WhirledPeas comments

Posted in: Japan, S Korea send conflicting signals on 'comfort women' feud See in context

June 20, 2005 Chosun Ilbo -- "Declassified Documents Could Trigger Avalanche of Lawsuits"


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Posted in: Japan, S Korea send conflicting signals on 'comfort women' feud See in context

Back in 2007 the comfort women activists persuaded (or pressured) U.S. Congressman Mike Honda to sponsor a congressional Resolution121 condemning Japan for kidnapping and coercing 200,000 Korean and other women into sexual servitude and suggesting (yet another) apology and addition of that viewpoint into the Japanese textbooks. The Resolution was passed in July 2007. The proposal of this Resolution is what caused the Japanese officials (not just Shinzo Abe) and scholars to protest the INACCURATE and UNFAIR portrayal of the comfort woman, The truth was that Japan's system of licensed brothels for use of military personnel was set up with the intention of REDUCING the incidents of rape (coercion), espionage, and STDs, which are known features of all wars. And the Japanese authorities gave specific instructions to procurers to not hire women without their consent (or the consent of their parents), or they would not receive a license. The Korean comfort women were recruited mainly by Korean brokers. The Japanese women were recruited by Japanese brokers. We will never know for sure, but arguably the system may have reduced rape if you consider by contrast the mind-boggling incidents of rape by the Soviets (who had no such licensed brothel system) of German women in the process of defeating the German Army.

PM Shinzo Abe was just one of the many politicians and scholars who protested against US Resolution 121. If Resolution 121 hadn’t been proposed there would have been no reason for Japan to re-open this can of worms. Why? Because in 2007 Japan was about to bring activities of the Asian Women's Fund to a close after 12 years of hard work locating former comfort women and offering written apologies and atonement money to ALL. (With the exception of the Korean comfort women, most of whom were coerced by their NGO handlers into refusing the apology and money, and publicly called traitors and prostitutes if they did accept). So, why did PM Abe and some other officials start talking (seemingly out of the blue) about re-visiting the Kono Statement after years of quiet acceptance? It is because the activists themselves escalated the comfort women issue to the point where some Japanese started questioning how exactly the Kono Statement came about!! Interestingly when comfort women activists are asked to provide concrete evidence of coercion you commonly hear either: (1) "the comfort women we know said they were coerced so they all must have been coerced," or (2) "Cabinet Secretary Kono said in the 1993 apology that there were elements of coercion, so it must be true". I think it is that kind of CIRCULAR REASONING that prompted some Japanese (including PM Abe) to want to re-examine exactly how the 1993 Kono Statement came about. And SURPRISE now it's come to light that back in 1993 the SK foreign ministry tried to COERCE Cabinet Secretary.Kono into admitting that ALL comfort women were coerced. Mr. Kono refused because that was simply not true! But for diplomacy's sake, Kono added in an ambiguous phrase indicating there were elements of coercion to the system. And now CW activists use the 1993 Kono Statement "admission" as proof there was coercion! It would appear that there is no intention of accepting Japan's apologies. Apologies are used as weapons. It is no wonder that some Japanese and also non-Japanese are beginning to advise Japan to stop apologizing.

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Posted in: Academics call on Japan to face up to its history See in context

---No, but it renders their research a whole lot more credible than that favoured by right-wingers. Moreover they are doing no more than espousing what is being taught in classrooms all over the world. It is Japan that refuses to see the light here --- Of course I am well-aware of the prestige of a Pulitzer, but neither it nor the MacArthur (the genius award) nor a Guggenheim gives a scholar a free pass or a promotion. I refused to be bedazzled by titles Scholarship has to be judged on its own merit. Otherwise you're just a lemming or sheep, or whatever favored organism you choose. . Like any other scholar a Pulitzer Prize winner must do years of careful and meticulous research. And just because some scholars have fewer prizes to add to their CV does not mean they do not do ground-breaking work.

For there to be progress in discussion over Japan's comfort women or any other issue, scholars must maintain an open mind. But it seems some scholars are quickly labeling other scholars "apologists" and "rightists" if they don't join the chorus that goes: "Japan did bad things during WWII; ergo we can say and believe anything negative about Japan we want, including the lie that Japan kidnapped and enslaved 200,000 women. So there! " Well, that is not scholarship, That is academic group think. Japan is an easy target because it lost the war, and we (the US and the KMT) had a head start with our de-humanizing propaganda machine against Japan even before the war (and in order to coax Americans into the war.. There is a lot of information out there about every topic under the sun, and unless one has unlimited time to do research you tend to believe what is easiest to believe. That is human nature. So, I guess it is easiest to believe Japan kidnapped women. But sometimes ones fondest beliefs are shaken when new information surfaces and a new narrative emerges and former scholarship is revised. Happens all the time -- in the field of history, astronomy, biology, etc. Remember the Forest of Khatyn Massacre of Polish officers that was blamed for decades on the Germans, and everyone was prepared to believe it, though the Germans denied it. Well it wasn't until the 1990's that it was revealed that the Soviets had actually committed the massacre. And so books were revised to reflect that new information. The term "revisionist" is an overused pejorative that is meaningless. It's been picked up by historians, but its been most frequently used when referring to those who deviate from the stricts socialism party line as espoused by the leader. So, Deng Hsiao Ping was a revisionist and purged from the CCP, but maneuvered to regain influence with his Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.

