politics

Gov't distances itself from NHK head's 'comfort women' comment

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The Japanese government on Monday distanced itself from comments by the new head of national broadcaster NHK, who said the Imperial Army's system of wartime sex slavery was not unique to Japan.

Katsuto Momii said Saturday that the practice of forcibly drafting women into military brothels during World War II was "common in any country at war".

"Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe," he told an inaugural press conference, according to local media reports.

His comments came the day before the death in Seoul of Hwang Kum-Ja, aged 90, leaving just 55 South Korean former "comfort women" alive.

The Japanese government on Monday moved to insulate itself from Momii's comments, which it said were a personal opinion.

"Our understanding is that chairman Momii made the comment as an individual", not as the head of Japan's public broadcaster, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

It declined to comment further on the issue.

Momii, 70, has since apologised for the comments, which he described as a personal opinion.

He conceded they were "extremely inappropriate", and admitted he should not have expressed his personal views publicly, Kyodo News reported Monday.

Momii previously served as a vice chairman of trading house Mitsui, and is rumored to have been Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's preferred choice as NHK chairman, the news agency said.

During Saturday's press conference Momii had also said the comfort women issue was "complicated because South Korea says Japan was the only country that forcibly recruited women."

During Abe's first stint as prime minister in 2007, he provoked region-wide uproar when he said there was no evidence that Japan directly forced women to work as sex slaves.

His administration has struggled to escape the whiff of revisionism, with a recent visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which counts 14 senior war criminals among the souls it honors, compounding the problem.

"Regarding the comfort women issue, Prime Minister Abe is saddened when he thinks about the people who went thorough sufferings beyond description," Suga said, noting Abe's stance was the same as his predecessors.

"Comfort women" is Japan's preferred euphemism for women drafted into military brothels.

Seoul and Beijing both lashed out at the comments from a man holding an important position, and said they were symptomatic of a larger problem.

"It is deplorable that the head of Japan's public broadcaster, who should remain fair and impartial, has distorted historical facts and made such a ridiculous claim," a South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said.

"The thoughtless remark by the NHK chairman clearly illustrates that historical awareness among leading Japanese figures in Abe's Japan has diminished to a dangerous level."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regular briefing Monday that being forced to work as a sex slave caused physical and psychological damage.

"The relevant statement reflects that Japan still has some extremist elements who hope to deny or play down this fact," he said

The issue continues to provoke regional tensions, with South Korea and China insisting that Japan must face up to its World War II-era wrongs.

Historians say up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forced into brothels catering to the Japanese military in territories occupied by Japan during WWII.

Last year, popular Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto prompted global outrage last year by suggesting that "comfort women" served a "necessary" role by keeping battle-stressed soldiers in check.

In a landmark 1993 statement, then chief Japanese government spokesman Yohei Kono apologised to former comfort women and acknowledged Japan's role in causing their suffering.

© (c) 2014 AFP

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And then Funzo asked him to accompany him to Yasukuni so they could go and pray and meditate together on this topic.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

“Our understanding is that chairman Momii made the comment as an individual”, not as the head of Japan’s public broadcaster, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Well that clears that up !

From time to time I'm sure we've all expressed the odd personal opinion...

....at a press conference....

....called to announce our appointment as the head of a national broadcaster.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

yes and I suspect Funzo will secretly invite all AKB members for a private party right??? Damn I am jealous

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unfortunately all we can hope is for all these old stubborn Japanese nationalists to die off and hopefully the new generation of Japanese leaders will be wise enough to apologize....I mean, it's JUST one word "Gomenasai" How hard is it?

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Now all the personnel in NHK are clear as to what their boss's (personal) view is.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of what he said (and boy are they wrong!), NHK is supposed to be neutral. Does he want it to descend to the level of Chinese state broadcasting, or does he want it to be a serious news organisation? Well unfortunately we now know the answer to that one.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

The saddest thing is, he spoke the truth with no cotton wrapping and he is being ostracized for it. No wonder the J-Gov wants to distance themselves from his statement. They have been downplaying and dodging responsibility for this atrocity for over half a century.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

“Our understanding is that chairman Momii made the comment as an individual”

An individual expressing clearly revisionist ideas, no less. Momii is unsuitable to be the head of the NHK. He said more things than this and his views seem to be that NHK should be nothing more than a mouthpiece for government views. I believe NHK should be able to express opinions of their own.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

No, this is good news.

