Tag Archives: Kono statement

Spirits’Homecoming warm reception in North America

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The movie, Spirits’ Homecoming has got very positive reception from North American audience, resulting broader release on Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk in Canada(Starting from Mar.18), AMC Empire 25 in Manhattan, NewYork,  AMC Loews Bay Terrace in Queens, New York, Edgewater Multiplex Cinemas & AMC Starplex Ridgefield  Park12 in New Jersey, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Chicago, AMC Cupertino Square16 in San Jose, CA, AMC Loews Alderwood Mall16 in Seattle, WA, AMC Sugarloaf Mills18 in Atlanta, GA, and AMC Fashion Valley18 in SanDiego, CA.

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Comfort women victim passed away..

On June 11,2015,two more victims of Japanese military sexual slavery during World War II – 81-year-old Kim Oi-hwan and 91-year-old Kim Dal-seon – died within half an hour of each other Thursday evening.

The two died without getting a proper official apology from the Japanese government to the “comfort women,” a euphemistic term for the tens of thousands of young women and girls forced into wartime military brothels by the Japanese Imperial Army.

Kim Oi-hwan, the youngest of the surviving Korean victims, passed away on Thursday around 8:40 p.m. of chronic illness at a hospital in Gwangju, Gyeonggi.

Born in Andong, North Gyeongsang, she was forced into sexual slavery in Hokkaido just before the end of World War II in February 1945 at the tender age of 11. She was released after the war and married a man who also returned to Korea after being conscripted to work in Japan. The two settled in Andong and had five children.

In late 2012, Kim moved to the House of Sharing, a home for the sex slave victims in Gyeonggi. She suffered from emotional trauma from the violence she suffered during her time in the brothels and had trouble walking because of a knee problem. Her husband, who remained in Andong, visited her once a month.

A little over 30 minutes later on the same day, another victim from the same province, Kim Dal-seon, passed away at 9:15 p.m. at a hospital in her hometown of Pohang, North Gyeongsang, of natural causes related to old age.

Kim was kidnapped by a Japanese police officer at the age of 19 in 1943 while she was selling fish at a market with her mother. She was dragged onto a boat headed to Myanmar.

Because of the abuse she endured as a sex slave, she eventually had two surgeries on her uterus and even attempted suicide. She did not initially even know that the war ended in 1945 and continued to be used by the Japanese military. Eventually she got on a boat to Busan, where she stayed for two years recovering her health.

In 1947, she returned to her parents in Pohang but lost her father and male siblings during the Korean War. She made her living selling rice, fish and vegetables. She didn’t marry until she was nearly 50, and lived with her husband in Daegu until he passed away from complications of diabetes.

She received care at a nursing home in Daegu for the past several years before she moved back to Pohang to spend the remaining years of her life.

The deaths bring the total number of Korean survivors of wartime sexual slavery to 50. A total of 238 former sex slaves were officially registered with the government.

Minister of Gender Equality and Family Kim Hee-jung on Friday paid respects to the two women’s families at their wakes on Friday.

“An apology when there are no more victims alive will be meaningless,” she said in a statement. “If there is no apology while they are alive, the

Japanese journalist to release film on ‘comfort women’

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Japanese journalist Toshikuni Doi plans to release a film on Korean sexual slaves during World War II in Tokyo Sunday.

The documentary “Live With the Memory” will contain Doi’s reporting in the 1990s in Seoul on seven victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery. Its release comes more than 20 years after the journalist began covering the issue in 1994.

In a recent interview with the Asahi Shimbun, Doi said that he decided to belatedly pursue the film’s release in Japan to spread the personal stories of the victims.

“The recent debate on comfort women does not represent the individual stories,” Doi said. “The film’s purpose is to deliver their own voices.”

The film runs for three hours and 35 minutes and will be shown at the Hibiya Conventional Hall.

He observed and filmed the lives of seven victims in Seoul from December 1994 through January 1997.

One of the victims is the late Kang Deok-gyeong from Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, who worked at a factory in Toyama and was later forced into a domestic military brothel.

On her way back home after Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945, she found out that she was pregnant. The child was born but later died at a child care facility. Doi filmed the last years of Kang’s life until she died in 1997.

Six other victims he filmed had all died by 2013.

He said that he decided on the belated release of the film because of comments from Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto who said in 2013 that the “comfort women system was necessary.”

In April, Doi published a book titled “Live with the Memory: The Life of Comfort Woman Kang Deok-gyeong.”

The film is being released at a time of mounting tension between the two countries on comfort women.

Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe angered many Koreans when he called the women “victims of human trafficking” in a Washington Post interview ahead of his U.S. trip in April.

The issue continues to hamper bilateral relations as Japan has denied Korea’s call for proper apology and compensation for the victims.

Ahead of a landmark diplomatic occasion for bilateral ties this month, some Japanese media reports are urging the two countries to mend their ties through a summit. The two countries will mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing relations on June 22.

A Korea-Japan summit has yet to take place since President Park Geun-hye assumed office in 2013.

