Mainichi Shinbun is reporting that Japan will conduct a new investigation into the use of brothels and the attendant “comfort women”.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that ruling party lawmakers will conduct a fresh investigation into the Japanese military’s use of brothels during World War II.

The government is ready to cooperate with the investigation, Abe told a group of reporters, amid calls for a review from conservatives who question many of the claims by victims and others who say the government kidnapped the women and force them into sex slavery.

“I was told the party will conduct an investigation or a study, so we will provide government documents and cooperate as necessary,” he said.

Last week, Abe triggered outrage across Asia by saying there was no proof the women were coerced into prostitution. On Monday he said Japan will not apologize again for the Japanese military’s “comfort stations.”

Earlier Thursday, Japan’s top government spokesman said that Japan’s position on the coercion of women into sex slavery on the front-line during WWII has been misinterpreted and misrepresented by the U.S. media, and Tokyo will soon issue a rebuttal.

Abe’s remarks came as the U.S. Congress was considering a resolution demanding a formal apology from Japan for its wartime use of the women.

Prime Minister Abe made it clear articles appearing overseas contained misquotes and distortions. Occidentalism readers already knew about this because I identified the misquotes and distortions as soon as they appeared. These kinds of things are the reason Occidentalism exists.

Japanese leaders apologized in 1993 for the government’s role, but the apology was not approved by the Diet. Japanese officials have said the government will not issue a fresh apology and that the issue has been blown up by the U.S. media.

“Our view is that the media reports are being made without an appropriate interpretation of the prime minister’s remarks,” chief Cabinet spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki said. “We are considering appropriate measures, such as putting out a rebuttal to reports or comments that are not based on facts or that are based on incorrect interpretations.”

He did not cite any specific reports.

“My remarks have been twisted in a sense and reported overseas which further invites misunderstanding,” Abe said. “This is an extremely unproductive situation,” he said.

HT to Ampontan.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Racist Industrial Complex. Date: March 9, 2007, 4:32 am | 26 Comments »

26 Responses

  1. tomato Says:

    I don’t get it- if the Prime Minister apologized, isn’t that good enough? Why should it have to be the diet? The diet does not address diplomatic issues- or the people who are demanding this wants all the Japanese people to bow their heads in apology and beg forgiveness?

  2. Matt Says:

    I don’t get it- if the Prime Minister apologized, isn’t that good enough? Why should it have to be the diet? The diet does not address diplomatic issues- or the people who are demanding this wants all the Japanese people to bow their heads in apology and beg forgiveness?

    I think the point is to make an apology impossible. Some people are even demanding that the Japanese Prime Minister go to the comfort women and get on his hands and knees to beg for forgiveness. Lee Yong-Soo, the “comfort woman” with the contradictory stories is one of those demanding that.

  3. jion999 Says:

    Matt

    Some people are even demanding that the Japanese Prime Minister go to the comfort women and get on his hands and knees to beg for forgiveness.

    I just remembered the old custom of Chinese Empire, “kowtow” (三跪九叩頭).
    In 17c, not only Korean kings but also European traders and Ambassadors were forced this custom to kneel down 3 times and bow 9 times in front of Chinese Emperor.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kowtow
    British ambassador ejected this custom and failed in negotiating the British requests.
    As a result, the Opium War broke out in 1839.
    Korean professor mentioned comfort women must be prostitutes, and he was forced to kneel down and apologize in front of Comfort women a few years ago.
    If Abe apologizes to them this time, they will ask Japanese Emperor to kneel down next time.

  4. jion999 Says:

    ejected→rejected
    sorry

  5. jion999 Says:

    17c→18c
    sorry again

  6. sakovich Says:

    1. According to the Japanese constitution, the Diet has supreme political authority.

    2. Note carefully that the LDP will conduct the investigation (the ruling party). This may well be setting the stage to rescind the Kono apology. Some in the LDP think that Kono went too far on too little evidence.