Had the government said nothing, that would have been scary....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hwang Woo-Yea, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party said: “Japan must bear in mind that it will forever go down in history as an unapologetic perpetrator when all the victims pass away.”

Yet another outright lie.

The Comfort Women's Fund was established, with the assistance of the Japanese government, to give compensation as well as apology to individual comfort women. Some did accept, while others did not, being persuaded by the South Korean nationalists that any such organization was somehow not legitimate. And now these same nationalists bemoan that Japan has "never" apologized. Go figure.

I don't think I need to rehash the 1965 normalization treaty with Japan. Anyone that studies that treaty will realize, if they are of sound basic intelligence and thought process, that what the anti Japan nationalists scream about today, have no merit at all.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

So, NHK goes from off-message:

The Asahi Shimbun also accused Abe and Shōichi Nakagawa of censoring a 2001 NHK program concerning "The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal".[58]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinzō_Abe#Response_to_mass_media

To just a teeny bit too on-message (see thread), now that our Supreme Advisor controls NHK:

The governors are approved by both houses of the Diet on behalf of the people of Japan and are appointed by the Prime Minister.

http://www.nhk.or.jp/pr/english/management/index.html

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@disillusioned

what more do you expect the j-gov't to do? already they have admitted to the wrong doing, attempted to compensate the victims (although many of the victims rejected the suit due to media pressure), and apologized numerous times for the wrong-doing? it is mostly the koreans who refuse to let this issue go. granted, what the head of NHK was stupid, it doesn't reflect the gov'ts past statements and actions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women#Apologies_and_compensation

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What baffles me is how that topic came up in the first place? Was it a press conference about comfort women??

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hwang Woo-Yea, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party said: “Japan must bear in mind that it will forever go down in history as an unapologetic perpetrator when all the victims pass away.”

Momii's statements were moronic and unbelievably so. However, the fact does remain that the government of Japan did pay compensation to the South Korean governement. It is hardly the fault of Japan if the South Korean government never managed to give that compensation to the people it was intended for.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People who have been here for a long time are probably tired of this pattern.

Person in a leadership position makes an absurd, abhorrent statement. Media backlash. Person apologizes for making a private opinion. All is well.

The problem is that these people believe the comments they make.

Can you imagine a US politician or head of ABC saying that black slaves from Africa were volunteers and every country had slaves, then later being sorry for making his private views known.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

For what it's worth, I also distance myself from the comment.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Apologise? He should resign. Momii is so typical of public figures in Japan, in that they make remarks that offend people and then retract and apologise for them later. Apologising in this case is simply not enough

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What baffles me is how that topic came up in the first place? Was it a press conference about comfort women??

I am guessing that the press was tipped off or aware of Momii's curious views and proceeded from there.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Unfortunately all we can hope is for all these old stubborn Japanese nationalists to die off

Last I checked Japan leads the world in longevity. Don`t hold your breath

2 ( +3 / -0 )

Katsuto Momii said Saturday that the practice of forcibly drafting women into military brothels during World War II was “common in any country at war”.

So I guess he doesn't think they wer volunteers and were forced into it?? Why is th right wing not taking HIM to task for not towing the line that these women were happy to be used by Japanese soliders?

The guy should be fired. For this statement and his comments about NHK and how it should be broadcasting about the disputer islands more often.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Momii's statements were moronic and unbelievably so. However, the fact does remain that the government of Japan did pay compensation to the South Korean governement. It is hardly the fault of Japan if the South Korean government never managed to give that compensation to the people it was intended for.

Missing the point much?

The Japanese pond is full of Momii's. As said above, they do believe in what they say. It would be good if they all took a hike (those worthless rocks somewhere is a good choice) but there is a slim chance they will ever give up their positions. Momii, as head of a national broacaster should be fired for expressing opinions that are out of touch and highly offensive. Imagine a president of German TV network denouncing the concentration camps. Good luck staying at that job... Momii can express his personal views while serving gyudon in Yoshinoya.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

“Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe,” he told an inaugural press conference, according to local media reports.

This is true. The German military also forced women into prostitution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_military_brothels_in_World_War_II

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan has been uncharacteristically defiant. Don't rile the Chinese and South Koreans and revive the ghosts of the militarist past.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In other news, Shinzo Abe was rushed to a Tokyo hospital today after shooting himself in the foot.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

He's not wrong, but someone affiliated with the J-government in any capacity can NOT say these things.

