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Japan's wartime brothels were wrong, says 91-year-old veteran

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By Linda Sieg and Ruairidh Villar

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Wow. It takes great courage to stand up and tell the truth, especially in the face of a trend towards wilful mass ignorance, or revisionism, or whatever you might call it, particularly when it involves powerful members of the community like Prime Ministers and members of the Cabinet etc. I applaud Mr Matsumoto. This is the voice that needs to be heard and taught in Japan.

41 ( +45 / -4 )

This is the voice that needs to be heard and taught in Japan.

Most Japanese share this opinion, but are too busy hating China to voice it.

-15 ( +9 / -24 )

Skeletons coming out of the closets. And many more still to come out. Thank you Mr. Matsumoto.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

What a good man. Good on you sir for telling the truth!

16 ( +18 / -2 )

This man has been in the news here in the US for the past few days. Not headline or mainstream, but still around. Im with Tamarama - it takes great courage to stand up the way he has and go against his culture and his country to admit the truth about what really happened. Can ANYONE now deny the truth?? He has singlehandedly cleared up this controversy. The next question now is whether right wingers choose to disregard him as they have disregarded the voices of the women themselves.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

So what will the deniers of the sex slaves say now, dismiss him for being senile or something, they'll won't accept his statement, especially some of the deniers on this forum. He could have spoken out much sooner along with tens of thousands of other troops who had first hand experience and knowledge of the military brothels. Still, better late than never.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Like Mr. Matsumoto now, after the war, many former army personel with guilty consciences came forward and expressed their eye witness accounts of the sordid things that took place. However, these people were written off as being, well, crazy, or being ostracised mostly by folk that stayed far away from any danger, hadn't even been born yet, or were at best still wet behind the ears during the war. Even annno 2013 they manage to raise their ugly heads. Next is to do away with the misnomer "comfort women", which is an insult to the women having been forced into this. It can't have been of any comfort to them. Even the so called "volunteers" must have been taken aback by the sheer numbers of men they had to "service".

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"Recalling the conditions in which the women lived, Matsumoto said soldiers lining up for sex would unfasten their leg wrappings and lower their trousers as to waste no time when their turn came. "It was like they were going to the toilet."

Idiots. Jerking off would be better than that. Or how about just gaman for a little while? I can't undertand why these "men" did this to those women.

Thankyou Mr. Matsumoto, for coming foward.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

if most people agree, are we to call them the silent majority? speak up !, .. even if this nation has yet to spill a single drop of blood in the name of democracy, a democratic system exists, even if it is flawed, even if it goes against the grain.. if you do not act in accordance with your beliefs like Mr Matsumoto, then that does not mean you are agreeing, it means you are condoning the actions of a few.

..the dead will weep, if they knew that the world they died for, is still a contentious place, only because, of the hubris of a few, and the apathy of the majority.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Mr. Matsumoto's thinking is really simple, I hope thAt we all can think like him and practice the virtue of Beng humble, less arrogant and selfless.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Mr. Matsumoto, you have my utmost respect for coming clean and admitting the truth. Politicians will heretofore claim you have a 'foggy memory' (while they seem to know the facts about things they were not there for!), you'll get painted as a kind of traitor by your own countrymen, and the wingers will have a field day denying what you did and said, but it must be a bit of a relief to confess, and in the end you did right by the wrongs put upon you.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Justicetz - I never said I hate China, but you should get out more often and talk to Japanese people. Mention Okinawa or those piddly little islands off Taiwan and see what kind of reaction you get. Especially among the young. Most middle aged will admit Japan's mistakes during the first half of last century, but the young have been brainwashed by Japanese political rhetoric.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This man has, as others have before him, PROVEN the deniers wrong. People like Abe and Aso, both the grandkids of war criminals, can spout off about how this and that never happened when they have absolutely no idea what occurred, but people cannot simply write off Mr. Matsumoto's comments as coming from a 'senile old man' or that he has a 'foggy memory', or what have you. The truth is daily coming forward. I suspect this man's courage will lead to further confessions from former soldiers, and the government will no longer be able to deny it if they want to keep their heads up and presume an air of integrity. I guess in a way we can thank Hashimoto for this.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Here's the original article in People's Daily Online.

http://j.people.com.cn/94474/8257267.html

Moderator: That is not the original article. The original article was written by Reuters in English.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Now this is the character of a human being that we should be looking up to. People who are courageous enough to accept responsibility for their actions. And to see the morality in doing what is right.

