Japanese government lies on ‘comfort women’, people protest


This video from South Korea says about itself:

“Herstory” Comfort Women Animation – English

15 January 2014

Produced with actual voices of the victims of the Japanese Military’s ‘Comfort Women‘ [policy].

By Ben McGrath:

Opposition to Japanese government’s lies on “comfort women”

27 February 2015

Opposition to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempt to whitewash the history of the Japanese military’s war crimes has emerged in Japan and also the United States. Earlier this month, a group of American historians issued a statement criticizing the Abe government’s attempts to pressure a US publishing company McGraw-Hill to amend its textbook’s treatment of so-called “comfort women.”

During the 1930s and 1940s, some 200,000 Korean, Chinese and other women were coerced into sex slavery in “comfort stations” established for Japanese officers and soldiers. Abe and other right-wing nationalists falsely claim that the women were not forced but willingly acted as prostitutes. This revision of history is bound up with the government’s plans to remilitarize and to end the current constitutional restrictions on the dispatch of the Japanese military in overseas interventions and wars.

Abe’s efforts to rewrite history could cloud plans for him to address a joint session of the US Congress, which, according to the Japan Times last weekend, could take place in late April. He would become the first Japanese prime minister to speak to Congress since 1961 when Hayato Ikeda addressed the House of Representatives. Abe’s grandfather, Nobsuke Kishi, also spoke before Congress as prime minister in 1957.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers who visited Japan last week raised questions about Abe’s view of history. Democrat Congresswoman Diana DeGette warned that the issues surrounding World War II “could really put some cracks in the relationship… It’s really important that Japan not be seen as backtracking… on the comfort women issue and some other issues around the end of the war.”

Republican congressman James Sensenbrenner told the Wall Street Journal that Abe’s “revisionist history” was hurting “Japan’s standing with its neighbors. That has to be cooled down.” His warning reflects concerns in Washington that the Abe government’s whitewash of Japanese war crimes was undermining relations with South Korea, the other major US ally in North East Asia.

Regardless of these misgivings, Abe’s congressional address appears to be going ahead. The Obama administration regards Tokyo as a crucial ally in its “pivot to Asia” and military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific region against China.

It should be noted that the criticisms of Abe’s stance on Japan’s atrocities are rather hypocritical. The US political establishment remains silent on its own crimes during World War II, including the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

Within Japan, right-wing nationalist groups continue to wage a vicious campaign against the Asahi Shimbun after it retracted a series of articles last August based on the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, a former soldier, who claimed to have forcibly rounded up “comfort women” on Korea’s Jeju Island. Yoshida later admitted that he had made up parts of his story, which has been seized on to claim there is no evidence that women were coerced into sex slavery and to demand the retraction of Japan’s 1993 Kono statement—a formal, but limited apology over the abuse of “comfort women.”

In an interview last month with the Asia-Pacific Journal, Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a leading historian on comfort women, said in, “As early as 1993 at the latest, no one took seriously Yoshida’s testimony claiming that he had witnessed the Japanese Army’s forcible relocation of women in Jeju Island. The Kono Statement was not based on Yoshida’s testimony. Nor do scholars researching the comfort women issue draw on it for their argument. In short, Asahi’s retraction of Yoshida’s testimony due to its falsity should not affect the discussion.”

Other former Japanese soldiers have provided evidence of the military’s system of sexual slavery. Masayoshi Matsumoto, currently 92, has spoken out against the crimes he witnessed as an army medic. “I feel like a war criminal. It is painful to speak of such things and I would rather cover it up. It is painful, but I must speak,” he said in a 2013 interview with Reuters.

In a more recent interview in the Asia-Pacific Journal in October 2014, Matsumoto described working at a base in Yu County in Shanxi Province in China during the war. “Our battalion had approximately one thousand men. We took about 5 or 6 ‘comfort women’ with us. I was a corpsman…I had to help the army doctor to do tests for venereal disease on comfort women.”

After describing the instruments and testing methods, Matsumoto said, “These [women] had definitely not arrived there of their own will. Nobody would be willing to travel to such a remote area. The money was handled by Japanese civilians employed by the military, who took care of the women.”

Matsumoto made clear that rape of captured village women was rampant and that the setting up of the “comfort stations,” where soldiers forced women to have sex, was an attempt to curb the spread of disease among the troops. Matsumoto described finding several women in a captured village.

“When we raided a village, there happened to be some villagers left behind. Normally during a raid all the villagers would flee. Among them were seven or eight women. The soldiers grabbed them and took them away to the barracks. Knowing that they would be killed if they resisted, these women came along without resisting. The women were made to live inside the barracks, and whenever the soldiers felt like it they would visit them to have sex,” he said.

Matsumoto explained why he spoke out: “While reading all kind of things, I realized that if we don’t face our past squarely, we’re bound to repeat the same mistakes. When I look at Abe, I think he’s starting to do exactly that. Someone needs to speak up.” Asked about Abe’s claim that there was no coercion of women, Matsumoto responded: “Such a thing is not true! It’s…nonsense. A lie.”