-13 ( +2 / -14 )

"the fact does remain that the government of Japan did pay compensation to the South Korean governement."

Not quite. The Asian Women's Fund was private money, not gov't money. The Japan gov't supervised the fund, in a move designed to create the illusion of government involvement.

Other Japanese money was in the form of aid and low-interest loans, which Japan - like all other developed countries - provides to other countries on a regular basis anyway.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Japanese pond is full of Momii's. As said above, they do believe in what they say. It would be good if they all took a hike (those worthless rocks somewhere is a good choice) but there is a slim chance they will ever give up their positions.

Um, I get the point just fine. There are a lot of morons in Japan and in the world. It does not change the fact that Japan did pay compensation to South Korea and that this seems to be completely forgotten by people in South Korea. Just because this idiot says something idiotic does not change the fact that the reason comfort women have not been properly compensated has nothing to do with Japan.

As to Momii, the government actually came out at a press conference shown on today's evening news and suggested Momii's inappropriate comments were a result of it being his first press conference and him not knowing what was appropriate and inappropriate to say at a press conference. Excuse me? The new head of a communications outfit did not know what would be inappropriate to say at a press conference? That strikes me as the perfect reason for him to be asked to leave the post as well as a pretty ridiculous excuse for his inappropriate remarks. A two year old would know better.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Even if it is true (that confort women were used everywhere - i believe it is false) the head of NHK should not have said something like that.

My feelings are that some old japanese man have lack of western ethics. What this man said is not right.

I don't know antthing about japanese school education, but in the West people take philosophy classes in high school and in the university. It is one of the places you learn about ethics.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@slumdog

"That strikes me as the perfect reason for him to be asked to leave the post..."

Yep. Couldn't agree more. But I'm not holding my breath.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Momii, 70, has since apologised for the comments, which he described as a personal opinion. He ... admitted he should not have expressed his personal views publicly.

oh dear J-gov, you have some real sickos there working for you. or would it be safe to conjecture that the majority of the j-gov is the same, with such humane personal opinions, so full of shxx

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wonder who would put a 70 year old war veteran at NHK when there are more qualified and younger people in the organization. Abe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yep. Couldn't agree more. But I'm not holding my breath.

Me, neither. I just do not get it, though. How can the government let a person that would say something so utterly ignorant continue to be the head of the national broadcasting organization?

How can anyone stand to have such incompetence in a position of power. This continues to be one of the mysteries of the older generation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Abe is a media control freak. He has messed with NHK before. He is testing the waters for his nationalistic agenda. Will he regress further into daydreams of his grandfather's era, or will he be restrained?

I don't know where this is going to go, and I'm worried.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What business does a 70-year old have leading a company into the future anyway. And a news company at that. I am sure I don't have to say it, but I will anyway: old people bring old values. This oyaji is clearly out of touch and should never ever have been asked to step out of retirement. Just because he is an LDP lapdog doesn't make him fit for employment (as this incident clearly shows).

brother slumdog, your argument that the blood money paid should somehow set things straight is why I think you miss the point. Japanese apologies never have been, and never will be sincere. That's because deep down, they are not sorry for what they did. On a country basis. All the money in the world couldn't set things right with Japan's neighbors until Japan fesses up and takes resposibility for former wrongdoings. Of course, it will never happen, but still...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Deep down, many Japanese think like these loons. And that's really the problem with Japan. You show regret but you don't have remorse because you felt that just because someone else got away with such horrific crimes and Japan didn't, that somehow you are justified to even think its ok for you to distort and neglect. Just because some figure head apologize or shows regret in public doesn't mean much when time after time, person of social, economic, and political importance will come out to say something like this with the gov't trying to white wash everything.

You might think that after the last of these comfort women or that great generation die off and nobody will care. And then you can move on without shame and recourse. That can't be more wrong. This type of criticism against Japan will go on for eternity if your leaders don't do the right thing. Its just going to haunt you forever. Don't let your pride get in the way.

5 ( +8 / -4 )

Well said, highball7.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Aside from war itself being evil, any man who puts his thumb on a woman's dignity by using her in this way deserves consequences. And they are not pretty.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Agreed with highball7. The meaing of remorse has no place in Japan. There are many Japanese who only have regret: the regret of not winning the war and having history written their way. Can't wait to get out of this country.. Shame for the minority of really open minded Japanese people..