From my understanding Japan's curriculum is more influenced by the socialist-leaning teacher's unions than the conservatives. There is of course variation from school to school.

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Posted in: Academics call on Japan to face up to its history See in context

Four Points. FIRST, while the Pulitzer is prestigious it does not automatically mean an historian's viewpoint on each and every topic is unassailable.

SECOND, history scholars are not above a certain "herd mentality." The herd mentality clearly kicked in among the 19 who signed that first letter to the Amer. Historical Assoc. defending Ziegler's "academic freedom." Many of them were not even Asian scholars and knew little about the comfort women issue. But mention "academic freedom" and academics rally almost without thinking.Ziegler's passage in the Rand-McNally textbook that concerned Japan was: "The Japanese army forcibly recruited, conscripted, and dragooned as many as 200,000 women aged 14 to 20 to serve in military brothels, called ‘comfort houses,’” ... And the Japanese military “massacred large numbers of comfort women to cover up the operation.” Ziegler's text is overreaching and far from impartial considering that there are a number of Japanese and Korean scholars (Hata, Park Yu-Ha, Sarah So) who agree that the number was not even close to 200,000 and who agree that the system was managed licensed prostitution and the military by and large was not involved in coercing or even recruiting the women. Yes there were abuses to the system by unscrupulous recruiter/brokers (mainly Koreans who sometimes tricked Korean women). and yes there were dozens of women who were taken by lower rank soldiers in War Zones while in battle (e.g. Indonesia) .But if caught brokers and soldiers were punished as VIOLATIONS of the comfort system regulations.

THIRD I sympathize with all the comfort women whether they were willing or unwillingly participants. How they became a comfort woman and what kind of life they lived during and after varied from woman to woman. Some saved enough money to set up their own brothels or bought houses, some lived in penury. But I believe Japan has already shown its remorse by offering the public Kono apology to all comfort women in 1993 followed by individual apologies and atonement money via the Asian Women's Fund over and above the compensation Japan had given Korea in 1965 Treaty. If a Korean woman did not receive a personal apology and money it is because she was ordered by the South Korean government and the NGO Chondaehyop to refuse. I recently found out 7 accepted publicly and approx ~53 accepted under the table. Shockingly, the South Korean government denounced these women as traitors, published their names as prostitutes, and took away government support. (Park Yu-ha)

FOURTH. . The one tiny glimmer of impartiality in the Open Letter is: "This issue has become so distorted by nationalist invective in Japan AS WELL AS IN KOREA AND CHINA that many scholars, along with journalists and politicians, have lost sight of the fundamental goal of historical inquiry, which should be to understand the human condition and aspire to improve it." Many readers will gloss over this sentence (as has the South Korean press). I imagine certain scholars had to lobby to get that sentence included. But if scholars take that sentence to heart maybe they will stop posturing and dig deeper to seek truth from fact.

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Posted in: 'Haafu' to represent Japan at Miss Universe 2015 See in context

I'm glad that a beautiful woman of mixed ethnic heritage has been chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageant. This is a big step forward.for Japan. just as it was a big step forward for the US when it chose its very first Asian American, African American, or Latina to represent the US in a pageant. Even now there are still many Americans who assume that a Caucasian women would naturally be chosen to represent the US. And when the selected woman happens not to be white, the American public is still a bit surprised until it remembers that one can be of any race or ethnicity and still be an American! I imagine with the selection of Ariana the Japanese are facing a similar challenge to old assumptions. It is nice to know that a beauty pageant can offer the people of Japan and the US such valuable teaching moments!

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Posted in: Obama scolds Sony; vows U.S. response to N Korean cyberattack See in context

I'm of two minds. At first I was totally annoyed at the movie theaters and then at SONY for caving in, but after I thought about it I can see why they proceeded with caution, especially after the attacks by a lunatic who killed 12 and injured 70 in a movie theater in 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The audience in a movie theater are, after all, "sitting ducks." And afterwards the Aurora movie theater has had to deal with the legal hassles of wrongful death suits. Go figure. US people have not forgotten that trauma. Given that even a couple of days ago no one knew exactly the nature of the cyber attacks, I think SONY did the right thing. If they had gone ahead with the opening and something had happened (whether it be a NK sympathizer or simply a mentally unstable trouble-maker shooting up people in the theater or some kind of action orchestrated by NK (maybe a follow-up attack on another US company), SONY would never have heard the end of it So damned if they did, damned if they didn't show the film. At least now the entertainment and media industries and a broad swathe of Americans are united in their indignation at what amounts to an assault on artistic license via extortion by NK. I believe Pres Obama when he says we will take strong counter-measures when we are ready to do so. Watch for it.

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Posted in: Echoes of WWI battle in China resonate over Japan ties See in context

Actually, what Santayana said (1905) was: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” What he meant is humans should remember the past so that we as nations, societies, and the family of man can learn some lessons and avoid repeating the same old mistakes (for example allowing totalitarian governments or waging war). Santayana is exhorting us all to be SELF-critical. He did not mean that we must remember, wallow, or even revel in every personal or national insult and injustice that we ourselves have suffered so as to keep our anger, resentment and desire for revenge stoked. He did not mean that we should gleefully identify the mistakes which "the other party " has made so that we can rub their nose in their past errors. He is asking us to be self-critical. And Satayana certainly did not intend to provide nations an ideological green light to use their past grievances as a smokescreen for their own questionable current behavior. I agree we should not forget the past, but neither should we be mired in it or allow nations or politicians to use the past as a diversion or a weapon. And I must add that it is NOT such a simple and straightforward matter to "remember and learn from the past.." Anyone who has studied history knows that there are many interpretations of the past.events and their causes (for instance, how does fascism come about?) And anyone familiar with the principles of investing knows that "past performance does not guarantee future results" -- meaning, just because something worked (or didn't work) in the past doesn't mean the same will hold for the future.