Hashimoto-kun should attempt, if at all possible for a man of his intellectual limitations, to learn from this wonderful man who has proven that we can learn from our past and face it honorably.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Its good when soldiers from the old wars are willing to expose the demons of war. Mr. Matsumoto has my respect. There were also some American soldiers from WWII that also talked about the war crimes that were commited on their end against the Japanese people, but in no way did they ever try to condone what they did and asked for forgiveness. These men have more honor for admitting the truth than ever trying to hide it or glorify criminal acts in war.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I believe the idea of established Japanese wartime military brothels were wrong. Some Women may have agreed to work as comfort women but they do not expect such as horrify experience they had with Japanese soldiers. Some women may be forcefully sending by local recruiters. Whatever reason those women were sending to front line for to serving as comfort women to Japanese Army was really really wrong. Current Japanese Government is not responsible for war time Japanese Government but Japanese Government should be given money and medical assistant to those who are surviving today. It will make some comfort for them. I don't know whether Japanese Government should apology behalf of War time leaders who were already punished death penalty by alliance force. However, Government should given money and other assistants as humanitarian assistance from Japanese Government. Also, other side should not be seeking as compensation and apology from current Government if they received financial and other assistants from Japanese Government.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I've never known the monstrous thing that Mr. Matsumoto confessed. Japanese nation should know "what is the truth " and I really want to know the truth as a nation of Japan. Japanese government should accept the fact and apologize sincerely, even though other countries also did bad things in the war time. Don't make excuses. Bad is bad.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Why now?

The article says he is a retired Christian pastor, and it's his mission to speak out about the atrocities that happened and the war, what was his mission as a Christian pastor all these years before now?

He is 91, and I suppose beyond fear for his own well being and wants to have his story heard. But sadly these stories needed to be heard and preached years ago and now I fear that men like him who want to set the story straight will be have their words brushed off as the rumblings of an old man who knows no better.

Whether it's true or not, there will always be people who are going to be blind to the truth, and call eye witness accounts as being biased and wrong because there is no paper trail to support the claims.

What a bunch of crap.

This guy and his story need to be put out on the main stream press, not just here, not just for English readers, NHK, Fuji, TBS, all the networks should be sharing this story as a counterpoint to Hashimoto and his lies.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Well done and gentleman from Masayoshi Matsumoto, unlike Abe and that tokyo mayor whose are coward to admit. shame to you Abe and his gang.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Just imagine where Japan would be today if it had better acknowleged its WWII history this mess of crap going on the last 30yrs wouldnt have happened for the most part, its a huge waste that Japans govt & beaurocrates have mortgaged the countrys future bigtime with all their lies & revisionary crap!

Thankfully this man has the courage to speak out, but alas like others before him he will likely be written off as being brainwashed(oh the irony!)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yubaru: "Why now?"

Probably in part due to the recent remarks by Hashimoto, and also in part due to the man's age. While the article doesn't state the man's current physical condition, at 91 he probably wants to let a load off before the inevitable.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Probably in part due to the recent remarks by Hashimoto, and also in part due to the man's age. While the article doesn't state the man's current physical condition, at 91 he probably wants to let a load off before the inevitable.

So take that one more logical step, if Hashimoto didn't make any comments a self proclaimed former Christian Pastor no less wouldn't have said anything? That's sad.

In a manner of speaking I hope he feels guilty about his past, he and any other decent human being that was a part of, or have experience, or knowledge of these atrocities.

Maybe it's not too late, but as time goes on less and less of these men are going to remain alive to share and pass along their stories and we all will be worse because of it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yubaru. Nowhere does it say that he has not already talked about his past. Why assume he has not?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan needs more honest veterans to stand up and tell it like it was. Of course the nationalists will dismiss him but they're only part of the problem. The problem is how do you convince a complacent, brainwashed population of a history they didn't know have be taught - not just taught but conditioned - to deny?

Japan is a peaceful country; Japan is a small country; our ancestors are farmers and yours were hunters; you'll never understand us because Japan is unique. How many times have we foreigners heard these mantras recited in our time here? When finally the horrors of World War Two are exposed the average Japanese person is simply not equipped to accept it. How could their small, peaceful, farming community have been capable of such atrocities?