The evidence proving that the Japanese army engaged in the wide-scale and systematic coercion of women into its “comfort stations” is not limited to such personal accounts, but has been found in wartime documents unearthed by historians. Nevertheless Matsumoto’s first-hand testimony is not only telling refutation of Abe’s lies but also points to the fact that the whitewashing of war crimes is the preparation for new ones.

Stop nuclear weapons in Germany


This video from Germany says about itself:

Manifestation against nuclear weapons at NATO/Büchel 21.04.2014

Alyn Ware (PNND, alternative Nobel Peace Prize laureate) at the last official US American nuclear weapons base, run by NATO and German air force.

From the Büchel Atomwaffenfrei site in Germany:

26.03. – 29.05.2015

Büchel nuclear weapons base (in western Germany, between Koblenz and Trier)

Nuclear weapons are still a reality in Germany. That’s why we are inviting local and (inter-)national groups and activists to express their opposition to the deployment and storage of nuclear weapons through non-violent blockades.

On as many days as possible within a period of 65 days, different groups will blockade a gate or gates of the Büchel nuclear base for one whole day each (or longer, if they like).

You will arrive the day before and prepare for your action with our help: How many gates do you want to blockade? What will you do if the police clears the blockade?

You’ll live nearby (we’ll help you to find accommodation) and the next morning we’ll accompany your action. You decide when to end your blockade and we’ll end the day of action with a joint evaluation.

All you need are 2 days and people who you were able to inspire to join you in blockading. What about motivating your local anti-nuclear group, or bring your Attac group with you, or even celebrate your birthday at the gate?

Every single blockade will disrupt the smooth running of the base. And we bring attention to the issue that nuclear weapons are stored there and their potential use.

Our idea for the action is in the same tradition as “Faslane 365″ and “gorleben365“.

Abolish nuclear weapons – shut down Büchel Airbase

On March 26th 2010 the German Bundestag called on the German government to advocate within NATO and directly to the US that the nuclear weapons remaining on German soil be withdrawn. An estimated 20 US nuclear bombs are stored at the German Army “Bundeswehr” airbase at Büchel. In the framework of so-called nuclear sharing arrangements, German Tornado aircraft are planned for use in nuclear war to deliver these bombs to their targets.

However, the former Conservative/Liberal government and the present Conservative/Social Democrat governments have both failed to effectively put pressure on the NATO alliance to withdraw the nuclear bombs from Büchel. Quite the opposite – not only has the retention of the bombs been tacitly accepted, their replacement with more flexible and precise nuclear weapons has been approved. They will thus remain in operation till 2050. With this, nuclear precision bombs will be introduced into Europe for the first time. These new weapons will endanger disarmament negotiations between NATO and Russia. Russia could call NATO’s disarmament commitment into question and use this as a pretext for further modernisation of their own nuclear arsenal.

The German government’s approval of this “modernisation” lends support to the new spiral of arms racing instead of backing the ultimate abolition of these weapons of mass destruction. And they are ignoring the will of the people, the majority of whom are against keeping nuclear weapons on German soil.

This “modernisation” devours millions of Euros that could be better spent on more urgent problems for humanity.

Nuclear weapons produce endless suffering for millions of people, not only when they were exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also through their existence and their production. Nuclear weapons maintain the nuclear chain that continues to add to the number of radiation victims and destroys the very basis of human life. Our response to this is to intensify our protest and resistance directly at the place where these dangerous weapons are stored and where daily training for their use is taking place. Like in Mutlangen in the eighties, Büchel in the Eifel region has become a symbol for military nuclear madness. We want to counter this insanity with our demand for unconditional (nuclear) disarmament and non-violent resolution of international conflict.

Together with you, we will make Büchel a symbol of successful non-violent resistance to nuclear weapons.

At the end of May the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) reaches its conclusion in New York.
We will bring pressure to bear by blockading the 65 days leading up to the end of this international conference!

Scope of the action

We understand civil disobedience to be non-violent direct action which is not necessarily confined to acts permitted by the state but also can – in a circumspect manner – transgress prohibitions. Hereby one risks or even provokes legal action after being charged with a summary or a criminal offence. In this way, the particular seriousness of the protest against circumstances of a scandalous nature gains particular expression. We will not use physical violence against any person, nor threaten to use it, nor will we use verbal abuse, ridicule or mockery. Our counterpart (police, soldiers, opponents of our action) will be respected, even when we are critical of their role and their acts. This is also valid should it come to legal proceedings against us as a result of our actions. We want to treat state prosecutors, judges and others with respect, even if we see them as a part of the political and legal system we are criticising.

Non-violent behaviour is a credible invitation to our counterpart to refrain from using the violence at their disposal and to treat our action benignly. Non-violent conduct on our part is, however, no guarantee against violence being used against us. Even when we are provoked, however, we will not retaliate with violence, but will remain calm and collected.

We will block access to the Büchel nuclear weapons base non-violently.