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Posted in: Video of pick-up artist grabbing Japanese women on street triggers online protests See in context

It's one thing to guys to have more confidence around women, it's quite another to promote disrespect and abuse of women all while raking in speaker fees. I hope this misogynistic jerk is stopped asap.

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Posted in: Tokyo to consider public smoking restrictions in preparation for 2020 Olympics See in context

Just DO IT. ASAP please!

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Posted in: Manhattan Transfer singer, founder Tim Hauser dies at 72 See in context

Wonderful group RIP Tim Hauser

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Posted in: Ball in Japan's court for Xi-Abe talks: China envoy See in context

@ Flowers I answered 12 of your points, but am only posting 7 because the system won't let me post 12!

Q. “On September 18, 1951, the Chinese government issued another statement stressing that the SF Treaty is illegal and invalid and can under no circumstances be recognized.”

A. China was keenly aware of the contents of the SF Treaty. When PRC complained in writing about not being invited, it also stated that the Paracels, Spratlys, and Pratas Islands (which JPN had controlled from 1939 to 1945) should be given to China. China complained the treaty either failed to specifically address these islands, or in the case of the Pratas, turned them over to the UN. PRC made zero mention of the Senkakus. ). If PRC felt the Senkakus belonged to China PRC would have definitely mentioned them in that protest letter. In the Treaty of Taipei there was no discussion of about the Senkakus either. (And no, the Senkakus were never a part of Taiwan).

Q. "The Allied Powers recognize the full sovereignty of the Japanese people over Japan and its territorial waters" meant for the sovereignty of the people and territorial waters, nothing mentioned about the lands or islands.”

A. What?? Japan is made up of over 6000 islands, some named and some still un-named, some inhabited, some uninhabited. The SF Treaty was not about to list all of the islands that made up Japan! Rather the SF Treaty itemized which territory Japan had to renounce and Okinawa Prefecture was not one of them.

Q. “According to international laws, Japan would not have sovereignty over the islands during the period of occupation by the US because Japan had no control of that territory”

A. Right, Japan did not have sovereignty over any of its territory during the 1945-1952 Allied Occupation. Sovereignty was restored in 1952 when the Occupation ended. Thereafter, Japan had “residual sovereignty” (John Foster Dulles term) while US had sole administrative control over Okinawa Prefecture from 1952 to 1972. US returned control in 1972. As I mentioned previously the US tried to placate CHN/TWN by saying US only returned admin control and not sovereignty. This was a diplomatic ploy. The US (as powerful as one may think it is) is not in a position to giveth or taketh sovereignty. Territorial transfers are done by treaty, and no treaty had changed JPN’s sovereignty over Okinawa Prefecture. Back in 1972 US should have simply admitted to China and Taiwan that it had no power to transfer sovereignty and if CHN/TWN wanted to contest JPN’s sovereignty they had to go to the International Court of Justice.

Q. "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine."

A. After WWII the Allies determined that Okinawa (which included the Senkakus) were part of Japanese territory and that is why Okinawa was Allied-occupied until 1952, instead of renounced. Given that the 4 main islands alone make up 98% of Japan land mass and the other approximately 6000 islands (including Okinawa) all together make up only 2%, then Okinawa (and especially the Senkakus) are indeed minor! Okinawa Prefecture (which includes the Senkaku chain) as a whole is less than one percent (.06%) of Japan's territory.

Q. “Notice that Okinawa was not mentioned because its sovereignty was in question.”

A. No, Okinawa was not mentioned because Okinawa was not territory that Japan was told to renounce.

Q. “And according to Cairo Declaration, "All the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Taiwan and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories she has taken by violence and greed"

A. The fact is Japan did not steal the Senkaku islands from China, nor did Japan acquire them via the Treaty of Shimonoseki, nor as part of Taiwan. There was no violence and greed involved.

Q. “When Japan returned Taiwan to China, both sides adopted the 1945 administrative arrangement of Taiwan, with the Chinese unaware that the uninhabited “Senkaku Islands” were in fact the former Diaoyu Islands. This explains the belated protest from Taipei and Beijing over U.S. administration of the islands after the war.”

A. Chiang and the other Allies were NOT confused by the Japanese names for the Senkaku islands, any more than they were confused by the Japanese names "Manchukuo" (Manchuria) or "Takasago Koko" (Taiwan) or "Chosen” (Korea) -- all of which Japan had to renounce. The Allies (including CKS) didn't fight a long war only to fall down on the job and get confused when the "spoils of war" were being divided up!! And I must add that from 1946 to 1971, ROC clearly identified the northernmost point of Taiwan as Pengjia Islet, one of the three small islands off the northeast coast of Taiwan. And all the Taiwan maps reflected this fact up to the early 1970’s. After oil was discovered and after pressure from student-intellectual activist and oil entrepreneurs, the ROC Executive Yuan announced Dec 2, 1971 that the Senkakus/Diaoyutai belonged to China and were administrated by ROC’S “Yilan County.” Only then did ROC scramble to alter their 1972 abstract and maps to show, Kuba Jima and Taisho Jima in the Senkakus as the northernmost and easternmost points of Taiwan.