It must be some evil foreign plot because foreign historians "don't understand Japan". The Chinese are bitter (one might ask about what) and the comfort women just greedy old prostitutes after some money. They need to ask themselves, why are their neighbors so angry? Why does the world hold one view of Japan's history and only Japan hold another, and why is it that the only people who deny Japan's atrocities - the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March and the Comfort Women - are right wing Japanese historians.

Yes Japan, the rest of the world is wrong and you're right. That must be it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

About 30 years ago a former Japanese army soldier told me essentially the same thing, with many of the same graphic details as Mr Matsumoto above. I used to take him home in my car sometimes and he would tell me stories about his time marching through Manchuria and China. Self-reflection is always easier to listen to than shouted accusations.

My feeling is that Mr Hashimoto either does not actually know what went on, or simply does not want to believe what his own country might have done.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yubaru. Nowhere does it say that he has not already talked about his past. Why assume he has not?

An assumption based upon reading the article.

Only years later did Matsumoto come to believe his country had done something wrong. “We were taught that it was the mission of Japan, the mission of the Japanese people, to liberate Asian countries from European colonialism,” he said. “So we went to war gladly then. When I think of it now, it was monstrous, but I didn’t think so then.”

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Moderator: That is not the original article. The original article is here, written in English by Reuters reporters

Ok if "this" is the original article then you are just regurgitating something from nearly 3 years ago because the article in the link is from 2010.

Which is it?

Moderator: The article was written this week based on an interview with Reuters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think for Matsumoto, it was hard to speak out since he would be against the military, government and maybe against the mass belief. For those who really know Japanese culture (not only Tokyo culture) it would not be hard to understand why Matsumoto just speaks only now.

Salute to Matsumoto sama...............................and I hope he would not be silence.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Glad he has come forward with his story. However, this is not a new phenomenon. If you know Japanese, you can find dozens and dozens of videos of Japanese soldiers going to China to apologize directly to the people they victimized, people telling what they did during the war in quite honest and graphic detail. Someone should tie these together to make a permanent oral history.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't see where it says Japan recruited the women. It just says they couldn't escape from the town.

-14 ( +0 / -14 )

zichi May. 25, 2013 - 08:14AM JST

So what will the deniers of the sex slaves say now,

zichi,

i am so surprised you still don't know the answer to that.

answer: personal testimony is not a hard evidence!

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

This isn't new -- it's simply 'news' because of what has been going on in the media of late, thanks again in part to Hashimoto. MANY soldiers have come forward and confessed to this and other atrocities, but the government always calls them senile or questions their memories, and ultimately states their confessions are not the official stance of the government, etc.

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caused controversy during his first 2006-2007 term by saying there was no proof that Japan’s military had kidnapped women for the brothels. Such doubts are common among Japanese ultra-conservatives."

Geez, no wonder Abe is talking about everything under the sun save to avoid this issue. I hope he's forced to eat his words once again.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

answer: personal testimony is not a hard evidence!

This is evidence all right, but it only proves what the Japanese politicians have already been saying. That it was a regrettable part of history they are sorry for, but there is no proof that Japan organized a raid for "sex slaves". In fact, the other article in Japanese mentions that prostitutes were sent to the camp.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caused controversy during his first 2006-2007 term by saying there was no proof that Japan’s military had kidnapped women for the brothels. Such doubts are common among Japanese ultra-conservatives."

Geez, no wonder Abe is talking about everything under the sun save to avoid this issue. I hope he's forced to eat his words once again.

So where is the proof? Does Matsumoto say they were kidnapped?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

You have my respect Mr. Matsumoto.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

therougou May. 25, 2013 - 12:52PM JST

In fact, the other article in Japanese mentions that prostitutes were sent to the camp.

where is that article?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@calr751

i am so surprised you still don't know the answer to that. answer: personal testimony is not a hard evidence!

But his statement just helps to backup the already available documentary evidence. That a living surviving person can give his personal experience, which some others have also done including a doctor who kept a secret diary which he gave to the war crime trials, but it was never used.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

where is that article?

The facists took it and tossed it into the recycle bin in the sky, along with numerous other comments.

