AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

US media ignores Japanese ambassador’s press conference

Posted by ampontan on Friday, March 9, 2007

Yoshihisa Komori, the Washington correspondent of the Sankei Shimbun, blogs here in Japanese on the press conference held in Washington DC by Ryozo Kato, the Japanese ambassador to the US, regarding the comfort women brouhaha. Here is my quick and dirty translation of the highlights:

  • Most recent reports in the US media and the Congressional resolution now being debated are not based on objective facts.
  • The resolution ignores the formal apology of the Japanese government, the private sector funds offered in sincerity to the comfort women, and Japan’s classroom instruction on the comfort women, so is therefore not based on objective facts.
  • The Japanese government has consistently upheld the Kono statement of 1993, and this consistency has included the distinction between coercion in the broad sense and the narrow sense. (Narrow sense: Forced abductions by the military. Broad sense: Women felt compelled by circumstances to accept the offer of recruiters.)
  • Japan is obligated to point out the errors of objective fact in the Congressional resolution and media reports. It is natural that Japan does not have to apologize (again), even if the resolution is passed.
  • The submission of this resolution itself is not good for the Japan-US relationship. This bilateral alliance fulfills an important role, not just for Japan and the US, but for most of the regions of the world. This resolution will not have a positive impact on that alliance.
  • Kato cannot agree with the assertion that it would be better to remain silent. Resolutions of this type, not based on objective fact, should be rebutted from the perspective that they are not good for the bilateral relationship.
  • Ambassador Kato also said American media reports claiming that Prime Minister Abe’s statement denied all Japanese responsibility for, and the military’s involvement with, the comfort women are “not based on objective facts”.

Komori’s opinion is that the Japanese position is a clear rejection of the suggestion made by the Mainichi Shimbun in an editorial that silence is the best policy.

In its Japanese edition, the Yomiuri Shimbun also reported that Ambassador Kato held a discussion with American congressman Tom Lantos to explain the circumstances of the Kono statement and the apology of the Japanese government.

Ampontan sez: I’m beginning to think that Mike Honda, his Korean-American supporters, and the New York Times have severely underestimated contemporary Japanese politicians in general, and Prime Minister Abe specifically. This is a new generation in charge, and they are not going to meekly bow, suck air, and say, “So sorry”.

It’s too bad they didn’t read Abe’s book first. They would have known better.

One final note: As I write this, I have not seen a single article about this press conference in English from the US media on the web. The only reference I saw was buried in another article from an English-language newspaper in South Korea. That does not mean they do not exist; it just means I haven’t seen one. Or is it that they’re not interested?

I’ll say it again: Japan is still not getting the baseline respect it deserves, and that other countries routinely get, from the Western media.

Update: A correspondent sends in the following:
“I am on the mailing list of the Japanese embassy press section in Washington and got no word (advance notice or transcript afterward) of this reported press conference.”

16 Responses to “US media ignores Japanese ambassador’s press conference”

  1. Aceface said

    Yep.That’s his name.
    Never imagined that I would find myself in the same camp with Komori and Abe.

  2. […] Ampontan tells us about the US media ignoring the Japanese ambassador’s press conference, and offers a quick translation. Yoshihisa Komori *, the Washington correspondent of the Sankei Shimbun, blogs here in Japanese on the press conference held in Washington DC by Ryozo Kato, the Japanese ambassador to the US, regarding the comfort women brouhaha. Here is my quick and dirty translation of the highlights: […]

  3. Matt said

    Good stuff, Ampontan. It is scandalous the way that the US media is ignoring the ambassadors conference. Things like this destroy my faith in the idea of any even handed reporting.

  4. jion999 said

    Mr. Ampontan
    Hi. I make a comment here for the first time.
    Abe will not say “sorry”, and Democrats and US media will criticize Japan with Korea and China.
    Obviously, that situation is not good for Japan-US relationship.
    But it is important not to hesitate to say “No” against such kind unreasonable pressure.
    Most of people in the world are ignorant about this issue and feel sympathy to those crying old women easily. However, if this issue is broadcasted by US media and many people have interest about this topic, they would know many evidences Japan shows and understand it is unreasonable to criticize only Japan again and again and again.

