the resolution demands that the number of comfort women, 200,000, be accepted despite no methodology used to reach this number, along with accepting that every single one of them was forced, usually from their homes or villages at gun point by the Japanese army, to serve as sex slaves.

  24. Aceface said

    “We committed horrible atrocities during WWII and we are deeply and sorrowfully sorry for it” before these issue could even begin to be put to rest.”

    But that is precisely what Tokyo had been saying in the past and present Marijke.
    Just they never get covered right from foreign media.I used to be on liberal side and even donated for Asian Women Fund,but this latest report is just insane.

  25. ampontan said

    “In their history books and movies about the conflict, the Japanese cast themselves as heros and victims, but never as aggressors. A few years ago the most popular movie had the Japanese as heros rescuing Indonesia from colonial masters.”

    What was the name of this movie, and could you give us some precise figures on its “popularity”?

    “Because it appears that Ms. Lee may have answered an advertisment and was not kidnapped as she claimed, the idea that women “chose”, in a certain sense, to be prostitutes for the Japanese army has been extended to all victims of the “comfort woman” system.”

    No it hasn’t. Could you please show me a specific sentence from the post that even suggests that? I also clearly state the comfort women may be telling the truth. Did you read that part, or choose to overlook it?

    “Translate all you want but this is the essence of what the government said “Well we would like to apologize for the things we may or may not have done that some people see as bad.””

    Please read the quote from Mr. Kono again, and see if it says anything about “may or may not have done”.

    “And though many of you have claimed their behaivor as exemplary for the past 60 years, such is not the case when it comes to the country’s WWII war crimes. ”

    And though many of you have claimed that Japan was evil during WWII, such is not the case over the past 60 years. Of course. Could you please tell us some government that hasn’t behaved despicably at some point in its history?

    For example, shall we talk about Indonesian involvement in East Timor?

  26. Matt said

    Ampontan, the name of the movie is Merdica. Here is an interview with the director.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/stories/s283892.htm

  27. ampontan said

    Matt, thanks for that. Although I live in Japan, I’ve never heard of it, and I walked a past multiplex movie theater every day when that film was released. Maybe I missed it. I wonder how many people have actually seen it.

    BTW, I think it’s not really denied by many that Japan was not unjustified in thinking it was threatened by Western colonialism, and there was a certain idealistic element to their actions. (Prime Minister Miyazawa in his younger days served in the colonial government of the Philippines, and spoke of that aspect.)

    The problem is in how the Japanese went about it.

  28. Aceface said

    “Ampontan, the name of the movie is Merdica. Here is an interview with the director.”

    It’s from the very same producers who made “Pride” idolizing Gen.Tojo.yikes!

    “I think it’s not really denied by many that Japan was not unjustified in thinking it was threatened by Western colonialism, and there was a certain idealistic element to their actions.”

    Yeah,But that is pretty lame discussion since Japan had colonies in both Taiwan,Korea and Micronesia and idealisyic elements such like those who remained in Indonesia and fought with Indonesian independence force against the Dutch had done so on their free will after August 15th ’45,while the most of the atrocities were commited in the name of the emperor.

    So what Marijke had said has some points and I wouldn’t choose East Timor for the discussion since reconcilliation is underway,while I wonder why Marijke failed to mention that Jakarta took compensation from Tokyo in the 50’s while on the other hand paid compensation for The Netherland for the “damage that independence of Indonesia caused to the Dutch people”!

  29. ampontan said

    Aceface: I understand about Taiwan, Korea, and the other colonies, and I will never defend that.

    What I’m saying, though, (and I’m sure you know this) is that this was a response to what they saw a threat from Western colonialism, and that this response started long before 1941. (Late 19th century in Korea, for example.) *What* they did wasn’t right, but I think I can understand the original impulse.

    BTW, people don’t talk about it much, but with the start of the Meiji period and the reopening to the outside world, Japan experienced in just a few decades what the rest of the world experienced in centuries. In some ways that process is still going on, I think. The shock and turmoil that must have caused would inevitably cause some distortions in behavior.

    It must have been amazing to be alive and been a member of the intellectual and political classes in Japan from 1860 onward.

  30. Aceface said

    “It must have been amazing to be alive and been a member of the intellectual and political classes in Japan from 1860 onward.”