Moderator: Please lift the level of your posts and stop insulting the moderators.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remember in 1995, the 50-year anniversary of the end of the war, NHK and other broadcasters were featuring numerous attestations by Japanese WWII vets who talked about the atrocities they witnessed and even participated in. Many of them seemingly regarded their act of conveying their accounts of past deeds as a last opportunity to show remorse publicly and come clean. Out of that bunch, Mr. Matsumoto is probably one of the very few still alive.

Many schools at the time were also inviting people who had first-hand knowledge of Japan's wartime activities in Asia. It really seemed like Japan had taken a positive turn toward becoming a healthier and stronger nation.

Fast forward to around 2006, Abe's first term as PM, and a backlash seemed to emerge against this mode of self-reflection, and toward calls for a 'proud Japan' from many politicians and educators. Unfortunately, this notion of a 'proud Japan' seemingly meant a focus on suffering endured by Japan, reverting to a mode of denial and unwinding previous apologies and gestures of goodwill.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

me as a south korean respect him and hate abe and his gang. shame on you abe and that idiot tokyo mayor.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@yubaru

So take that one more logical step, if Hashimoto didn't make any comments a self proclaimed former Christian Pastor no less wouldn't have said anything? That's sad.

I don't think it is that sad, and I believe that Hashimoto's outbursts have gone against him by people now being so sick of the cover up that they HAVE to speak up. Don't forget it still takes courage to stand up and do this, even after all these years, as most people will ask "why didn't you do something to stop it?".

@therougou

but there is no proof that Japan organized a raid for "sex slaves".

So everything is OK then? Did you read the following bit?

Recalling the conditions in which the women lived, Matsumoto said soldiers lining up for sex would unfasten their leg wrappings and lower their trousers so as to waste no time when their turns came. “It was like they were going to the toilet,” he said.

As I put on a separate thread, just imagine your mum, little sister, big sister, daughter, any female you love, being the person on a bed somewhere waiting for these guys to come in and do their stuff on you. Lining up FFS. Take 3-4 minutes to put that image in your head, and live what the women must have gone through. Are you disgusted yet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe and Hashimoto should take a lesson from Matsumoto. By speaking out and admit the truth would relieve one's great burden off his back for decades.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@therougou do you not understand the meaning of slavery? slavery is coercing someone to undertake in something against their will. Preventing women from leaving the military unit demonstrates they were forced into sex labour. If it were voluntary they would be allowed to leave as they pleased and such walls would be unnecessary.

in response to whether there is proof of their kidnapping is irrelevant to the sex slavery debate. This is still a form of slavery regardless of whether there were some women who did intend to work in a brothel or not.

Abe and co suggests Japan was not to blame as it was not always Japanese nationals who recruited or kidnapped these women. But it was the Japanese govt at that time that set up such a system which enabled the mass violation of women, and provided incentives for bad individuals to traffick these women and then reward them for such behaviour.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

“It is not just Japan that did something wrong. But Japan als. did something wrong ... Just because someone else is a thief, is it all right to be a thief? Because someone else kills people, is it all right to be a murderer? That is no excuse,”

god damn you just got to love this guy's logic… he's right on. with logic like that there is no way he's Japanese.there's just got to be some mistake here

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

PS In my previous post, I forgot to say that if you know Japanese, you can find dozens of videos of Japanese soldiers confessing their crimes, going to China to apologize directly their victims etc. on U-TUBE. I forgot to say to look at U-TUBE.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"... I would rather cover it up ..." spot on how the right wingers feel. so frightened to man up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

therougou

So where is the proof? Does Matsumoto say they were kidnapped?

Civilian testimony over the years Testimony of former soldiers Military records seized by the allies War crimes tribunals Apologies offered by former leaders

There is plenty of evidence but Japan's nationalists just ignore or dismiss it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Not also that japan also invaded and occupy malaysia. Compensation was paid but it all went into the pockets of the corrupt malaysiam politicians,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He is one of a dwindling number of veterans with experience of the brothels.hmmmmmmmmm

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

But Abe has sought to distance himself from Hashimoto’s remarks, saying his government’s stance is different.

The biggest different is Mr Abe understood no countries including her allies has supported his claim and he knows it is time to shut up! But not a sincerely confession!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He's preaching to the wrong people if he's in the US. He needs to come here and speak public to the media, children and ill-informed politicians.