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It does not change the fact that Japan did pay compensation to South Korea and that this seems to be completely forgotten by people in South Korea.

Perhaps, perhaps not. There was a privately run compensation fund for the sex slaves, but the government didnt want to appear directly involved. If they had taken a direct involvement, this wouldve been settled, once and for all. Then these poor, now elderly victims, could live out their lives in peace. The Japanese government can moan all they want about the 1965 treaty, but if they dont at least apologise unequivocally about the sex slaves and the unparallelled system they forced them into it will remain a stain on Japans history forever

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So he was only expressing a personal opinion? Sorted. Glad we got that one cleared up and we can all go back to trusting neutral, fearless and tenacious national broadcaster. Dump LDP, sorry NHK and the rest of the rubbish that passes for TV here and spend the fee subscribing to proper channels.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There was a privately run compensation fund for the sex slaves, but the government didnt want to appear directly involved. If they had taken a direct involvement, this wouldve been settled, once and for all.

The Japanese government paid compensation to South Korea. Japan wanted to pay individuals, but South Korea said they would do so. The South Korea government did not do so. Japan paid the compensation. It is on the South Korean government for not passing on the payments to the people who were earmarked to receive it.

Many Japanese prime ministers have apologized to Korea and other Asian countries. This does not erase stupid and inappropriate remarks such as those uttered by Momii. But, apologies have been made and compensation has been given. As I have written, the one thing is that the government should very specifically distance itself from all stupid outbursts such as Momii's and more people should demand that idiots like this shut up. This guy should be canned and pronto. No doubt about it.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

70???... Guess it is the new 40. 1940

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@slumdog It seems you didn't read my post higher up. The Asian Women's Fund was private money; it didn't come from Japan's public coffers.

The other payments came in the form of assistance and low-interest loans, which industrialized countries like Japan are obliged to extend regularly to less developed countries anyway.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Maybe, some countries exploited women as sex slaves/comfort women in the past. But there is a gigantic difference, there are no government officers or head of public broadcast media would openly defend such atrocity to humanity in public eyes. (if they do, the public won’t let them off the hook). Yet, only it happens in Japan, Abe’s admin still try to find some feeble excuses to justify such wrongdoing.

A swift reprimand is what Japanese gov. should do.

Abe’s admin keep showing its disingenuous contrition to the Japan war crimes; well then don’t expect winning much support from the world even if Abe spend time and efforts to sell Japanese peace-seeking intents and goodwill around the world with tons of Japanese taxpayer money.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What, are you saying there was absolutely no accommodation called "comfort men"?! Oh, the injustice! (Seriously!)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This just put a bit more light on the NHK mission: brainwashing of the mass forced to pay for this public "service"!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What are we angry about again? The fact that he admitted the women were forced, or that he said every country at war did it?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Totally unnecessary, totally uncalled for, nobody asked the question. He just pulled out a gun and shot himself in the foot. Quite possibly he even tried crossing his feet to save money on bullets. The man is a fool. A complete and utter fool.

I suppose the bright side to this is we are reading about it. It could have been deemed a 'state secret' and we'd never have heard about it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Recently discovered historical documents as well as popular films of the time show the war was very unpopular in Japan. Desertion and student protests were hidden from the world. The vast majority of Japanese hold the same ideals and ethics as the rest of the world. However every country suffers with anicient revisionist morons who have worked to make connections to gain power in government and industry and influence national policy and opinion. These men full of arrogance and pride represent a minority opinion held by ignorant uneducated people who don't understand the modern world and fear and hate it. These throwbacks will die off and lose power and influence. Meanwhile they serve as a reminder of how far we have come, and comedy fodder.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The statement " it was not only me" is nothing but an escape from the fact. Even if Japan refer to other countires which apparently did the same things, won't admit because they have to pay money for the victim. Money is money. Money doesn't solve anything. Guilty won't disapper, neither victim's feeling. I would also like to note that there would be a people who is lying so that they want money from Japanese government.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jojo: cannot you understand that the point he made is that it was normal to do so!