  7. Matt Says:

    2. Note carefully that the LDP will conduct the investigation (the ruling party). This may well be setting the stage to rescind the Kono apology. Some in the LDP think that Kono went too far on too little evidence.

    Sakovich, any idea why it is the LDP, with the cooperation of the government, investigating?

  8. sakovich Says:

    No I don’t, Matt, unless it is for the reason I already mentioned.

    The previous investigation supposedly lasted two years. I don’t know what they’ll find this time.

    I think we can be certain, however, that the people who want to slap Abe down will move heaven and earth to find something to do it with, and if there’s something out there, they’ll find it.

  9. tomato Says:

    Actually, the part about the Diet not approving is apparently misleading. As sakovich pointed out, basic policies are decided by the Diet, and without the approval of the Diet, the Chief Cabinet Secretary is not going to issue a statement:

    http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/women/fund/state9308.html

    Note that the fund is under Cabinet approval:
    http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/women/fund/policy0011.html

    Another falsification, I guess?

  10. hana Says:

    tomato san
    Mr.Yukio Izumi,who writes exposition of Mr,Abiru’s book, wrote his thoughts about the reason why they insist formal apology from Japanese governmet in his blog.
    I think his thoughts maybe one possibility.

  11. hana Says:

    つづき
    個人補償の訴訟を開く為には、河野談話(announce)と元慰安婦の証言だけでは難しい。それで新たな日本政府の正式な謝罪(statement)があれば 「日本政府がようやく謝罪しました。これはSF条約では手つかずの問題でした。だからこそ、わざわざ日本政府が今になって正式に謝罪したのです。ですから保証金の問題もいちから議論する必要が有るのです。」と終わりのない訴訟を始められる。
    http://blog.mag2.com/m/log/ooooo658581/

  12. hana Says:

    This address does not work again. sorry.
    I do not know why.

  13. tomato Says:

    hana, Matt

    I’m seeing articles that seems to suggest that Mike Honda’s gang is demanding the Japanese parliament to issue an apology. Can this be confirmed?
    If this be true, and if the US resolution goes through, it’s going to create a grave situation- countries don’t go around and tell other countries’ parliaments to resolve something- that’s way too much intrusion of sovereignty. And not just that, the parliament in a democracy represents so many constituencies and different interest groups that it can’t be reasonably expected to agree on anything, especially like here when outright foreign pressure in involved.

    Given the fact that the Japanese government did in fact apologize for this issue, and acted in the best way plausible by putting up a fund (Japan can’t possibly agree to further compensation after signing the clear and equivocal treaty that it doesn’t need to anymore…if not, what the heck are treaties for?…it’s a wonder why demonizers of Japan don’t get this part of the issue or just chose to ignore it), one should realize the the absurdness of what Mike Honda’s gang is trying pull here. Well, Abe’s somewhat ambiguous comments only encouraged Japan-bashers to finally get their prize, but still, Honda is pushing too far.

  14. kjeff Says:

    Matt and Gerry,
    Did you erase one of my comments? I can’t seem to find it. I was sure that I posted here, something about Darth Cheney. Eaten by your spamware?

  15. Gerry-Bevers Says:

    Kjeff,

    I just checked the spamware list and did not see your comment. All I know is that I did not delete it. In fact, I do not delete anything except for maybe double postings.

    Is it possible your comment may have been off topic?

  16. kjeff Says:

    Gerry,
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Is it possible your comment may have been off topic?

    I’m a litle confused. But, well I’ll repost it, and if you see it as off-topic, can you post a notice that you’re deleting it? So that I know… Many thanks.

    Yippe!!! Yeah!!! The Republican Party is investigating Veep Darth Cheney’s misconducts. I CANNOT wait. Hurray!!!
    What’s that?(a glowing sky in the distance) What? His office is on fire? No… (T-Mobile ringtones)What now? (unintelligible voice) What, a main pipe burst in his basement? Nooo…
    Next morning,
    Hot Off the Wire: Mr. Libby died last night; he was found hanging…wait(it doesn’t sound right, a republican should’ve gone out with a BANG) Revise: Mr. Libby has shot himself in the head. NOOO…

    P.S. On topic, LDP investigating ‘comfort women’, duh?