The UN agrees; http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201305220071

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't understand this article.. It seems that Matsumoto san is saying that he is against any kind of sexual deviance against women in which case he is against any kind of sex industry. In no way does he seem to be saying that he witnessed that women were kidnapped from their home and enforced to work as a sex slave. The article is trying to form a public opinion that somehow these women were there against their will when Matsumoto san never said that. It's his belief that any kind of sexual business is a sin. Most likely because he turned Christian, he has a thing against sexual business.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Frankly, I have mixed feelings over Japanese that confess like this. Sure, it takes great courage, blah blah blah, I guess, but it also makes your country's position worse.

If I conducted or participated in an atrocity during one of my country's wars, I'll stay very quiet about it...

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Thumb up Matsumoto-san!

Obviously the ones who do not want to acknowledge the truth will continue. Nothing new with that! And this is the biggest issue that block Japan to move forward. Japan cannot cope with its old devils.

The point is just to get in peace with the past.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

T_rexmaxytime

From the post,

mostly Asian and many Korean, forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

Matsumoto said the women had no means of escape from the walled town where his military unit was headquartered and were in fact sex slaves. “No matter if they wanted to flee, there was no way to escape,” he said.

Its quite clear, that a number of women were forced or deceived into military prostitution. We don't know the exact numbers and probably ever will. Some of those women agreed to become prostitutes but others didn't

4 ( +4 / -0 )

zichi

Thats not saying much. Its not like Matsumoto saw the actual kidnapping and etc. Its really easy to spin master information like this.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I, too, admire his courage and his timing. I'm not surprised that he waited. As reader Shimazaki points out, it's in human nature to simply not discuss atrocities you have been involved in. But given the firestorm around this issue and its prominence in the press, what perfect timing for a "confession". He was there, part of the efficient machinery that exploited those women. A "credible witness." The truth is powerful beyond words.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone who reads closely sees that he said "Japan isn't the only one who did wrong (had comfort women)" and "the root of Japan having comfort women is the war to rid Asia of US (western) Imperialism" squarely giving equal blame to the imperialists.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

T_rexmaxytime,

Since he probably examined the women from time to time for STD's, he probably also learnt about their history.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Its truly astounding the ignorance of a few posters here who still dont get that these poor women were sex slaves, sadly they are NOT rare in Japan, a country that to this day still has no clue what it did in WWII for the most part or rather doesnt have the stones to admit what it did! For shame!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@trexmaxytime

Thats not saying much. Its not like Matsumoto saw the actual kidnapping and etc. Its really easy to spin master information like this.

So you didn't actually read the article?

Excerpt

Matsumoto said the women had no means of escape from the walled town where his military unit was headquartered and were in fact sex slaves.

But if they weren't forced into this, they wouldn't WANT to escape, would they?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I put on a separate thread, just imagine your mum, little sister, big sister, daughter, any female you love, being the person on a bed somewhere waiting for these guys to come in and do their stuff on you. Lining up FFS. Take 3-4 minutes to put that image in your head, and live what the women must have gone through. Are you disgusted yet?

Nobody said it is OK, which is why Japanese leaders are constantly apologizing.

And no, that doesn't mean it is OK, as Matsumoto said himself. But how long should Japan be the only country constantly pestered by other countries for something that happened in the past and current leaders are not even remotely responsible for? The reason guys like Hashimoto make remarks in the first place is the constant stream of propaganda against Japan. But somehow its Japan that is brainwashing its citizens. OK, lol.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@therougou

OK, lol.

Says it all.

Nobody said it is OK, which is why Japanese leaders are constantly apologizing.

Do we live on same planet? The issue is most Japanese "leaders" continue to deny it ever happened. But answer the question, are you disgusted? Was it appalling? Or a necessary evil?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

T_rexmaxytime, actually the original report came from Reuters. As much as you and many Japanese would like to believe (that Korean conspiracy controls the world's media by bribing them), Koreans don't control Reuters.

I posted about this man in other threads couple of days ago, and the responses dismissing him were pretty predictable.

Here's the Reuters video news report on the former Japanese soldier in charge of examining the comfort women. He says they were forced in, unable to escape, and if they did not perform their duties as a toilet, they would have been killed.

