Kyodo: Japan didn’t meddle with U.S. “Comfort Women” textbook, Japanese Ambassador to US Sasae claims; meanwhile GOJ panel established to “Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan”

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Update on the GOJ Gaiatsu Campaign to force overseas publishers to sanitize their textbooks of history that is unpalatable to Japan’s ruling elite (whose ancestors, particularly the chair of the GOJ committee on revisionism below who is the son of the creator, have ties to the unsavory history itself): Out come the Gaijin Handlers to maintain the denialism re the “Comfort Women” wartime sexual slaves…  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

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Japan didn’t meddle with U.S. ‘comfort women’ textbook, envoy claims
The Japan Times/Kyodo, Feb 14, 2015
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/14/national/japan-didnt-meddle-with-u-s-comfort-women-textbook-envoy-claims/

WASHINGTON – Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae has rejected criticism by U.S.-based historians that Japan tried to meddle with descriptions in an American textbook over the use of “comfort women” at wartime Japanese military brothels.

The academics “allege interference by the government, but this is not a matter to be considered from that angle in the first place,” Sasae told Japanese reporters Friday in Washington.

Sasae made the remarks after a group of 19 academics in a statement criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for asking publisher McGraw-Hill to alter the wording of the description.

In November, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the Abe government had asked McGraw-Hill to alter some phrasing in the textbook “Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past,” which said the Imperial Japanese Army forcibly recruited as many as 200,000 women between the ages of 14 and 20 to serve as forced prostitutes.

“We tried to make them (the publisher) draw attention to the facts,” Sasae said on Friday.

Disputes between Japan and South Korea over the comfort women issue have strained ties, as many of the victims were from the Korean Peninsula, which was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

The U.S.-based academics insisted the Abe government had tried to inappropriately interfere with the textbook’s publication. Sasae denied this, saying, “I don’t think we are interfering unreasonably.”

He did not elaborate further, simply saying, “We’ll thoroughly examine the statement.”

In a landmark 1993 apology issued by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, Japan admitted the recruitment and transfer of comfort women was conducted “generally against their will.” But during a 2006 Diet session, Abe, during his first stint in office, stopped short of clearly accepting the comfort women were forcibly recruited.

Abe’s current government asked a panel of experts last year to re-examine the way in which the 1993 Kono statement was compiled. Abe has said, however, that his administration has no intention of rewriting the statement itself.
ENDS
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LDP panel explores ways to convey Japan’s views on sex slave issue
by Mizuho Aoki Staff Writer,
The Japan Times Mar 12, 2015, Courtesy of JDG
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/12/national/history/ldp-panel-explores-ways-to-convey-japans-views-on-sex-slave-issue/

A special Liberal Democratic Party committee on Thursday discussed ways to better convey Japan’s views on wartime historical issues to counter a public relations blitz by South Korea.

During the sixth gathering of the Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan, chaired by Hirofumi Nakasone, some members said a carefully crafted strategic plan is needed to gain the understanding of the international community when it comes to the issue of “comfort women,” a euphemism for those who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

In the discussions on how the forced prostitution issue is portrayed in school textbooks overseas, a Foreign Ministry official told the committee that textbooks by one publisher in Germany and three in the United States contain depictions of comfort women.

Although most of the textbooks do not explore the issue in depth, the government needs to look at them carefully and determine whether they merit an official response, Masahiko Shibayama, a Lower House member who serves as a secretariat of the committee, told reporters after the meeting.

Officials from the Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry attended the meeting to answer members’ questions.

Shibayama also said the government must deal with such issues, which could damage Japan’s national interests, while avoiding the appearance of “historical revisionism.”

During the hour-long meeting, they also studied past lawsuits and rulings in other countries related to the issue.

The committee, launched last October by right-wing LDP members, including party policy chief Tomomi Inada, plans to compile and submit its recommendations to the administration as early as this month.

It also plans to draw up a recommendation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about his expected statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which will be closely watched by Beijing and Seoul.

Earlier this year, Abe and LDP lawmakers criticized a U.S. history textbook published by McGraw-Hill that included sentences such as: “The Japanese Army forcibly recruited, conscripted and dragooned as many as 200,000 women aged 14 to 20 to serve in military brothels.”

