This video from South Korea says about itself:
Osaka mayor’s comments sparks condemnation from protesters
1. Wide of activists chanting against recent comment of Japanese mayor of Osaka Toru Hashimoto in front of Japanese embassy
2. Close of former “comfort woman” chanting
3. Mid of protesters chanting
4. Wide of protesters chanting
5. Close of banner, reading: (Korean) “Japanese government should make a close inquiry and immediately apologise to the former ‘comfort women'”
6. Close of protesters holding big banner, reading: (Korean) “Regular rally for the resolution of “comfort women” issue”
7. Close of protester crying
8. Mid of protester cleaning “comfort woman” statue with towel in front of Japanese embassy
9. Close of protester rubbing feet of “comfort woman” statue
10. Mid of Japanese flag
11. Wide of exterior of Japanese embassy
12. SOUNDBITE: (Korean) Yoon Mee-hyang, Representative of the Korean Council for the Women drafted for military sexual slavery by Japan:
“The recent remark of Japanese mayor Toru Hashimoto, saying that the comfort women system was necessary during the wartime, is absolutely unacceptable. Those remarks were not only thoughtless, but almost the same as the crime. From now on, we will promote activities urging Japanese to apologise for those absurd actions.”
13. Close of protester holding hands of former comfort woman
14. Mid of protesters
South Korean activists and one of the surviving victims of the Japanese military’s forced prostitution of Korean women during the Japanese colonial times held a rally on Wednesday in Seoul.
Japanese outspoken nationalist and Mayor of Osaka Toru Hashimoto said on Monday that Japanese military’s forced prostitution of Asian women before and during World War II was necessary to “maintain discipline” in the ranks.
Hashimoto told reporters on Monday that there wasn’t clear evidence that the Japanese military had coerced women to become what are euphemistically called “comfort women” before and during World War II.
The comments are already raising ire in neighbouring countries that bore the brunt of Japan’s wartime aggression and have long complained that Japan has failed to fully atone for wartime atrocities.
“The recent remark of Japanese mayor Toru Hashimoto, saying that the comfort women system was necessary during the war time, is absolutely unacceptable,” said the representative of the Korean Council for the Women drafted for military sexual slavery by Japan Yoon Mee-hyang.
“Those remarks were not only thoughtless, but almost the same as the crime. From now on, we will promote activities urging Japan to apologise on those absurd actions.”
Historians say up to 200-thousand women, mainly from the Korean Peninsula and China, were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels.
Hashimoto’s comments came amid continuing criticism of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s earlier pledges to revise Japan’s past apologies for wartime atrocities.
Before he took office in December, Abe had advocated revising a 1993 statement by then Prime Minister Yohei Kono acknowledging and expressing remorse for the suffering caused to the sexual slaves of Japanese troops.
Abe has acknowledged “comfort women” existed but has denied they were coerced into prostitution, citing a lack of official evidence.
Recently, top officials in Abe’s government have appeared to back-pedal on suggestions the government might revise those apologies, apparently hoping to ease tensions with South Korea and China and address US concerns about Abe’s nationalist agenda.
Another video used to say about itself:
1 May 2013
Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, is facing a censure motion from the city assembly over his comments about Japan’s forced prostitution during World War 2.
The city assembly voted Thursday on the motion, saying Hashimoto’s comments created confusion and tarnished the city’s image. Though the motion has no legal implication for Hashimoto, the governor of Osaka said if it is approved, the mayor may have to resign but could re-take the post in a new election. Earlier this month, the mayor said the military brothels had been “necessary” at the time to maintain discipline in the Japanese army. His comments sparked outrage both in international community and Japan.
By Ben McGrath:
Japanese government pushes to revise US history text
6 February 2015
The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has extended its campaign to whitewash the crimes of the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s to the international level. Last week, Abe took issue with an American history textbook and its treatment of so-called “comfort women.”
“Comfort women” is a euphemism coined by the Japanese military for its practice of forcing women to act as sex slaves for soldiers prior to and during World War II. Approximately 200,000 women in Asian countries occupied by Japan were herded into “comfort stations” where the brutal conditions led many to commit suicide. Women were often lured with phony promises of work in factories.
Abe criticized history textbooks printed by McGraw-Hill Education dealing with the issue. “I just looked at a document, McGraw-Hill’s textbook, and I was shocked,” the prime minister said. “This kind of textbook is being used in the United States, as we did not protest the things we should have, or we failed to correct the things we should have.”