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Posted in: Ball in Japan's court for Xi-Abe talks: China envoy See in context

RealityHurtsBadlyOct. 17, 2014 - 12:11PM JST "This Diaoyu islands issue is intentionally started by Japan because Japan is desperate and afraid of having US abandon its defense agreement with Japan. Read about it here : www.forbes.com/sites/stephenharner/2012/11/07/is-japan-risking-war-to-save-the-u-s-japan-alliance/ . The HARSH reality won't change no matter how hard you try to run away from reality.. Japan needs China MUCH MUCH MORE than China needs Japan. Period."

The Senkaku matter was not started by Japan. It started by Taiwan and Chin in 1971 only after OIL was discovered in Senkaku waters by the UN.

Forbes article is by Steven Harner who certainly has a right to his opinion. But it is only one opinion, and I think he is way off-base. Japan nationalized the Senkakus because starting pre-2010 China startedsending government ships and encouraging fishing boats to trespass in the Senkaku waters. Then in 2010 Japan arrested the captain and a large crew of a fishing vessel and China demanded their release saying that they had the right to fish there because the waters belonged to China. Well this stirred up many Japanese politicians who wanted to take strong measures against JPN. Tokyo Mayor Ishihara even vowed to raise money to buy the island himself and build on it. He was about to bid on the island when the JPN government outbid him and bought the islands themselves to prevent Ishihara from building on he island. It is China that started the cascade of events that led to today's problems with the Senkakus.

Whether Japan "needs" China is not the issue. In my opinion, the whole world is now connected, so what happens in ANY country has an impact on another. Besides the issue of one country "needing: another has no bearing on who owns certain territory. That's the reasoning of a bully. The issue here is that Japan has had effective control over the Senkakus since 1895 (minus the war era), and Japan continues to have effective control. If China wants to contest this fact, this REALITY, China should file an application for China's claim to be heard by the International Court of Justice.

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Posted in: Ball in Japan's court for Xi-Abe talks: China envoy See in context

Japan regained sovereignty over its territory via the 1952 SF Peace Treaty, which ended the Occupation. The SF Treaty listed the territories that Japan had to renounce, including Korea, the Pescadores, Taiwan, Spratleys and Paracels, etc. As for Japan’s remaining territories the SF Treaty Chapter 1 (b) says: "The Allied Powers recognize the full sovereignty of the Japanese people over Japan and its territorial waters."

Okinawa (including the Senkakus) was clearly not on the renounce list. They remained a part of Japan. However, Chapter 1 Article 3 gave the US alone the right to administer Japan’s Okinawa prefecture indefinitely. The US added this clause so that it could retain its geopolitical presence in Asia and keep its military bases, ostensibly to fight the spread of communism via the Korean War and other Asian conflicts (e.g. Vietnam). This clause only pertained to the US and Japan and should not be confused with the official Allied Occupation, which ended 1952. And during this post SF Treaty period, Japan retained “residual sovereignty” over Okinawa Prefecture. This was a term coined by John Foster Dulles to describe this situation where a foreign power controls a territory owned by another. In return for taking over a whole Japanese prefecture the US agreed to provide security to Japan, allowing Japan to focus more on its economic development. During this time the US never claimed sovereignty over Okinawa, nor did it have the right to do so. Such a transfer of sovereignty from Japan to the US would have had to have been spelled out in the SF Treaty; and the treaty signatories were unlikely to have agreed to that, especially since the Allies had already declared to the world that “They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion.”

But for several reasons, by late 1960’s the US entered into negotiations with Japan to return the islands, with the stipulation the US could still have access to its military facilities on Okinawa. The Okinawa Reversion Treaty came into effect May 15, 1972, and soon thereafter Japan assumed “full responsibility and authority for the exercise of all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants of the said islands.”

The only reason that the question of sovereignty over the Senkakus ever came up was that Taiwan and later China started claiming the islands in 1970-1971after oil was discovered and said the US should not “give” the islands to Japan. But what those Diaoyu proponents failed to understand a few things: First of all, the US was returning the islands, not giving them, and besides, the US did not have the authority to “give” away territory or to decide sovereignty even if it wanted to. Second, the US presence in Okinawa was a post-occupation agreement with Japan and so the decision to return Okinawa was just between US and Japan, no other Allies. Third, after WWII, Chiang Kai-Shek took part in the decision on what Japan had to renounce and what it could keep. Okinawa and the Senkakus were clearly not on the list of those to be renounced, and for 30 years (between 1942 and 1971) CKS had never challenged the post WWII territorial decision. Fourth, the maps of Taiwan and China back in 1971 clearly showed Senkakus as part of Japan, and most Chinese assumed they were Japan’s!

