Friday, March 09, 2007


Amid all the sound and the fury...ANU Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki is offering the progressive view of the comfort women issue in Japan's 'Comfort Women': It's time for the truth (in the ordinary, everyday sense of the word) with only a tiny amount of gratuitous point scoring.

Oh, why be coy. With some really great gratuitous point scoring:

Abe, of course, has his own history in relation to this issue. Early in 2001, the Japanese national broadcaster NHK made a documentary program about the recently-concluded Women's International War Crimes Tribunal. A few days before the program was due to go to air, NHK's Executive Director General of Broadcasting had a meeting with Abe, who was then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary. They discussed the content of the documentary, and immediately after, the program's producers were instructed by NHK management to make last minute alterations which substantially weakened the critical tone of the program.

Four years later, the issue became headline news when an NHK whistleblower came forward to say that Abe Shinzo had exerted direct pressure on the national broadcaster to have the content of the program changed (an intervention which would have violated Japan's public broadcasting regulations). Abe, who admitted discussing the program with NHK staff, denied that his meeting had constituted "political pressure". (Should that have been "political pressure in the narrow sense of the word"?) The story caused a political furore, in which most of the mass media focused on attacking the credibility of the whistleblower.

Even if you think that Abe has received a raw deal in all the coverage, you have to love the parenthetical zinger in the second paragraph.

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