The Japanese government has demanded that McGraw Hill revise the books. Officials from Japan’s Consulate General in New York met with the publishing company in December to voice their complaints. The company rejected Tokyo’s objections saying, “Scholars are aligned behind the historical fact of ‘comfort women’ and we unequivocally stand behind the writing, research and presentation of our authors.”
A large number of the women forced to serve as sex slaves came from Korea, but others were from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries. Many were too ashamed to speak about their horrific experiences and only began coming forward in the early 1990s. In 1993, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono issued a formal but limited apology—known as the Kono Statement—to the victims.
Abe, who came to office in 2012, has been pressing for a revision of the Kono Statement. His government established a panel of so-called experts to examine the testimonies of former comfort women that formed the basis of the Kono Statement. Last June, the panel claimed that there was a lack of evidence that the women had been “forced” to serve as sex slaves. While not formally calling for the repeal of the Kono Statement, the purpose was clearly to cast doubt on the crimes of imperial Japan.
Right-wing apologists for the Japanese military have long claimed that the comfort women were not sex slaves, but were prostitutes. As a result, they conclude, the Japanese army was no different from other armed forces. In reality, the Japanese military organised and ran the “comfort stations.” Whether or not women were tricked or coerced into these hell-holes, they were not free to leave or to refuse to have sex with the soldiers.
Within Japan, extreme nationalists have targeted the liberal Asahi Shimbun over the issue. The newspaper last year retracted 18 articles published in the 1980s and 1990s dealing with comfort women. The articles were based on the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, a soldier who claimed to have rounded up women on Jeju Island in South Korea for the military brothels. Before his death in 2000, Yoshida admitted to changing certain aspects of his story.
The Abe government and its right-wing ideological allies have seized on the Asahi Shimbun’s retractions to claim all evidence of the crimes against comfort women is false. Led by Shoichi Watanabe, a professor at Sofia University, more than 10,000 have joined a lawsuit against the paper. Watanabe not only denies that women were forced into sexual slavery but also that the 1937 Rape of Nanking occurred, during which 300,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians were massacred by the Japanese army.
These attempts to justify the past crimes of Japanese imperialism are in order to prepare for future wars. Last summer, Abe’s cabinet approved the “reinterpretation” of the constitution to allow for “collective self-defense.” This would enable Japan to take part in US wars of aggression particularly aimed against China. The United States is pushing Japan to play a larger role in Asia as part of the US “pivot to Asia” which is aimed at subordinating China to Washington’s economic and strategic interests.
Abe’s cabinet is stacked with ultra-right wing officials with connections to Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, which promotes the lie that Japan went to war in the 1930s to liberate Asia from Western imperialism. It intends to revise textbooks in Japan to promote “patriotic values,” opposes gender equality, and erase war crimes such as the Rape of Nanking.
To serve this agenda, Abe also stated last week that a new, litigation bureau in the Justice Ministry would be created to handle lawsuits against Japan, claiming that they “seriously affected the nation’s honor.” While former comfort women have filed lawsuits against Japan, people forced to work as unpaid laborers in factories have also filed suits against Japanese companies. In May 2013, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled that a 1965 treaty between Seoul and Tokyo did not bar individuals from filing compensation claims.
A study released in January by the South Korean government found that 7.82 million Koreans were forced to work in Japanese factories between 1931 and 1945 at companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toyota, Nikon, and Nissan. In November 2013, the Gwangju Local Court in South Korea ruled against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries after several women filed compensation claims. Nippon Steel Corporation lost a similar case that year in Seoul and Busan high courts. Both companies have appealed.
South Korean governments regularly exploit Japanese war crimes to engage in its own historical revisionism to cover up the role of Korean leaders in collaborating with Imperial Japan. Many within the South Korean elite enjoy their positions today thanks to their families’ willingness to serve Japanese colonial rule, which lasted from 1910–1945. This includes President Park Geun-hye whose father, the military dictator Park Chung-hee, was an officer in Japan’s Kwantung Army.
Japan’s authorities have seized the passport of a journalist planning to travel to Syria, local media say. It was necessary to confiscate Yuichi Sugimoto’s passport in order to protect his life, the authorities said. The 59-year-old photographer, who had planned to enter Syria on 27 February, described the move as a threat to the freedom of press: here.