The US government knew all this, but certain politicians (a) wanted to appease the PRC because Nixon was about to normalize relations with China as a counterbalance to the USSR; and (b) wanted to placate Taiwan because they knew Taiwan would soon go ballistic over US overtures to the PRC! Seeking a short-term solution, the US decided to do a clever end-run around the question of who owned the Senkakus. The US declared it had no position on the sovereignty of the Senkakus and the US still holds that position. Now this doesn’t mean that Japan doesn’t have sovereignty over the Senkakus (it does). It just means the US takes no position, just as it takes no position on many other territorial matters. The US also said it is only returning administrative control to Japan. Diaoyu activists point gleefully to this as “proof” that the US didn’t “give” sovereignty of the Senkakus back to Japan. But the fact is that the US never had sovereignty over the Senkakus in the first place. So the US could not return what it did not possess. Sovereignty can only be (peacefully) transferred via Treaty or deliberation by the International Court of Justice. Sovereignty over Okinawa Prefecture had already been returned to Japan via the SF Treaty, and from 1952 and 1972 Japan had residual sovereignty over Okinawa Prefecture, which simply meant Japan owned it while the US had administrative control over it.

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Posted in: New daycare centers held up by residents opposing noisy kids See in context

@Smithin Japan: I'm not arguing that there is or isn't widespread NIMBY against daycare centers. Mine was an editorial criticism. Sorry if I was not clear. Each article a reporter writes stands alone, not in the context of other articles that have previously appeared in that media source over time. So if the reporter titles the article (as was done here) " New Daycare Centers [plural] held up by residents opposing noisy kids," she should show evidence of more than one case of NIMBY. The other option is to title the article "New Daycare Center [singular] held up by residents opposing noisy kids." Then the reporter can talk about the challenges to that single daycare center and opine that if a NIMBY attitude is encountered in many places, it is going to hurt Japan's campaigns to increase the birthrate and to encourage women to work.

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Posted in: New daycare centers held up by residents opposing noisy kids See in context

This article only cites one instance of old-timer resistance to daycare centers -- in Setagaya ward. Where else is this happening. One example does not show a trend make.

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Posted in: Parents arrested for chaining 8-year-old son inside house See in context

I also would be interested in a follow up to this story. Is there ever a happy ending for a child abused by his parents? If the child is taken from his parents, will he end up in foster care -- which itself has its problems. Does the poor child have any decent relatives or family friends who will take him in?

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Posted in: Wedding send-off See in context

There are TWO photos of the princess. The top photo is of her in a white western gown and the small one below (click to enlarge) shows her in a Japanese red brocade kimono. Is that so unusual? Many ordinary Japanese have at least two changes of clothing, one including kimono. And in western countries you often see the bride in the bridal gown and later in another less-constricting dress. I recently went to a Vietnamese wedding and the bride had 3 changes of clothing, one being traditional Vietnamese attire.

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Posted in: U.N. issues fresh call to Japan over WWII 'comfort women' See in context

Japan's apology to the former comfort women was indeed official based on consensus or vote of the ruling parties, which gave the go-ahead to Kono and the various PM's to make the apology and offer atonement money. It is nonsense that in order for the apology to be official Japan needed to so-called RATIFY the apology. It is a phoney prerequisite certain activists have latched on to keep the issue alive and festering. It makes one wonder if they really want an apology!

Referring to various US apologies -- to Japanese Americans, to native Hawaiians, and to African Americans for slavery, note that the USA did NOT "Ratify" the apologies like they would ratify a TREATY among countries or a UN PROTOCOL or a US constitutional AMENDMENT like the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (introduced in 1923 and still not ratified by the required number of states). The way the US apologies came to be was first a US lawmaker proposed an apology be made and lined up fellow supporters. Then Congress went through a period of research and discussion and more caucusing among current legislators, then voted. There was opposition on all three apologies, but the pro-apology forces prevailed and so an apology was made. Japan went through a similar process, though it is possible they were seeking consensus among legislators of the three ruling parties, rather than just a majority. Either way an OFFICIAL apology emerged from the Japanese legislative process and the Prime Minister signed.

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Posted in: U.N. issues fresh call to Japan over WWII 'comfort women' See in context

To the former comfort women Japan apologized. Japan gave atonement funds. Japan gave health and welfare support. If a comfort woman did not receive the above, EITHER she did not self-identify during the time Japan advertised for the comfort women to come forward OR she declined the apology and compensation at the behest of activists like Chongdaehyop who were representing them.

I do not fault Chongdaehyop (along with the SK government, etc.) for wanting an apology. That was appropriate. Many progressive Japanese citizens and politicians also felt JPN must apologize AND offer some form of atonement money. They worked hard to support the comfort women as grassroots advocates or as insiders in the Japanese government.. As I see it , the Kono Statement was an accomplishment for pro-comfort woman forces inside and outside the JPN government. The Kono Statement not only acknowledged and apologized for the comfort women SYSTEM, it acknowledged that in some cases there was coercion; which just knowing about SNAFUS in bureaucracy,, breakdowns in chain of command, and human opportunism one could easily find plausible.

The problem with groups like Chondaehyop is that they were naive and lacked appreciation for what their own efforts had accomplished. They did not understand the complex negotiations, caucusing, and compromise that go on behind the scenes of ANY government prior to coming to a vote or consensus on making an apology or making any other government decision or action. In any government body there is a diversity of opinion amongst hundreds of individuals. . And any consensus represents a give and take. Timing is of the essence, and the composition of the legislative body at that moment can make the difference between success and failure. Sometimes a desirable decision rests on the ability of individual statesmen or those able to "finesse" the situation. The consensus achieved in 1993 showed that the progressive Japanese forces had prevailed. Chongdaehyop should have seized the moment, patted themselves on the back for their part in persuading Japan to apologize, etc., declared a victory and left it at that.

