Showing posts from December, 2007

Ministry does about-face on textbooks regarding Okinawa

The Yomiuri reported:
The Education, Science and Technology Ministry approved Wednesday the reintroduction of wording in high school history textbooks referring to the role played by the Japanese military in the 1945 mass suicides in the Battle of Okinawa after the books' publishers filed correction applications.

The approval of corrections to textbooks that had already been approved is unprecedented.

While the Textbook Authorization Council, an advisory panel to the education, science and technology minister, recommended the corrections be approved, it also came to the conclusion that there were no direct orders from the military to carry out the mass suicides, and it therefore refused to allow the reinsertion of wording such as "coercion by the military" that the council had objected to before the books were authorized. This marked the first time the council expressed this view of what it believes happened.

According to this opinion, "From the viewpoint of residents, …

Mass suicide in Okinawa

Two years ago, a novelist Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Laureate, was sued by ex-Army officials that he falsely accused them as they ordered mass suicide that had resulted 600 people killed themselves in Okinawa at the end of WW2 in his book Okinawa Note.

It turned out in the court that Oe never visited the island in which he alleged the Army killed hundreds of people. He learned it from a book written by journalists who indirectly heard the story. Ayako Sono, a novelist, visited the island and found that many people testified that lieutenant Akamatsu, who Oe called "a slaughter", never ordered suicide.

Probably affected by the suit, the government demanded to delete the description about "Army order" from school textbooks to their authors. Tens of thousands of Okinawa people protested the revision and organized demonstrations against it. As a result, the government admitted the authors to rewrite the story.

However, historians agree that there has never been orders of mass sui…

A troubling position on 'comfort women'

The Yomiuri Shimbun's editorial criticizes the EU Parliament's resolution:The Japanese government must lobby other governments to persuade them not to follow in the footsteps of the European Parliament in adopting a resolution that sullies Japan's standing.

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution condemning Japan over the "comfort women" issue. The resolution calls for the government to apologize, saying the Imperial armed forces coerced young women in Asia to work as "sex slaves" before and during World War II.

The latest development resembles the resolution adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives over the comfort women issue in July. This matter has now spilled over to Europe. The parliaments of Canada and the Netherlands also have adopted similar resolutions.

However, interest in the comfort women issue has not necessarily been high in Europe. The European Parliament's resolution was advocated by the minor Green Party and fewer than 10…

EU Parliament passes resolution on "Comfort Women"

The European Parliament (EP) approved on Thursday a resolution on Justice for the "Comfort Women," women forced into sex slavery in Asia before and during World War II by Japanese Imperial Army, urging the Japanese government to formally apologize and compensate for the victims and their families.

Author of the resolution Raul Romeva, a member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the EP, urged the Japanese government to comply with international law to do justice for the victims. "We are talking about 200,000 women who were forced into sex slavery before and during the World War II by the Japanese Imperial Army," Romeva told the parliament.

This is another false accusation that blindly copied the Honda resolution. It has no legal enforcement and no media except South Korea reported the news. So let's ignore it.

A parliamentary hearing's big flaw

Canada's parliament passed a motion this week calling on Japan to apologize to the brothel prostitutes that served for the benefit of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. It is not difficult to understand the concerns of this motion if you think of the gravity of tragedy and suffering these women endured, and continued existence of “human trafficking”, prostitution (sex slavery), and human right abuse prevalent today in Korea and the rest of world.

Nevertheless I am incensed about the carelessness and unfairness of the motion passed by the Canadian government. My concern and objection are three-fold: unfair procedure, biased evidence, and its negative implication for the current and subsequent generations of people and government of Japan. What I mean by "procedural concern" is that it failed to consider the full range of evidence to prove or disprove its conclusion. They clearly failed to consider a set of evidence that negates or questions the validity…