“The historic treaty that ushered in a new era for bilateral ties was signed on June 22, 1965,” an Asahi Shimbun editorial published Thursday said. “The last remaining major diplomatic hurdle for a thaw between the two countries is the lack of prospects for a meeting between Abe and Park.”

The Japanese daily urged the two leaders to attend joint ceremonies marking the milestone occasion and “talk about their feelings toward each other.”

U.S. Publisher Rebuffs Japan on ‘Comfort Women’ Revision ‘Scholars Aligned Behind Historical Fact’ of Forced Prostitution, McGraw-Hill Education Says

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A major U.S. publishing company rejected a request by the Japanese government to change passages in a history textbook about women who were forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

New York-based McGraw-Hill Education said in a statement Thursday that representatives of the Japanese government had asked the company to revise text on “comfort women” in a book titled “Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past.”

“Scholars are aligned behind the historical fact of ‘comfort women,’ and we unequivocally stand behind the writing, research and presentation of our authors,” it said.

Japan’s foreign ministry acknowledged it had contacted McGraw-Hill in mid-December through its consulate in the U.S. to ask for the changes to the textbook. It said in a statement that the text included “grave errors and descriptions that conflict with our nation’s stance,” but didn’t cite the errors.

The request was the latest effort by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative government to revive patriotism at home and burnish Japan’s image overseas by toning down negative depictions of its wartime activities. It also comes as Japan and South Korea explore ways to mend ties strained by disputes over wartime history and maritime territory ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II this year.

Japan added ¥50 billion ($427 million) to its budget this year to promote global understanding of the country, including its positions on wartime history and territorial disputes. Of the total, ¥4.3 billion is for communicating its message, including strengthening its ability to analyze and respond to global opinion. An additional ¥7.7 billion will go toward nurturing Japan-friendly academics by supporting Japan studies programs at universities and think tanks.

The total allocation to public relations and cultural exchanges under the foreign ministry more than tripled from the previous year, while its overall budget grew by 2.9%.

The textbook, written by historians Jerry Bentley and Herbert Ziegler, contain two paragraphs on comfort women, who were coerced into servitude in Japanese military brothels in the 1930s and 1940s. Many of them were Korean.

“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,’” it says.

The book also says the Japanese military “massacred large numbers of comfort women to cover up the operation.”

Prof. Ziegler, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said in an email that he wrote the section on comfort women.

“And, yes, the publisher and I have been contacted separately by representatives of the Japanese government, essentially requesting some sort of revision of the offending narrative. Neither the publisher nor I entertain any such notion,” he said.

Since Mr. Abe returned to power in December 2012, the government has pressed forward with an overhaul of the nation’s education system meant to instill national pride among Japanese children. It has also revised teaching manuals for middle schools and high schools to emphasize Japan’s territorial claims. It is rare for Japan to request a revision to a foreign textbook.

Such moves have been met with strong criticism from South Korea and China, which view Mr. Abe’s agenda with skepticism and still harbor deep resentment over Japan’s military past.

Seoul has sought a new formal apology from Japan, as well as state-funded compensation for comfort women. Japan has maintained that the issue of compensation was settled in a 1965 bilateral agreement. It says it intends to stick to past apologies and statements made by former leaders, notably the 1993 Kono statement that acknowledged for the first time that the military was involved in establishing brothels across Asia, including through the “coaxing” and “coercion” of young women.

—Yuka Hayashi  contributed to Wall Street Journal

Comfort women video testimony made public after 21 years

With the Japanese government taking steps to subvert the Kono Statement, which acknowledged that women had been forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese imperial army, the Association for the Pacific War Victims made public a video recording showing Japanese government investigators receiving testimony from former comfort women about 20 years ago. Since this material served as the grounds for the Kono Statement, the group had agreed to a request from the Japanese government not to publish it.

The association met with reporters at the Seoul Press Center on Sept. 15 and released a 15-minute video showing Japanese government investigators listening to the testimony of 16 former comfort women. The video was recorded 21 years ago, at the end of July 1993, just before the release of the Kono Statement. The video is one segment of a recording of the testimony. The comfort women provided the testimony at the association’s office, which was located in the Yongsan District of Seoul at the time.
The released video contains scenes of the former comfort women telling the Japanese government investigators through interpreters about the brutality they had suffered and arranging the schedule for their testimony.
“When I was 18 years old, I spent two or three weeks in an attic after my uncle told me that young women were being taken away. After that I came down from the attic to find something to eat when all of a sudden a Japanese policeman appeared in front of me, grabbed me by the arm, and dragged me off,” said Kim Bok-seon in the recording. Kim, a former comfort woman, died on Dec. 12 at the age of 86.
“I was weeping with fear, clinging to the pillar in the room. I tried to run away, but in the end they took me to Busan. I became a comfort woman for the Japanese imperial army, and was moved to Simonoseki and then Osaka,” said Yoon Sun-man, 83.
“I got beat a lot for being disobedient. My arms were twisted and still are today,” Yun said, lifting her weak knees and her left elbow, which is still crooked though decades have passed.
While it was not included in the video released on Monday, the association also made public the written testimony of Kil Gap-soon, who also took part in the Japanese investigation.
“When I refused to sleep with the Japanese soldiers, they tortured me by searing my back with a red-hot soldering iron,” Kil said. She raised her blouse and showed the Japanese investigators the burn marks that still remained on her back. Gil passed away in 1998 at the age of 74, five years after giving her testimony.
“Aside from Yoon Sun-man and Kim Kyung-sun, the other 14 of the 16 women who testified at the time have already died. Now the Abe government is showing its blatant intention to attack the Kono Statement,” said Kim Young-man, 58, Gil’s son.
“We refrained from publishing the material for 21 years at the request of the Japanese government. But now that the Abe government is distorting the truth of the Kono Statement, we decided to publish part of the recording. In the future, we will prepare a white paper about the Kono Statement and submit it to the UN for the consideration of the entire world,” said Yang Soon-im, president of the association who was present during the testimony.