< http://in.reuters.com/video/2013/05/23/japan-veteran-wants-justice-for-comfort?videoId=242970156&videoChannel=117460>

So all these Japan's obtusefication about being forced versus volunteer, becomes all moot points because once Japanese military prevented these women from leaving the comfort camps, they are sex slaves - which means the Japanese military ran the system, so they are responsible for that system. End of discussion.

Note:

Just wanted to make a small note that those protests in Korea in front of the Japanese embassy that were shown in the video, were done by South Korean Vietnam War veterans who took offense to the Hashimoto's accusations that South Korean military raped and pillaged Vietnamese women.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan's attitude summed up in one quote by this poster:

Kazuaki ShimazakiMay. 25, 2013 - 08:45PM JST

Frankly, I have mixed feelings over Japanese that confess like this. Sure, it takes great courage, blah blah blah, I guess, but it also makes your country's position worse.

If I conducted or participated in an atrocity during one of my country's wars, I'll stay very quiet about it...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Do we live on same planet? The issue is most Japanese "leaders" continue to deny it ever happened.

Obviously we don't live on the same planet. Because every Japanese leader has said that it did happen. Even Hashimoto's rant is based on the fact that it did happen.

But answer the question, are you disgusted? Was it appalling? Or a necessary evil?

Yes I am disgusted by the thought of it.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

therougou and others, just don't understand. It doesn't matter how many times you apologize as a form factor, you cannot continue to whitewash history as you are doing in your post while at the same time, complaining that Japan already apologized many times. Apologizing for something doesn't mean white washing history, claiming that it didn't happen, but then apologizing for hurt feelings. That's the Japanese apology. But to others, apologizing means that you recognize that these historical things did really happen, that they were wrong, that it will be taught in your schools as history, and that it will never happen again.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

realdoll: this has nothing to do with liking or hating Japan. This is just establishing and recognizing historical facts and put them where they should be: in historical books and school manuals! Period!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, I think both sides are talking past each other here. People like Hashimoto and Abe do extend their condolences for Japan's wartime atrocities. However, right wingers have a tremendous problem with the term 'Jyugun' ianfu which was introduced and gained momentum in the early 80s, this makes it sound like the army actively had imperial orders to round up women at gunpoint which would make Japan worse than the the other nations that Japan is pointing a finger at saying the pot is calling the kettle back.

Abe and Hashimoto don't want Japan to be singled out. Now, we all know they are politicians, it's hard to know what they truly believe. However, if people can calm their tempers and admit that at least to date, there are no records of imperial orders to round up women to use as sex slaves (I don't personally know if this is true, but it is what the right side claims, so why not verify this? I think it's very possible that if orders were given, it was a written in a "read in-between the lines" type of way and if there were more direct orders, they could have been burned before the war ended). We can tease out what these politicians truly believe and vote them back into office or vote them out in the next election. By making it more clear what these politicians think, we can see if they truly are in league with the revisionist extremists, or were just arguing a technicality so that they could also get the vote of the extreme right.

Admitting there are no documents of imperial orders is not admitting bad things didn't happen. But I have seen this pattern over and over again in arguments. 1 side will bring up a technicality, then the other side will counter with a personal experience and in this case, right wingers then counter that with a few examples where Japanese soldiers were court marshaled and executed for defying orders not to rape after taking a city to prove official orders were to prove the imperial army's official stance was righteous. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess there were many officers who turned a blind eye. So where does this blame lie? The officers? Where does the buck stop? If you tease this out, there is a danger that the emperor becomes responsible. So you can see why conservatives could have a problem with this.

I would suggest both sides calm down and admit facts. If it is indeed a fact that no records of imperial records exist, fine. (Can one not ask, is it not possible they were burned?). I just think if a debate is made around only the evidence that exists, politicians will end up having to show their true colors, and society can choose who stays in power.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Matsumoto is a good guy in my book.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The statement alone by Matsumoto wouldn't be sufficient to show that the Imperial Military organised a system of battlefield brothels for its troops and some of the prostitutes in those brothels weren't there out of their own accord. But the statement by Matsumoto can be added to the many other personal statements made previously by surviving troops which aren't only about this issue, but also many of the serious war crimes committed by Imperial Japan at the time.