Japanese mainstream historians say it is impossible to determine the exact number of comfort women. But Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a leading historian on the issue, estimates there were at least 50,000.

The Foreign Ministry told the Japanese Consulate in New York last year to ask McGraw-Hill to revise the world history textbook.
ENDS

6 comments on “Kyodo: Japan didn’t meddle with U.S. “Comfort Women” textbook, Japanese Ambassador to US Sasae claims; meanwhile GOJ panel established to “Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan”

  • Baudrillard says:

    USO MO HOUBEN-love the J-double speak, but it is from an ambassador so what do you expect?
    “Japan didn’t meddle”= as nothing was changed, we did not meddle per se (though we tried to).

    ” “I don’t think we are interfering unreasonably.” = we did, but its reasonable (from our authoritarian point of view).

    ““We tried to make them (the publisher) draw attention to the facts,” Sasae said”-

    MAKE them? That sounds a bit like, err, forcibly recruiting….

    Then, “Shibayama also said the government must deal with such issues, which could damage Japan’s national interests, while avoiding the appearance of “historical revisionism.”

    “discussed ways to better convey Japan’s views on wartime historical issues to counter a public relations blitz by South Korea.” Ah, so thats it too. No right and wrong, its just a PR war. 70 years on and no sign of reconciliation or an E. Asian EU.

    So, we MUST (note the must) do this, but look like we are not doing it at the same time…Well, yes, appearances are important, especially to the Japanese elite.

    Which is what this is all about. The entrenched elite and their ancestors’ tarnished images. As for the damage to Japan’s national interests, arguably they are the ones doing it.

    Stop electing these hereditary politicians, and the problem will largely be removed, or at least cease to be an issue.

    “Usotsuki wa dorobou no hajimari (ウソつきは泥棒の始まり)”, means liars are the beginning of thieves….

    Reply
  • So if bullying doesn’t work let’s try bribery….

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-budgets-over-15-million-for-overseas-universities-in-soft-power-push

    Japan budgets over $15 million for overseas universities in soft power push
    By Takashi Umekawa

    NATIONAL MAR. 15, 2015 – 06:15AM JST ( 0 )TOKYO —
    Japan’s government has budgeted over $15 million to fund Japan studies at nine overseas universities, including Georgetown and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of a “soft power” push to counter the growing influence of China and South Korea.

    The program, the first time in over 40 years Japan has funded such studies at U.S. universities, coincides with efforts by conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to correct perceived biases in accounts of the wartime past – moves critics say are an attempt to whitewash history.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, will receive $5 million each from the foreign ministry’s budget for 2015/16 from April, which has yet to be enacted, a finance ministry official said.

    In addition, the Japan Foundation, set up by the government to promote cultural exchange, will allocate 25 million yen ($206,356) per school to six yet-to-be selected foreign universities in the United States and elsewhere, the official said.

    That comes on top of $5 million in an extra budget for 2014/15 for Japan studies at New York’s Columbia University, where Japan scholar Gerry Curtis will retire late this year.

    “The Abe government has a sense of crisis that history issues concerning Japan … are not properly understood in the United States, and decided to make a contribution so that Japan research would not die out,” the finance official said.

    The finance ministry official said that Japanese diplomats would vet professors hired for the programs to ensure they are “appropriate”. But a foreign ministry spokeswoman said there were no such conditions placed on the funding.

    “MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is not placing any such condition as the GOJ’s (Government of Japan) inclusion in the selection procedure of a new scholar,” Takako Ito, the ministry’s assistant press secretary, said in an email.

    Georgetown University and MIT declined comment on the funding, while Columbia University spokesman Brian Connolly told Reuters by email: “As a matter of longstanding University policy, donors to Columbia do not vet or have veto power over faculty hiring.”

    Many Japanese politicians and officials worry Japan has been outmaneuvered by the aggressive public diplomacy of regional rivals China and South Korea.

    After a decade of shrinking spending on public diplomacy, Japan’s foreign ministry won a total of 70 billion yen for strategic communications in an extra budget for 2014/15 and the initial budget for the next year from April, up from 20 billion yen in the initial 2014/15 budget.