  17. hana Says:

    tomato san
    Rep.Mike Honda and Rep. Roheabacher worked togather before.
    “Update on letigation and Legislation (2001)
    by Edward Jackfert
    http://home.comcast.net/~winjerd/Lawsuits.htm
    I hope this address worke this time.
    Sorry Matt san. This is not direct information of this thread but I would like to tomato san to know thiss information.
    tomato san please read this site.

  18. Matt Says:

    Matt and Gerry,
    Did you erase one of my comments? I can’t seem to find it. I was sure that I posted here, something about Darth Cheney. Eaten by your spamware?

    Sorry, I deleted it. It was way off topic, and I just couldn’t see the connection between Cheney and the subject under discussion. If people were to reply to you, it had the potential to derail the thread. I am sure it was not your intention, but it was a hell of a red herring.

  19. kjeff Says:

    Matt,
    I guess it was just me then.(No “It’s just you” comment please) LDP, the conservative party, is conducting “a fresh investigation into the Japanese military’s use of brothels during World War II”, the very issue some within the party are determined to whitewash? Call me cynical, but that’s just too self-serving, no? I thought the connection to my hyperbolic Cheney’s scenario was pretty obvious. Was I a little too dramatic? Well, it’s your blog, you make the call. I wouldn’t normally do this( I’d wait and reserve my judgement), but some here were taking cheap shots at Rep. Honda, well smears, (at beyond ‘childish’ level, ‘L’ on his donor lists, come on!), in that regard, I don’t think I was out of line nor irrelevant for that matter. Then again, I’m your guest so…

  20. Matt Says:

    Matt,
    I guess it was just me then.(No “It’s just you” comment please) LDP, the conservative party, is conducting “a fresh investigation into the Japanese military’s use of brothels during World War II”, the very issue some within the party are determined to whitewash? Call me cynical, but that’s just too self-serving, no? I thought the connection to my hyperbolic Cheney’s scenario was pretty obvious. Was I a little too dramatic? Well, it’s your blog, you make the call. I wouldn’t normally do this( I’d wait and reserve my judgement), but some here were taking cheap shots at Rep. Honda, well smears, (at beyond ‘childish’ level, ‘L’ on his donor lists, come on!), in that regard, I don’t think I was out of line nor irrelevant for that matter. Then again, I’m your guest so…

    Sorry again, kjeff. I did not make the connection immediately because the LDP was not the party in power during WW2, so I could not see the GOP-Libby connection as relevant to this discussion. I was worried that this thread, like many others out there on the blogosphere, could become disrupted with talk of “Bushitler”.

  21. kjeff Says:

    Matt,
    Thanks for the reply. I understand, again I’m your guest, so feel free…
    For the sake of argument though,

    I did not make the connection immediately because the LDP was not the party in power during WW2, so I could not see the GOP-Libby connection as relevant to this discussion.

    I was thinking more of the ‘self-interest’ links rather than the actual ‘deed’. I suppose no analogy(mine at least) is perfect. Sorry for dragging this…

  22. kjeff Says:

    “Investigation”, only as good as the ones who are doing it.

    Excerpt, for full text go here:

    Sex slave history erased from texts; ’93 apology next?

    By REIJI YOSHIDA
    Former education minister Nariaki Nakayama takes pride in an achievement he and about 130 fellow members of the Liberal Democratic Party took the past decade to accomplish: getting references to Japan’s wartime sex slaves struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools.

    “Our campaign worked, and people outside the government also started raising their voices, creating a national trend,” said the 63-year-old Lower House member from Miyazaki Prefecture, who also openly claims the 1937 Nanjing Massacre was a “pure fabrication.”