But instead, by forcing the comfort women to refuse Japan's apology and atonement funds and by continuing to insist that Japan admit to coercing every single comfort women (which is simply not true according to Japanese and Korean scholars) the Chongdaehyop in effect PULLED THE RUG OUT from under the pro-comfort woman progressive forces among the Japanese citizenry and within the JPN government and reinforced the less-progressive forces. I can only imagine how Chief Cabinet Secty Kono (on behalf of JPN) must have felt after having accepted a great deal of SK input on his Kono apology only for activists to assert the apology was not official enough. This was damaging to supporters of the comfort women. This the dynamics of real politics. Anyone who has participated on any kind of governing council even at the community level would immediately understand this dynamic and the damage Chongdaehyop did to a righteous cause.

I still hope that some kind of understanding can come about on this issue. But I have the uneasy feeling that President Park and perhaps her predecessors have been held hostage to an ultra dogmatic, oppositional ideological trend which has and will make it difficult for any SK leader to govern.

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Posted in: U.N. issues fresh call to Japan over WWII 'comfort women' See in context

And is an apology invalid if not everyone in the government agrees an apology and atonement is in order? Take for example the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (apologizing to and compensating the Japanese Americans who were interned in relocation camps from 1942 to 1945. It took a superhuman effort for supporters of the bill inside and outside of the halls of government to get it through the House and Senate. And in the end it passed, but it wasn't unanimous. Senate: 69 YES, 27 NO,, 4 no vote. House: 243 YES, 141 NO, 38 no vote. Even President Reagan was at first opposed. That leaves a lot of US lawmakers who didn't want to apologize or compensate and to this day claim internment was to protect the US from potential sabotage. The Japanese Americans could have raised a fuss that the US government wasn't sincere because not ALL lawmakers voted YES. They could have also argued the amount of compensation given that some had lost huge tracts of land which is now prime California property and many had been pulled out of top notch schools like Berkeley.. But from what I gather, it NEVER occurred to them to do that. They accepted the apology with gratitude and relief. Had they refused the apology and compensation and held out for more money or a 100% endorsement of the Civil Liberties Bill they would have fueled a huge backlash by the non-supporters and lost the understanding and patience of supporters and those sitting on the fence.

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Posted in: U.N. issues fresh call to Japan over WWII 'comfort women' See in context

Japan's various apologies to the comfort woman were made on behalf of the government, not "just by individuals." The 1993 Kono Statement was written by Yohei Kono who was speaking not as an individual but as a key representative of JPN's Cabinet! . Soon thereafter another apology was given by Prime Minister Murayama (1994) on behalf of the then-coalition government formed by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, the Socialist Party, and the New Party Sakigake. Soon thereafter these ruling parties set up a Sub-committee "To Address the Wartime Comfort Women Issue. There was heated debate in this committee over whether or not Japan should or could offer compensation per se to the women given that the JPN-SK Treaty of 1965 was supposed to have settled all compensation matters. Finally, the committee did agree that Japan had a moral obligation to offer apology and some form of atonement money to the women. The JPN government took the recommendation of the subcommittee and decided to offer each comfort woman a written apology, "atonement money" of 2 million yen (about $20,000 in today's currency) and 3 million yen (about $30,000) in health and welfare support (the amt for SK women)., and the government set up the Asian Women's Fund (1995 to 2007) as its administrative arm to make it happen.

It should be understood that the Prime Minister represents the government not just himself, just as the President of the US does not speak just as an individual. The written apology to the comfort women over the years was signed by Prime Ministers Ryutaro Hashimoto, then Keizo Obuchi, then Yoshiro Mori and finally Junichiro Koizumi on behalf of Japan.

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Posted in: J.League club bans teen for waving banana at Brazilian player See in context

Ohhh, thanks BurkuminDes for the explanation. Okay, now I get it. Yes, it is thoroughly disgusting and immature behavior!

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Posted in: J.League club bans teen for waving banana at Brazilian player See in context

I just don't get how a banana is an insult to a Brazilian. Back in the heyday of the various ethnic movements a banana meant yellow (Asian) on the outside and white on the inside. Similarly an oreo meant black (African American) on the outside, white on the inside and a coconut was brown on the outside white on the inside The insult was often hurled by movement individuals or groups who wanted Asians or Blacks or Latinos to think and act in a way that they thought was in synch with their ethnicity's cultural, economic and political interests -- as if there is just one prescribed way an Asian or Black or Latino should think and act . It was a form of movement peer pressure and conformity. Recently Mr. Gary Locke, former US ambassador to China (and a 3rd gen Chinese American) was labeled a rotten banana in one Chinese media editorial ostensibly because he didn't know how to speak Chinese, he exposed the severity of pollution and. he supported Chen Guangcheng (the blind activist) to take refuge in the US. Apparently to some forces in CHINA Locke was not Chinese enough! So Asians and bananas I get. But Brazilians? Was the fan making a statement about Banana Republics???