  5. ampontan said

    Aceface:
    “Never imagined that I would find myself in the same camp with Komori and Abe.”

    This is starting to remind me a little bit of the incident of the Guardian, the newspaper in GB, in the 2004 US election.

    The Guardian is rather left of center, like the NYTimes and the Asahi Shimbun. They started a campaign to have people from outside the US write letters to one Congressional district in Ohio expressing their views on the election. They invited anyone with any view to write, but the real point was to get people opposed to Bush to write and convince the people to vote against him.

    That district had narrowly favored Bush in the 2000 election, and Ohio narrowly went for Bush. It has a lot of electoral votes, so they were trying to swing the election the other way.

    It didn’t work. People got angry and Bush did better in that district in 2004 than in 2000. One woman interviewed said, “Why do you think we had a revolution in 1776?”

    Psychologically, something similar may be going on now in Japan.

  6. jeremiasx said

    This has nothing to do with the Democrats…partisanship is an illusion. Realize that first, and you’ll be two steps ahead.

    When did this AGAIN become an issue?

    Do you not realize that the Japanese JUST CRITICIZED our role in international affairs a few weeks ago, especially after it was upset at the outcome of the Korean nuclear talks?

    THINK ABOUT IT.

  7. ampontan said

    Jeremiahsx:
    Thanks for your note. Actually, we have been thinking about it. Try this:

    https://ampontan.wordpress.com/2007/02/22/abes-poll-ratings-not-a-one-size-fits-all-answer/

    Are you saying that the US government now believes itself to be beyond all criticism?

    Didn’t Russia’s Putin sharply criticize the US a few weeks ago? And what has it done in response?

    Or, as others point out, is it true that the US is treacherous as an ally and harmless as an enemy, as the Kurds discovered?

  8. […] Ampontan has translated a report on the press conference held in Washington DC by Ryozo Kato, the Japanese ambassador to the US, regarding the comfort women brouhaha. The US media ignored the press conference. [Link] […]

  9. […] HT to Ampontan. […]

  10. […] Komori blog post on Kato Ryozo’s press conference Yoshihisa Komori *, the Washington correspondent of the Sankei Shimbun, blogs here in Japanese on the press conference held in Washington DC by Ryozo Kato, the Japanese ambassador to the US, regarding the comfort women brouhaha. Here is my quick and dirty (tags: katoryozo, comfortwomen, japanus) […]

  11. rose said

    Hello Ampontan,

    I’m a reader of Matt’s blog and leaving a comment here for the first time.

    How would you interpret this lack of coverage by the US media? Do you think it is just a coincidence that no media reported it? I can hardly believe it is just a coincidence, though.

    >I’ll say it again: Japan is still not getting the baseline respect it deserves, and that other countries routinely get, from the Western media.

    I’m beginnnig to think that the US media is completely hi-jacked by ill-minded people who have no problems distorting facts.

  12. ampontan said

    Hello, Rose!

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence. The media decides in advance how they’re going to present the story. Anything that doesn’t fit is rejected. Also, don’t forget that emotionalism is now a lot stronger than rationalism in the US, and that many stories are pitched to women rather than men.

  13. rose said

    Ampontan,

    thank you so much for responding to my questions.

    I knew how bad most of Japanese media has become however I was not aware of US media’s lack of fairness in reporting news. If it were only liberal media not reporting what Japanese Ambassador had to say, I wouldn’t be surprised. However, none of US media reported the news then I’d have to doubt that there’s a conspiracy going on. Am I being paranoid?

  14. Aceface said

    Ampontan:
    I remember the Guardian article.And that was the article gave me the confidence of Bush victory,though many of my colleague had doubt about it and expected Kelly’s victory.

    Getting accustomed to read Komori’s blog frequent on this issue.Interesting counter arugument
    on NYT report.
    http://komoriy.iza.ne.jp/blog/1/

  15. ampontan said

    I don’t think we have to be paranoid, Rose. We just have to take the media with a grain of salt.

  16. paul said

    I am on the mailing list of the Japanese embassy press section in Washington and got no word (advance notice or transcript afterward) of this reported press conference.

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