Together, with the available documentary evidence makes a very strong case for the comfort women. On surrender, America wasn't interested in what happened at Nanjing, the military brothels or even Unit 731 which it covered up for decades. America confiscated about 300,000 documents but only translated about 14,000 of them. In the late 1950's at the request of the Japanese gov't those documents were returned without even making copies. Many documents remain sealed by the gov't and the police agency.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

On the issue of the comfort women I think all survivors received an apology from PM Murayama but they also want the correct visions of history in the school text books. Many other PM's have also given apologies. But there are still too many politicians and major leaders who deny the past.

There should be a national monument to all those who suffered the Imperialist war crimes. In Germany, they didn't pull down the Nazi death camps, they left them in place so that all future generations could know about Germany's dark Nazi past.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"Japan's wartime brothels were wrong, says 91-year-old veteran"- You don't have to be 91 years old or a veteran to figure that one out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Exactly!! As Zichi points out, not matter how many apologies and stories are put out there - as long as the history books fail to make the facts clear, countries in Asia which suffered will continue to consider Japan with mistrust. The inability or unwillingness to understand and act on this maintains an uneasy situation which could turn dangerous in future if young Japanese are allowed to hold simplistic nationalistic ideas. And they do! When Chinese people rioted and damaged Japanese businesses last year many students in my classes had NO idea of what the Chinese had suffered in WW2. They came out with one-sided anti-Chinese comments. I remember comments from politicians along the lines of "we can't allow young people to be ashamed of their country". But you have to be able to look at your country's history and past failings fair and square so they can become thinking people and not mindless sheep!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many, many props to Mr. Matsumoto. God bless you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The utterances of the Japanese right wing politicians are simply a reflection of the opinion of the majority of the Japanese people. The rest of the world may not agree with them, but the majority of Japanese people love them, and that is why they elect and re-elect them. Politicians will always say what the majority wants to hear. The deniers of the WW2 atrocities is not the Hashimotos & Co, but the majority of Japanese electorate, politicians are just the messengers.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Search YouTube there are many ex soldiers trying to make amends unit 731members and users of the state organized brothel system. It's sad that the denial is from the state and not from the participants.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kobuta Chan wrote:

Current Japanese Government is not responsible for war time Japanese Government ...

Not true. The Emperor represents a direct continuation of the line of responsibility. This is why a proper apology can come only from the Emperor.

Such an apology should be of a form that shows contrition appropriate for the crime. The Emperor should travel to Korea and, upon the ground of one of the schools where Korean high school girls were lined up for 'recruitment,' crawl on his hands and knees to the feet of the remaining former sex slaves to make his apology.

Only an apology of this sort will put an end to the matter.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

... Just because someone else is a thief, is it all right to be a thief? Because someone else kills people, is it all right to be a murderer? That is no excuse, Matsumoto said.

Classy Statement from the 91 year old Matsumoto. Well done Sir!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The inability or unwillingness to understand and act on this maintains an uneasy situation which could turn dangerous in future if young Japanese are allowed to hold simplistic nationalistic ideas.

I don't think there is any basis to that. Most people would say Germany understood and acted on its history, but the neo-Nazis out there today are much more dangerous than any nationalist Japanese. I think this is where you lose credit if you try to imply Japan is going to revive its imperialistic past (which Korean and Chinese media often say they fear).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Peter Nozawa Thurwachter wrote:

"this makes it sound like the army actively had imperial orders to round up women at gunpoint which would make Japan worse than the the other nations that Japan is pointing a finger at saying the pot is calling the kettle back."

Uh, the general consensus is that imperial Japan--a nation whose armed forces laid waste to much of China, signed a Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and then attempted to supplant the West as the hegemonic power of Asia while pretending to be "liberators"--was in fact worse than the nations it fought against. And this is why most people--including most Japanese--agree that Japan's defeat was ultimately a good thing, ultimately making possible the kind of "regime change" that the Japanese themselves could not bring about on their own. This campaign to establish some kind of moral equivalency between imperial Japan and its wartime enemies will never gain traction, primarily because other Asians will never accept such moral equivalency.

As an Asian country, modern Japan could have developed in a less destructive manner and retained its independence, a la Thailand, but it chose a path of extreme violence (chose is the operative word here; Japan was not forced to become a violent, expansionary power) that left many Asians stunned and horrified, for Asians were the primary victims of Japan's military campaigns.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You don't have to be 91 years old or a veteran to figure that one out.