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Posted in: 3 Japanese students killed, 5 injured in California car crash See in context

Terribly tragic. Condolences to family and friends of the students. I'm thinking organizations that sponsor foreign exchange programs should start discouraging foreign students from driving, especially when the student first arrives and especially if s/he is of an age where s/he is likely not to have had much driving experience. Of course, someone made the point that public transportation is not readily available in all cities, and that is true, but if schools are venturing more and more into recruiting foreign students (lucrative because of the higher out or state tuition), administrators need to be proactive about warning foreign students about the hazards of driving in the US, and perhaps offer alternatives. In Japan few 19 year even have their license. And in JPN you sit on the right and drive on the left. If you are not used to the American system it's easy to become confused. It's worse if you don't know English! I've been driving for decades, but I would not feel confident driving in Japan, England, or South Africa as a visitor. Also schools should do more to help foreign students avoid being a victim of crime (for e.g. that poort University of Southern California engineering student from China who was recently killed by street thugs).

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Posted in: U.S. experts blame both Japan, S Korea for tensions See in context

Ultra doctrinaire forces like Chongdaehyop should have stopped while they were ahead. (I explained their role in greater detail in another thread). The JPN government would not have felt compelled to revisit the circumstances leading to the Kono Statement if Chongdaehyop and the like hadn't kept insisting (post Kono Statement), with greater and greater venom over the years that ALL of the comfort women had been COERCED into sexual slavery. Research clearly shows some of the comfort women had indeed been prostitutes looking for work, some had been sold by family to pay off debts, and yes, some (especially later in the war), were tricked or coerced. But regardless of HOW they were recruited, the Japanese government was prepared to apologize to ALL former comfort women and offer them some form of compensation (even though Japan had already given SK compensatory funds for conscripted workers in 1965). It was not the JPN government that was fixated on whether the women volunteered or were forced. JPN was prepared to admit that the comfort woman system was WRONG period.

In my opinion, the fact that the SK government participated in crafting the Kono Statement was a positive thing. It shows that Japan was willing to work with SK to produce an apology that would protect the honor of the comfort women and satisfy the SK government, without admitting to something that was not true. The Kono Statement says that there is evidence that there was coercion in recruiting the women. This phrasing was a diplomatic compromise. The phrasing acknowledges that an element of coercion did exist without saying coercion existed across the board. The phrasing was just vague enough that it would help save face and reputation of any of the women who had actually been prostitutes when recruited.

This statement by Cabinet Minister Kono, and reinforced by many Prime Ministers thereafter should have been the end of the Korean comfort woman matter. But Chongdaehyop and the like continued to be fixated on getting Japan to admit that ALL comfort women had been coerced. When individual JPN politicians and scholars (including Korean scholars) ried to correct that mistaken notion they were accused of "splitting hairs." But who was the one who made a huge deal about HOW the comfort women were recruited in the first place. Japan was offering a written apology, atonement money, and health and welfare services to ALL of them, regardless of whether they had volunteered or were coerced.

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Posted in: Pope urges Koreans to forge peace; greets ex-comfort women See in context

I believe the comfort woman issue would have turned out very differently if the Korean and Japanese movements to compensate the former comfort women (back in the 1990's) hadn't been hijacked by a group of doctrinaire activists (Chongdaehyop) who basically pressured the SK government not to cooperate with the Japanese government's efforts to atone for the comfort women system.. And by extension that move effectively denied or at least delayed the comfort women closure to the matter. Chongdaehyop pressured the ex- comfort women to reject the apology from the Japanese prime minister(s) and also to reject the proposed atonement money (2 million yen plus healthcare support) gathered from citizen donations. They even got the SK government to provide some lodging funds for the comfort women, but only to those women who refused the Japanese offer -- thereby creating an exclusionary atmosphere among the victims. Some comfort women did in fact openly accept Japan's apology and money and others accepted under the table, not wanting the other comfort women and the activists to know.

Chongdaehyop objected to the atonement money coming from donations from the public and objected to the effort being coordinated by a "private" organization, and they insisted any money must come directly from the government. THEREIN LAY THE PROBLEM. When the comfort woman issue was brought to the JPN government's attention in early 1990's there was strong support within the Japanese government and citizenry to compensate the women, but the sticking point was HOW to compensate given that Japan had already provided reparation money to SK back in 1964 -- and SK government had said that out of the reparations it would compensate all Koreans who had been conscripted to work for Imperial Japan. To solve this dilemma the Japanese government created a so-called "private" but in-effect government-sponsored arm called the Asian Women's Fund. This was the solution the JPN government found to enable them to compensate the women while not compromising the terms of the 1964 Korea-Japan Treaty.. The idea being the government would provide operating and staffing expenses, and the AWF would act as the government's private arm to locate and interview the comfort women, gather donations, arrange for MOU (memoranda of understanding) with affected countries, and organize ceremonies to offer the apology and funds. The AWF was in existence from 1995 to 2007 (twelve years). AWF staff (many of whom had dedicated 12 years of their lives to the cause) were so disappointed by those Korean comfort women who rejected the apology and funds. I believe if the Korean comfort women had accepted then that would not have been the end of Japan's efforts to help them. I believe the Japanese people, many of whom had donated to their cause and written personal notes would have continued to look out for the welfare of the comfort women, would have been their friend and protector and lobbier for life, would have visited them, would have raised more money as needed, and would have continued to organize against the victimization of all women during war and peace time. That is the transformational power of the acceptance of apology.