    Yes and they traveled around Europe to see what they can pick up for the change in Japan for 2 years!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iwakura_mission
    This is an evidence that thereat of Western colonialism was not seen as a severe and upcoming threat for them,for the best and the brightest can leave Japan for that long time.

    What I do concern however is people who live outside(or sometimes inside) have smattering knowledge of the way Japanese deals with the past wrong doing such like the compensation to the South East Asian countries or major Japanese medias mainly taking the side of the victims and not the GOJ.
    No history textbooks in Japan denies Nanjing massacre,otherwise it will not pass the Monbusho creditation scheme.Those who argue about this never opened a single page of the actual textbook but read these knowledge from Iris Chang’s “The Rape of Nanking”,which is a misreport,if I may say so.

    I can’t believe the amount of misrelating the fact in the mainstream foreign media and all the coverage is based on opinion based and correspondents cast increasingly vicious look on just about everything Japanese do(i.g Sushi”police”)or simply forcusing on the rightwing propagandas.I’m not going to say anything on blogsphere for they are wriiten by just about anybody(though I worry the effect on public)

  31. Aceface said

    misreport about Chang’s work,I meant here is the situation in Japan.

  32. Matt said

    “…while on the other hand paid compensation for The Netherland for the “damage that independence of Indonesia caused to the Dutch people”!”

    That is right. Did not India also pay its colonial masters?

  33. Aceface said

    Don’t know about that.But India turned down the request of compensation from Japan along with Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

  34. ampontan said

    FOR TSUNDERE:
    Sorry, I accidentally deleted your post. Here it is:

    Here’s another different (probably new) story of Lee Yong-soo.

    http://www.janjan.jp/area/0702/0702250646/1.php

    Fall 1944
    At the age of 15, she was lured out of her house, threatened and kidnapped by Japanese military personnel and forced to work as a sex slave in Taiwan.

    Aug. 1945
    She was freed due to Japan’s surrender.

    Spring 1946
    At the age of 17, she returned to Busan by sea.

    This is one of the latest testimonies(shortly after she testified in the U.S. Congress), so there are less contradictions compared to past ones(e.g. forced sex slave life for three years from 1944) but that is also a contradiction.

    As for her age, these variety (14-16) can possibly be explained by the difference of calenders and how age is counted, I think.

  35. Aceface said

    A post from Marmot Hole(I’m starting to regret reading the site again)
    Presumably Korean AMerican Activist.

    I actually left a meeting tonight in DC (actually northern VA) of Korean-Americans who have worked with Rep. Honda’s office to get this on the floor of the House.

    I congratulated them on the fact that regardless of whether the issue is passed by the US House and then the Senate or not……we had done a lot of good by bringing this to the attention of the world (both offline and in the online world of blogs)….and shaking the very foundations of modern history as it is taught in Japan. Even when the South korean gov’t knew about what the Japanese had done to the Korean comfort women and how they tricked/forced them into being sex slaves….they did nothing. It took Americans of various ethnicities, but particularly Korean-American, to get this issue the attention it so long deserved…and I am happy to see it has made waves to the point it is being discussed.

    I only hope we can move faster before these brave, heroic women all die off.

    PM Abe’s remarks only help our cause. Thanks, Abe!
    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

    I’m sort of mesmerized with the strange mixture of Americanness and Koreanness seen in this post.You just can’t expect logic nor compromise from these people.Hate tell you Ampontan,if you were a Bush supporter.But this bigotry about self righteousness and belief of “We-are-not-the-product-of environment-but-the-environment-is-the-product-of-ours” is perfectly match the current American zeitgeist,and stands completely the opposite of our civilisation.Either good or bad but these American characteristics make me pretty pessimistic about our bilateral relations.

  36. tomojiro said

    Aceface
    Want you join the disscussion in Marmot’s hole? I am interested to hear your opinion.

    Best

  37. ampontan said

    Aceface: I am much more comfortable living in Japan than the US. I understand what you mean.

    That guy thinks he’s changing history in Japan’s schools? He’s just making faces at himself in the mirror. Over at Occidentalism, they have a Yomiuri editorial denouncing the move by Congress, and a clip from an Asahi (!) TV show that doesn’t like it much either (though I didn’t watch it all the way through).

  38. tomojiro said

    They just want to paint it black and white.

  39. Lee said

    This is not a right story. Japanese never told they will use girls as sex slave instead of factory workers. But people kwew after one year that they lied. They sent 90% of girls to battle field for those purpose.
    God bless you if your mother were in that situation!! My mother was almost there that’s why she married at the age of 16 to my 18 years father because that was the only way to save her from sex slave for Japanese army.