If other countries did the same or worse or less does not matter. There is no justification to valid this behaviour! It is not normal!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why does people speak before thinking and later having to apologize for that they said?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Our understanding is that chairman Momii made the comment as an individual”, not as the head of Japan’s public broadcaster, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

What a load.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Poor NHK employees, Getting brainless big mouth as their top boss.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“common in any country at war”...that doesn't make it ethically good though. But what is the context of his statement? Does he agree to women forced in brothels? Is he defending Japan by saying that women were used everywhere?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Where do these guys come up with these ideas? I am not sure that I have ever read any history where an invading country set up brothels for their soldiers by forcing local women into prostitution. Does anybody else have a reference? If not I would have to say that it is unique to Japan. And even if it wasn't unique it is no justification for official mass rape.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Where do these guys come up with these ideas? I am not sure that I have ever read any history where an invading country set up brothels for their soldiers by forcing local women into prostitution. Does anybody else have a reference? If not I would have to say that it is unique to Japan. And even if it wasn't unique it is no justification for official mass rape.

Just search wikipedia. The German Wehrmacht also had brothels where they forced local women into prostitution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_military_brothels_in_World_War_II

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Here is some topical background about Abe and the NHK going back to 2007, a BBC article about a successful court case against NHK for editing a program about comfort women under pressure from Abe: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6310291.stm

Obviously Abe's star is now rising. Just speculation, but IF , for example, the Asian Women Fund (aka Comfort Women's Fund) had been accepted (with reservations) by Korea, it might have strengthened the profile and voting power of those in Japan who work to reach across history to build a peaceful future. A piece about the fund: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6530197.stm .

Disclaimer: I understand that my speculative of game holding one variable constant and leaving the other free is inherently biased, and I also understand that Korea like Japan is a multifaceted society subject to political currents that accentuate some voices and suppress others.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@gelende: There are many events in history that you have never read. In Japanese language written history books, Ian-fu and Joshi-teishin-tai existences, you can find. Try Confort Woman article in Wikipedia. It is written in many languages. JP had systems. Not just coerced, but also gypped. In Wipipedia, Japanese language versions got more details than English version. Not local women only but also Japanese young girls who could not go to beyond 8th grade, Maybe you are not familiar with Japanese customs, Females were not treated as people, then. Dogs and cats obey masters but female do not, That was era before japan was defeated. These are not ideas, These were fact, Reference, I wrote for you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

oldman said: "Hwang Woo-Yea, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party said: 'Japan must bear in mind that it will forever go down in history as an unapologetic perpetrator when all the victims pass away.'

Yet another outright lie.

The Comfort Women's Fund was established, with the assistance of the Japanese government, to give compensation as well as apology to individual comfort women..."

The only lie is the quote above -- just another outright lie from a Japan-apologist. The Fund was established by the Japanese government, but the moneys it disbursed were provided by private donations. In other words, the Japanese government made a show of doing something just so they could say they did it, without actually doing it or admitting to anything.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Japanese government paid compensation to South Korea.

The 1965 Treaty between Japan and South Korea was never called "war compensation". It was called the normalization treaty - a treaty between South Korea and Japan, to reestablish diplomatic relations, in return for Japan's $250 million grants and $550 million loans. Nowhere does it say Japan apologizes so, it will pay compensations to Korea for the damages incurred. Nowhere.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Momii's comment is the prime example of people who have no clue what Germans went through after the war in order to survive the Post War lynching and discrimination in the midst of country being split in half by the Russians. So many Germans were killed, raped and died of hunger by hands of people that were once victims of German Aggression. There were unimaginable punishments against them and those who were left behind in other countries had to suffer severe abuse and death by the hands of the locals. On the other Japan is an Island and it has perfectly buffered neighbors intrusion and thus luckily avoided a pay back from victims of Japan's aggression. Plus Japan was fortunate U.S. have prevented Russian invasion in nick of time by dropping the A-Bomb. Russians fearing fire-power of the nuclear bomb chose not to confront the American in Japan. Russians really wanted a pay back and they would of definitely caused a lot of harm to Japanese people if US didn't occupy Japan. Long story short many Japanese have no idea how lucky they were because of U.S protection and because they avoided the neighbors fury for Japan's past wrong doings.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

chucky3176-- what was the money for, then? A gesture? Where is the list of exceptions to the issues resolved?