By Han-kyo-rae News Daily

Video of testimony by from former comfort women to Japanese government investigators is played during a press conference held by the Association for the Pacific War Victims at the Seoul Press Center on Sept. 15. (Yonhap News)
Video of testimony by from former comfort women to Japanese government investigators is played during a press conference held by the Association for the Pacific War Victims at the Seoul Press Center on Sept. 15. (Yonhap News)

KONO STATEMENT: Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the result of the study on the issue of “comfort women”

The Government of Japan has been conducting a study on the issue of wartime “comfort women” since December 1991. I wish to announce the findings as a result of that study.

As a result of the study which indicates that comfort stations were operated in extensive areas for long periods, it is apparent that there existed a great number of comfort women. Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military authorities of the day. The then Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and the transfer of comfort women. The recruitment of the comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who acted in response to the request of the military. The Government study has revealed that in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc., and that, at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments. They lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere.

As to the origin of those comfort women who were transferred to the war areas, excluding those from Japan, those from the Korean Peninsula accounted for a large part. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese rule in those days, and their recruitment, transfer, control, etc., were conducted generally against their will, through coaxing, coercion, etc.

Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.

It is incumbent upon us, the Government of Japan, to continue to consider seriously, while listening to the views of learned circles, how best we can express this sentiment.

We shall face squarely the historical facts as described above instead of evading them, and take them to heart as lessons of history. We hereby reiterate our firm determination never to repeat the same mistake by forever engraving such issues in our memories through the study and teaching of history.

As actions have been brought to court in Japan and interests have been shown in this issue outside Japan, the Government of Japan shall continue to pay full attention to this matter, including private researched related thereto.

August4, 1993

Murayama critical of Japan’s historical stance

Tomichi Murayama, the former prime minister of Japan
Tomichi Murayama, the former prime minister of Japan

In critical remarks against Japan’s current administration, former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said that “Japan cannot survive as a nation” should it deny its history of wartime aggression.

“The Murayama Statement is the Japan nation’s official historical perception and has become an international pledge, so it is impossible to review it,” Murayama said at a forum held yesterday by the Northeast Asian History Foundation in central Seoul.

Murayama is known for his shaggy white eyebrows and a resilience that doesn’t betray his 90 years. But he is most recognized internationally for his landmark statement made on Aug. 15, 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

In this address, Murayama, who served as Japan’s prime minister from June 1994 to January 1996, expressed “heartfelt apology” that Japan “through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries.”

“Any person who has become the prime minister of Japan has to uphold [the Murayama Statement], and any person who is not able to uphold it cannot stay in office,” he elaborated in a Korean-language translation of his full speech.

Regarding Japan’s military’s sexual enslavement of girls and women during World War II, Murayama said, “The leaders of each country need to sit down and speak frankly on what is the best method to resolve the issue.”

Murayama further told a panel of 28 current and former Korean and Japanese lawmakers, scholars and heads of civilian organizations: “I never thought that the Murayama Statement would become such a problem now.”

The 1995 Murayama Statement and the preceding 1993 Kono Statement are now considered fundamental pillars for bilateral ties. Both played important roles in advancing relations between the two countries. The Kono Statement, delivered by Yohei Kono, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary at the time, effectively apologized to the women forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during the war.

He added that when Abe first became prime minister in 2006, he claimed he would honor the Murayama Statement, though since he was elected for a second term in 2012, he has made remarks that appear to deny that.

In 2013, Abe said that there is no definitive answer either in academia or within the international community on what constitutes aggression and that he might not honor the entire statement. After much backlash, however, he finally conceded to uphold it.

During the gathering, the former prime minister also emphasized the importance of educating Japanese youth about the country’s history of wartime invasion and added that the recent controversies “may be a good opportunity” to promote such education.

“What is decisive is the people, so the people need to raise their voices on what is good or bad,” he said, regarding Japan’s history of invasion and concerns surrounding collective self-defense. “If the public’s voice becomes bigger, their votes can change the National Diet.”

“I don’t know how many years I have to live,” he added, “but I will pledge my remaining life on this.”

By Joong-ang Daily