    Those funds are to be used for “soft power” initiatives such as the Japan studies programs at foreign universities and setting up “Japan House” centers to promote the “Japan Brand”.

    But the government is also targeting wartime accounts by overseas textbook publishers and others that it sees as incorrect.

    One such effort has already sparked a backlash from U.S. scholars, who protested against a request by Japan’s government to U.S. publisher McGraw Hill Education to revise a textbook’s account of “comfort women”, the euphemism used in Japan for those forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

    ENDS

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    ‘Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan’= total Doublespeak.

    Any action on this front will have exactly the opposite effect.

    Reply
  • I was surprised recently, when some rather powerful, influential Japanese CEO’s visited Hawaii.
    What I “learned”:
    Japan did nothing wrong before, during, or after WW2 (or ever…)
    The sex slavery issue has been made up to make Japan look bad (and is a total lie!).
    Abe is not right wing.
    All nations had prostitutes – Japan was no different. Why do China & Korea keep bitching about this? They are jealous.

    War criminals at Yasukuni Shrine – it won’t matter if the they are removed – Korea and China will still complain. Besides, when their remains were interred there, after the war, Korea & China said nothing. So they are not really upset about this – it is all a tactic to bring Japan down…

    Ambassador Kennedy & President Obama dislike & regularly insult Japan.

    Japan cannot move forward internationally because:
    -the majority of Japanese want to change the constitution to allow Japan to grow its military.
    -but Korea and China equate increase in Japan military to false wartime atrocities by Japan. No war crimes were committed by Japanese soldiers (the war crimes tribunal was victors justice).
    -therefore, Japan’s growth, and prestige are being held prisoner to the whims of jealous Korea and China.

    The crime wave committed by Chinese in Japan is an epidemic! Violent foreigners must be stopped (white Americans are ok, apparently). BTW – this has reached urban myth levels – no one that I spoke with has directly experienced “Chinese crime”, but everyone has a “friend of a friend” who fell victim…

    Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent war with the U.S. were orchestrated by the U.S. – the narrative is now that Japan was baited into attacking the U.S. – since Japan was tricked, it is really not Japan’s fault.

    Summary – IMHO, lots of Japanese people need to believe that Japan did not – and could not – do any of the multitude of horrible acts that have been proven as fact. This country is suffering from a serious case of denial – and victimhood – bordering on the insane. From what I have seen, any critique of anything Japanese will be received as an attack on Japan – and will “need” to be corrected… I cannot see Japan’s political elite conceding anything without a long, nasty fight.

    The rewriting of history will continue, and Japan will continue to attempt to discredit any who disagree. Unified opposition is the only thing that will work.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Japanese revisionist ‘academics’ weigh in with hair-splitting, denials, revisionism, and obfuscation;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/18/national/history/japanese-historians-seek-revision-of-u-s-textbook-over-comfort-women-depiction/

    They could have left the situation as it was, but in order to ‘restore Japan’s honor’, they can’t stop themselves from making even more of an embarrassment of their country.

    In related news, US veterans have finally had enough of Abe’s delusional revisionism and hot air;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/19/world/politics-diplomacy-world/u-s-veterans-urge-abe-to-admit-war-responsibility-at-congress/

    Now, (and I’m just gonna throw this out there), Abe’s been given a really easy ride by the US under Obama. I’m sure that this is because Obama wants Japan to shoulder some of the military effort as part of the ‘pivot to Asia’ policy of containing China, so the US government is doing it’s best to overlook Abe’s trouble-making in the region. That and the fact that Abe is still teasing the US administration that he might sign Japan up to TPP if they don’t try to reign in his nationalistic tendencies (and this might be a factor in why the US isn’t making waves about one US citizen killed in J-police custody- Obama’s administration needs the ‘win’ of Japan signing up to TPP).

    But compare this with Abe’s first term as PM, when his comfort women denial caused him to be censured by Congress, and he had to fly to the US to apologize to W. Bush, after which he returned to Japan and went back on his apology (leading to a situation where the Bush administration, according to McCormack, ‘wouldn’t even take calls’ from the J-gov, leading the LDP to push Abe out under the guise of ‘stomach trouble’).

    Abe’s proposed visit could turn out to end with a big slap in the face.

    Reply

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