With the 1965 Treaty, the agreements between Japan and Korea concerning the settlement of problems in regard to property and claims and economic cooperation was signed. By this Agreement, problems in regard to property and claims between Japan and Korea has been settled completely and finally. To normalize relations, all issues of the past were resolved via this treaty.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

slump, the Japanese carefully worded the treaty to avoid admitting any wrong doing, so that it doesn't look like it was apologizing or making any compensation for anything, other then the word "with this money that we give, it's all settled now".

So whatever the Japanese were thinking, and what their true intentions were, you still cannot use that treaty as a "compensation", when Japan specifically designed the treaty's words to avoid the word "compensation".

Editorial from William Pesek, Bloomberg.com

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/pesek-on-asia-nhk-makes-news.html

Japan's own government mouthpiece.

On a day when NHK was covering Sony's downgrade to junk status and Japan's biggest trade deficit ever, the state broadcaster made even bigger headlines. Few thought NHK was 100 percent independent -- not when the government pays the bills. But it comes as a surprise to many that NHK is true to the dictates of the Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan almost interrupted since 1955. In a truly shocking interview with Asahi Shimbun, new Chairman Katsuto Momii said it's only natural for NHK to parrot the positions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government ("If the government says 'left' we can't say 'right'"). What's more, when asked about the World War II sex slave issue that continues to bedevil relations with South Korea, Momii wondered what the big deal was. "[The issue of] 'comfort women' is bad by today's morals," he said. "But this was a fact of those times." And this guy still has a job?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

“Our understanding is that chairman Momii made the comment as an individual”, not as the head of Japan’s public broadcaster, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Uhm, is it just me, or does anyone else notice Yoshihide didn't say anything about the substance of Momii's comment...?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Clearly, NHK reporting ought to be regarded as biased. Avoid reading their stuff, or you'll run the risk of being covertly brain washed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Right now, LDP can not afford to have him in Govt appointed position. With Nago City mayor election did not work Afterer LDP wish and Hosokawa maight be Tokyo Governor, LDP might get rid of this brainless big mouth.i

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

slumdog It seems you didn't read my post higher up. The Asian Women's Fund was private money; it didn't come from Japan's public coffers. The other payments came in the form of assistance and low-interest loans, which industrialized countries like Japan are obliged to extend regularly to less developed countries anyway.

No, the money was part of the 1965 agreement. As I wrote, the Japanese government, not private organizations, was willing to pay individuals and the South Korean government demanded the money be given directly to them.

Japan and South Korea entered a treaty. Both sides agreed with the contents and provisions and signed the treaty. It is disingenious for South Korea to pretend it did not do so.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nowhere does it say Japan apologizes so, it will pay compensations to Korea for the damages incurred. Nowhere.

Nowhere Japan fought a war against Korea since late XVI century...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The German Wehrmacht also had brothels where they forced local women into prostitution. "

See this is where this man doesn't seem to have any clue at all why his statement is off the charts crazy.

Yes, he is right. There were brothels organised in Germany and France. That's about the only thing he got right.

But, for those of you who know much about the Germany in WW2 and who was occupying France.....just think about it.

"The Nazis did it too!" Great excuse. I just don't advise any of you using it.

And yes, thousands of poor women were drafted and suffered terrible things in Europe too.

Honestly, read about them and the women who suffered in Asia, and a case could be made for the PM apologising once a year, and making sure every student learns about it.

Lest we forget.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is one of the many reasons why I refuse to give money when the NHK guy comes knocking at my door. If NHK had any sense they would have fired this man after his statement. Even if he takes it back and apologizes it doesn't change the fact that we all know his personal opinion of the matter.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

World people should check by yourselves that South Korea started making noise about this quite recently after Japan's Asahi news paper wrote about this, and SKorea took it as a tool to hit Japan.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Thanks for the clarification @Open Minded.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@toshiko:

Ian-fu and Joshi-teishin-tai existences,

These were not "comfort women", they were sex slaves. The former name is just a convenient word for the media to use, but it is by no means the truth

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@tokyodoumo

Not to lessen the horrific experiences of the Germans, but it wan't a piece of castella after the end of WWII for many Japanese either. More than a half million soldiers were kept in Siberia for labor for up to 10 years, about 10% percent died. 1.5 million Japanese civilians were in Manchuria, at first the Japanese govt. vacillated over whether they should be ALLOWED back, although they were eventually ordered back. A lot of kids were left behind and adopted in China by the Chinese: http://www.japanfocus.org/-Mariko_Asano-TAMANOI/2195

About Chinese revenge; Wikipedias summary of [Dower, John W. (1986). War Without Mercy. Race and Power in the Pacific War] states that Japanese troops were not treated badly by the Chinese and were repatriated in 1946, except for some who served the Nationalists as advisers and many more who were recruited into the Communist army. It seems like the defeated Japanese troops would have a much harder time if they were suddenly time transported into China today.