You do in Japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A true hero, to amplify the voices of these women. If only more men would have the courage to call out horrific acts of sexual violence against women and girls. We condemn those countries that require four witnesses to prove a woman's rape, because her testimony alone is not sufficient. It's worrisome to see that same devaluation of women and the violation of their rights continue here today. Sex slaves have been speaking up about this matter for decades, and now with Mr. Matsumoto speaking up, we all suddenly see this as proof? It's obvious the playing field for women is not level, as women have to fight harder to be heard, to be taken seriously, to have the same access to justices. Like Mr. Matsumoto says, "because someone else kills people, is it all right to be a murderer? That is no excuse." Sexual violence is a crime and therefore there is no excuse under any circumstance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All brothels are wrong.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The "deniers" line is that women, or more often their parents, who were often in debt, were given a lump sum prepayment ("maegari") in exchange for agreeing to work as prostitutes for a period of time. Under this deniers view, once women had signed up they were not free to leave, especially from war zones. In many ways they were treated the same way as soldiers, who were also not free to leave on pain of death.

Korean soldiers and non-combatant labourers (such as miners) were, in the vast majority, forcefully conscripted but the deniers claim that the comfort women were not forcefully conscripted.

Whether the deniers are right or wrong I do not know, but as far as I am aware, nothing that this pastor says above is in disagreement with the "deniers" view of history. The deniers claim that the comfort women were recruited, as was common with others in the same industry then and now, as "indentured labourers," a system which is considered to be a form of slavery, but which does not necessarily entail forceful or deceitful recruitment or kidnapping.

The deniers claim that forceful/deceitful recruitment took place only rarely, and in spite of the government's documented efforts. The famous "proof of the Japanese government's involvement" was the discovery by Yoshiaki Yoshimi (see his wikipedia page) made public in 1993 of official correspondence warning against the use of agents that duped Korean women.

While they do not use the term, the deniers claim is essentially that the Japanese government were upper management pimps, who pimped women to their troops. Pimping is considered today to be disgusting, beyond the pail, entirely illegal, and utterly unacceptable, so even the deniers say that they are sorry.

But then "mainstream historians" claim that the Japanese were not just pimps, but deliberately and systematically rounded up Korean women in trucks at gun point, or deliberately and systematically lied to Korean women, thus forcing them to become sex slaves in the fullest sense of the term; they claim that comfort women is a euphemism for systematic and deliberate rape on a massive scale.

Who is right? Does it even matter, since the denier's reality is vile enough even if true? Or is it important?

If the Japanese government apologize to claims of "mainstream historians" they would be seen to be admitting not to pimping, but to systematic and deliberate rape on a massive scale.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What the deniers are doing is no different than what the Holocaust deniers are doing... And they actually think that the rest of the world are stupid enough to believe their denials.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Are you serious, if the Japanese soldiers and commanders committed crimes then somebody would be responsible for it, i.e. the Japanese government.

No, they would be tried as war criminals and executed. Which is what did happen to the others. Only comfort women weren't brought up at the time. Anyway nobody is going to come forward now and say they tricked or forced women into prostitution. The guy in this article came forward because he was just a medic. And even then only 50 years after the fact...

Perhaps if the US and other governments took responsibility for their soldiers' actions, Japan would follow suit given they had some kind of evidence. But they are not going to live under a double standard.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

YUBARU: It doesn't matter WHEN you decide to be good, as long as you DO IT!

WHY NOW ? ? ? ?

If not NOW, WHEN?

If not YOU, WHO?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WOW! My hat's off to you Mr. Matsumoto! Now THAT is a man of HONOR!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No wonder the Chinese and Koreans grin and use this as fuel. Stop making it sound like comfort women are only chinese and koreans. There were many taken from other asian countries as well. JT just contributes to the problem.

It makes it sound like Japan only understands that "comfort women" were only from two countries.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

According the Japanese PM and the Osaka Mayor and skew of like politicians as well as conservative Japanese academics in the best Japanese universities this man as well as the surviving sex slaves are liars. This man knows true honor.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This hasn't been the first time a japanese soldier spoke out. They were dismissed as not being actual evidence.

shrugs

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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