    They lied and still do.

    There are vivtims, there are many victims. You are so mean!! I think you must have some intention to lie for Abe against vitctims!!!!!!

  40. jion999 said

    Lee
    “My mother was almost there that’s why she married at the age of 16 to my 18 years father because that was the only way to save her from sex slave for Japanese army.”

    Are you sure? If so, you must be over 60 year old.
    Your post sounds very childish like other Korean Chodings.
    (조소)

  41. ampontan said

    “I think you must have some intention to lie for Abe against vitctims”

    Lee: Please point anything in this article that is a lie.

  42. Media Lies said

    So much of what we “know” to be true….

    ….really isn’t. In a lengthy and fascinating article, a blogger with intimate knowledge of Japanese culture and the credentials …

  43. Yoshi said

    I am a Japanese man in the UK and I am almost fuming from my head out of so much anger. All right. Evil Japs raped some innocent girls somewhere, right? OK. All right. That’s right, honourable sirs, we all know that so please leave us f–king alone for God’s sake. We did bomb America and got rightfully punished by having 3.5 million of our people killed including some 200,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then we paid loads of money for a few decades to former enemies. At one point, 1/3 of our budget was disappearing for reparations. And, now, after 60 years of untarnished peace and loads of foreign aids to every corner of the world, we are blamed BY OUR CURRENT ALLY for what we did six decades ago. It is like a backstabbing in the worst form. Worse yet, this supposed-to-be-our-ally is bombing everywhere right now on one hand and standing on a moral highground (as if there’s one) on the other. What a farce! What a pile of bullsh-t! I don’t give a damn about what happened to those prostitutes anymore, as it seems that facts don’t matter and people who shout the loudest are heard. I am deeply disillusioned by the lack of principle in hardly anything that runs today’s diplomacy. WAR IS, AND HAS BEEN, OVER FOR LONG. Why do the incidents of 60 decades ago suddenly have to damage today’s peace? There has been no occasion ever in the past where a matter of such unimportance affecting the most important with such an extent. If matters of human right abuses have no expiry dates, what about Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya in 50-60’s? Brits literally exterminated one hell a lot of civillians there. What about Korean soldiers raping Vietnamese women? What about the Chinese invasion of Damansky Island? What about the US colonisation of the Philippines? We cannot be so judgemental about things that happened so long ago. DO THE ACCUSERS HAVE CLEAN HANDS? I know they don’t, so F-CK OFF.

  44. ampontan said

    “We did bomb America and got rightfully punished by having 3.5 million of our people killed including some 200,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then we paid loads of money for a few decades to former enemies. At one point, 1/3 of our budget was disappearing for reparations. And, now, after 60 years of untarnished peace and loads of foreign aids to every corner of the world, we are blamed BY OUR CURRENT ALLY for what we did six decades ago. It is like a backstabbing in the worst form…WAR IS, AND HAS BEEN, OVER FOR LONG. Why do the incidents of 60 decades ago suddenly have to damage today’s peace?”

    These are all excellent points, Yoshi, and I agree completely.

    One thing, though…as an American I got used to foreigners ignorantly dumping on my native country years ago. Most Americans do. They come in many different forms. Sometimes young people complaining about the US, dressed in blue jeans, smoking Marlboros, and drinking a Coke. I’m sure you hear a lot of it in the UK.

    Don’t let it get to you. It doesn’t have anything to do with Japan. It’s just a form of entertainment for some people to give themselves some excitement in their lives. Just give them the facts whenever you can.

  45. […] of March, 2007. Prime Minister Abe was earlier misquoted by the western media, and quite possibly deliberately misquoted by the New York Times on the comfort women issue. This video is ten minutes of Prime Minister Abe fielding questions from […]

  46. […] for war time sex slavery in 1993.  Abe was also correct to point out that the New York Times had intentionally misquoted him in order to manufacture a scandal.  President Bush knows all to well about the false reports and […]

  47. […] does anyone think this apology will make as many headlines as the deliberate New York Times mistranslation did of Abe’s off the cuff comment about the comfort women last […]