Momii's opinion instantly followed by apology is just standard operating procedure for that particular faction: a deliberate act. In this case the goal is to discredit and undermine Japanese using free speech to analyze their own countries history and set a wise future course.

Unfortunately Momii's point about hypocrisy does work in his favor. For this reason I think it would be a good idea for Caroline Kennedy to tweet an apology over the US condoning, aiding, and abetting the business of for profit criminally run conscription based house(s) of prostitution in Japan just after the end of the war. It is a well documented crime.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I don't support his comments and I think they very few people do. But there is a tendency for victors to write history in a fashion which criminalises the loser. Having said that this issue happened and was wrong.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Momii's lack of common sense in the usage of the two words 'No comment' is reason enough to seek his removal.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

aussie: Are you denying existence of Ian-fu? We Japanese knew what Ianfu meant, Just like we used to tell anyone who used gofujo ( Japanese toilet) were not God, The girls middle school increased numbers of students to accept so that young girls were not drafted to joshi-teishin-tai. Don;t think all Japanese were too stupid to know the meanings of Japanese words. We understand Japanese better than you do.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We understand Japanese better than you do. Condescension does not become you. These unfortunate women were sex slaves. It is an unfortunate unresolved matter than is blighting Korean-Japanese relations

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@aussie: Since you claim you know Japanese laniage better than any Japanese, write what ian means in Japanese men;s usage for more than 500 years. How about Chosen shinryaku, Tairiku godatsu, Shina Seiha. Ajia godatsu,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@aussie: D uring WW II, English was prohibited in Japan. Japan did not used English translated Japanese. Slave, Sex were in English, Sei Dore? No, Japanese used Japanese language IIan-fu. It was time anyone who spoke English were arrested. Thus, Japan never forced to use English translated words such as Sexs slave. Not abbreviated words. Ian-fu is Japanese language more than 400 years. Check Dainippon Hyakka jiiten before you claim you know Nihongo better than Nihon-jin. Anata-wa Nihongo o shiranai desu-ne.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Check Dainippon Hyakka jiiten before you claim you know Nihongo better than Nihon-jin

I made no such claim, merely quoting from you. Do you make such a claim?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The nomination of Katsuto Momii as NHK's new chairman is said to reflect PM Abe's strong wishes.

Nice said that birds of a feather flock together. Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Osaka, backed Momii wholeheartedly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is a barbaric aspect of history which their children and grandchildren still struggle with. Collectively, it seems odd to onlookers, especially those who do not understand Japanese social ties, and it might be that the old generation will have to die off before Japan can fully take another step forward on the issue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Osaka, backed Momii wholeheartedly.

Hmm, another one who should have been booted from office last year. The fact he wasn`t no doubt emboldened Momii to spout his nonsense

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Momii nomination increased Suga headache, How LDP will do damage control? Poor Suga, Chooh Kohron and Shinchoh along with many journalism magazines have been barking against LDP main streams. Are Japanese politicians preparing coalition government? Koizumi might do that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How LDP will do damage control?

Be getting rid of foot-in-mouth extraordinaire, Momii. That would set a clear signal to the rest of the world that such remarks from public figures are unacceptable. Sadly, a token apology will be enough in Japan

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@chucky3176

Got it. So, treaties and contracts can be nullified if we decide the "wording" does not fit what we intended when we signed it. I'll have to remember that. ...wait, why do we even sign them in the first place? I'm confused now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Totsuka-Etsuro/3885

The above link shows that the sex slaves issue was NOT settled by the treaty of 1965

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This guy was only saying what's on every Japanese person's mind. Politicians try to avoid this topic, but the fact remains that this guy was speaking for the Japanese people.

What's wrong is not what this guy says. What's wrong is that Japan as a nation does not think it did anything wrong to the countries it invaded in WW2. The only think wrong, they think, is the attack at Pearl Harbor, that got itself the beaten in the end. Everything else was OK, because "every country did the same thing before", as this guy said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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