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Posted in: China orders 'patriotic' TV series targeting Japan See in context

@drakedogmas. During WWII and before the Chinese nationalists and communists differed on what kind of society they wanted China to become. But together they entered into a temporary United Front to repel the Japanese. Arguably, the Nationalists under Chiang kai-shek did the bulk of fighting and dying in the second Sino-JPN war (WWII). But once China was rid of the Japanese the communists immediately turned their attention to fighting and defeating the nationalists. And once the CCP came into power in 1949, the CCP took the lion's share of the credit for ridding the country of the Japanese. It was as if the Nationalists never existed, or at best they were a force to be tolerated ONLY while fighting the common enemy. Then once JPN was defeated it was expose, expose, expose the nationalists for allegedly not having China's true interests at heart. Mao was super clever about maintaining communist "independence and initiative within the United Front" and eventually defeated the nationalists in the name of socialism. Interestingly, the nationalists (ROC), who fled to Taiwan, never produced that much anti-Japan propaganda after WWII. And the CCP itself did not spew anti-JPN propaganda through the 1970's and 1980's. (in fact, China was only too happy to accept Japan as an economic partner to help modernize China!). The CCP did not start a concerted anti-Japan campaign until Tienanmen happened in 1989. After Tienanmen, Deng needed a way to shore up the CCP reputation, and so he dredged up Japan's WWII transgressions and promoted the CCP as the sole savior of the Chinese people against Japan. He thought that the more he could vilify JPN, the more heroic became the CCP in the eyes of the masses. So yes, you are right it is a matter of the Chinese people not being allowed to let things go. But all the propaganda is definitely a product of the communists, or at least the CCP.

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Posted in: China orders 'patriotic' TV series targeting Japan See in context

"China orders 'patriotic' TV series targeting Japan."

Has there ever been a period since the inception of Deng's 1990's patriotic re-education campaign that Japan has NOT been the target of CCP propaganda? I don't think so. I do think eventually the Chinese people will get weary of the same old formulaic, un-nuanced, and anti-creative film and TV depictions of the evil Japanese, the oppressed peasants and workers, and the staunch and heroic cadre-savior -- just as decades ago the Chinese got sick and tired of being restricted to watching only 8 approved "Model Operas" (like the White-Haired Girl and the Red Detachment of Women). The producers of these primitive anti-JPN TV series just parrot the CCP line of the moment. They have nothing creative or literary to offer the world. Maybe one day the Chinese will all look back at these outlandish movies and consider them so bad they become kitsch, like Mao statues are becoming in some cities.

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Posted in: Japan's youth Olympians told to keep low profile in China See in context

I don't think it would be a bad idea for the sports team to lay a wreath with flowers and handmade cranes of peace at the Nanjing memorial. No the young people should not feel it is necessary or mandatory, and I don't think the young generation should be guilt-whipped about the past or feel compelled to lay a wreath every time they stop by the city. BUT, I do think there is a place for citizen diplomacy and for sincere good-will gestures. Small gestures can make a difference in human relations. When I visited Pearl Harbor a year or so ago I saw scores of Japanese visitors who came to pay respects to the American soldiers who were killed in the bombing; I even saw many dressed in uniforms, and I realized they were part of the JPN self-defense forces. As an American I felt this was a sincere gesture of friendship and conciliation. It made an impression on me.

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Posted in: China says Japan fighter jets shadowed its planes over disputed waters See in context

"Why is the US neutral [on the Senkakus]?

As Tamarama points out the US isn't exactly neutral in words and action.

But the history behind the US declaring it takes no position on the Senkakus goes back to Nixon's trip to China, which was being planned for 1972 just after ROC and PRC (ROC mainly) began to pressure the US government to not return the Senkaku to Japan in the upcoming 1972 Okinawa Reversion. Nixon and Congress wanted to at least appear to offer a concession to ROC (an ally) and PRC (a potential balance to the USSR). The US went right ahead with its plan to return to Japan control of Okinawa Prefecture (judicial, legislative and executive) and this included control of the Senkakus. The concession Nixon/Congress offered was a statement that (a) the US took no position on the sovereignty of the Senkakus; ( b) the US was returning only administrative control; and (c) the US return of the Senkakus to Japan (as planned) didn't prevent ROC and PRC from arguing heir claim.

These were only concessions in appearance because (a) The US doesn't take a position on many territorial spats anyway. Plus, the fact the US takes no position on the Senkakus does not alter the fact that Japan had sovereignty over the Senkakus prior to the Occupation (since 1895) and residual sovereignty after the Occupation ended in 1952. (b) The US only had admin control, not sovereignty over Okinawa to being with. And Nixon and Kissinger knew it was not the jurisdiction of the US president or Congress to assign or transfer sovereignty in the first place. Only a new treaty could transfer sovereignty -- or perhaps a binding agreement by the ICJ. (c) ANY PARTY can attempt to make a claim on another country's territory. Doesn't mean they'll win or win them friends, but they can try (e.g. Iceland can try to claim Boston based on Lief's visit in ancient time). ROC and PRC did not require special permission from the US.

Nixon should have made it abundantly clear to ROC and PRC back in 1972 that the US does not have the power to legitimately giveth or taketh away sovereignty and that ROC and PRC should file an application with the ICJ if they wanted to pursue their claim. Instead Nixon sacrificed clarity on the Senkaku issue for his short term desire to appear to make nice with PRC and ROC.

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