  48. SUKAPONTAN said

    I’m so happy to found this blog that talk about FACT of our strange problems.
    As you pointed out that Lee has so many different stories how she becomes comfort woman.
    That is why now many Japanese are reporting for each time what she actually said and imspecting
    with history. Her stories really inconsistent as you noticed.
    As I’m Japanese, and hope you all remain that this promblem’s background.
    One of the our politician called KONO, he was entrusted Korean politician to just
    aplogize to stop Korean shame, if Japanese government accept to commnet aplogy, Korean
    promise to never bring up this promlem ever. Then Kono apologised without any fact inspection.
    But Korean bloke promised and now they crime with Kono’s apology.
    Moreover, in Japan there is not only Japanese but also many Korean lives.
    Most of Korean has Japansese name and some are still korean nationality althoug live in Japan
    but some has already becomes Japansese citizon. Our politician also not only Japansese.
    There are so many Korean but they are hideing this truth.
    This makes really complex for most matter that as comfort woman, Nankin, and others.
    In fact, some stories come up from Japansese in the newspaper but it was actully from
    Korean who live in Japan and member of anti-Japanese organisation.
    and this anti-Japansese organisation is hideing under the religion.
    and one of the political party is exactlly this anti-Japansese organization.
    There is so complex reasons are hiding.

    That is why, even Japanese also lost the way to find truth sometime.

    anyway I really want to write more things that I know but my English level is not enought
    to do this. I think I’ll be back after the stduy English again.

  49. SUKAPONTAN said

    Please read this site when you have time.
    Korean’s LIE

    http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200507/200507030027.html

    http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200302/200302130023.html

  50. SUKAPONTAN said

    it takes long time to read all the comment in this blog for me.
    I now noticed that there are some comments from Japanese as like me.
    I really understand what yoshi said. There are so many blog in net same as what you saing.
    Some blog and site are very good with realiable evidence. But unfortunatly, there are NOT
    many in English. This is also problem. I can ask my friend who live in like Australia
    to translate into English but if they have NO right history knoledge background as well as
    no prejudiced and no partial mind must be neccesary. It is make difficult to send truth
    from Japan to world by net.
    When we talk about this type of topic, we must need to know the history from the Sino-Japanese War. Otherwise you missout the important point to inspect truth.
    I as a one of the Japanese woman, never ever accept what Korea and Chinese said.
    but we have to know both of stories to find the truth.
    I have Korean friend who live in Japan she saing that “we have no our own country.”
    She was saying to me Korean are very jealous and always envious for everything.
    Now they said , Kendo and Judo such as treditional Japanese culture also actually
    come from Korea!!! ALL Japanese believe this is joke. But its ture.
    Korean government educate like this. Those Jealous and envious come from there
    histrical complex. But they have same as Chinese as Sinocentrism. They dont want to
    be a friend, they need just slaves. They don’t want to Japanese frined they need
    Japanese slaves. All the problems come up from this twisting mind are based.
    That is all what my Korean friend told me. I really impressed this.

    There are so many site that I want you to see it.
    But there are all Japanese. Hope you can use translation page to see it.

    http://3.csx.jp/peachy/data/korea/korea1.html

    I feel sorry for my poor English. I can write more detail if I can use Japansese!
    ARIGATO-!

  51. […] have a translation of the speech in English to hand out to reporters so the New York Times can’t intentionally misquote translations again. Such a change in rhetoric and policy would instantly shine a spotlight on the […]

  52. Aceface said

    From Joongang Ilbo Japanese edition

    Korean government award the diplomat behind the house resolution.
    http://japanese.joins.com/article/article.php?aid=94655&servcode=400&sectcode=420

    Frankly speaking,I’m shocked.

  53. 10DH said

    Matt wrote:

    Who exactly has extended the doubts about Lee’s testimony to all the comfort women?

    Gerry Bevers has done so, since that was his point all along. Here is his latest:

    As for the “comfort women,” Koreans say the women were forced, but the Japanese say they volunteered. Though some women may have be deceived or forced by some sleazy Japanese and Korean pimps, ads for “comfort women” in Korean newspapers and articles about Japanese police arresting pimps who did kidnap women suggest that it was voluntary. I suspect that economic hardtimes, the lure of high pay, and maybe even patriotism were the main reasons for Korean women becoming “comfort women.”

  54. […] a knife to her back.  These inconsistent stories from the comfort women is nothing new as blogger Ampontan has pointed out before. Something else I found interesting is that Kang didn’t come to South Korea until 2000: […]

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