    Nakayama feels he and the LDP group he heads played a key role in getting the descriptions of the “comfort women,” the euphemism Japan used for the wartime sex slaves for its army, deleted from most junior high school history books.

    “Now few textbooks carry words like ‘military comfort women’ or that the women were ‘forcibly taken’ (to the frontline brothels). I think that’s good,” said Nakayama, a former elite Finance Ministry bureaucrat who served as education minister from September 2005 to October 2006.

    Nakayama’s group has been busier than ever lately. They are now campaigning against a resolution before the U.S. House of Representatives that demands a formal apology from Japan’s prime minister for the wartime sexual enslavement of women and girls across Asia. They have also pushed for the LDP to reinvestigate the sex slavery with an eye to watering down a 1993 official government apology.

    Nakayama claims the women were professional prostitutes at frontline brothels run by private agencies, and neither the state nor the army forcibly took the women there.

  23. GarlicBreath Says:

    I think they shoud give some money to these old prostitues (we all know that is what they really want). Not because they deserve to get paid again, but just to shut them up. However, they should not just get a check, they should be put in a room with thousands of 1,000 won notes flying around. They can keep all they can snatch in 2 minutes. That would be entertaining.

  24. tomato Says:

    kjeff

    So what if some group of congressmen are acting as they are. Japan is a democracy and free speech is tolerated. You can’t possibly make everybody in Japan to be apologetic. The Japanese government did apologize, no? Or do you want a Japanese leader to kowtow in front of the Koreans and beg for their forgiveness? Like how the Holy Roman Empire Henry IV begged for forgiveness of the pope in the “Walk to Canossa”? Sounds kind of medieval-ish.

    Also, so what if not all atrocities/abuses committed by the Imperial Japanese Army are not written in the textbooks. Isn’t it a bit too arrogant to try to force your victim-mind into that of Japanese children? Are you guys going to keep on shouting and demand the Japanese to kowtow even into the 22nd century?

  25. Kaneganese Says:

    By the way, it is not only LDP, but also DPJ who started fresh investigation on this issue. Many Japanese started to serioiusly worry that foreigners and Japanese left wingers are taking advantage of inaccuracy of this issue and try to understand what really happened and what didn’t. I think it is very fair to do so.

    Sex slave history erased from texts because we couldn’t find any evidence that they were “slaves” except some cases that illegal brothel owners forced them to do. I don’t understand what is wrong with this? Are you saying that Japanese textbook need to teach Junior High School students something that the historical evidence doesn’t support? If Mr. Nakayama find anything that prove Japanese military systematically forced them to be a “slave”, then we are able to put them in text book, though I still think the comfort women issue is not suitable for JHS students. I don’t want the Governement whitewash the textbook, but if they keep “sex slave”description which is inaccurate, in the history text book, it is the whitewashing in my opinion.

    The thing I am worrying most is, by doing this investigation, we have to expose some former comfort women’s, who just want to forget their past, private information as well. It could harm those people’s and their family’s human rights. But as long as some Korean, and some American and foreign media never stop those inaccurate accusation, we have to do thorough investigation to reveal what really happened to those women unfortunatelly. That is a shame.

  26. tomato Says:

    Kaneganese

    Looking at US and British medias, the argument that some Japanese historians and commentators make about distinguishing “coercion in the wide sense” and “coercion in the narrow sense” is not working at all. In fact, the western media is talking about the exploitation of women in Japanese held territories in general. If it was true that the majority of the women in the brothels were from the colonies and occupoied territories, it does look bad. I think one has to accept that this argument about splitting the meaning of “coercion” is quite difficult to understand, and even looks evasive. Maybe if one wants to refute this, other methods are better. The fact that the Japanese government did issue an apology is one. The fact that individual compensation claims were settled once and for all in the Korea/Japan treaty is another. Arguing about women have always been abused in Korea is probably a bad move, although it might be true.