Friday, August 31, 2012

The Yomiuri Shimbun Goes On The Prowl

The text has not yet received the attention it deserves, but the Yomiuri Shimbun's August 29 editorial "The Kono Statement: It is natural to revise this 'historical stain'" (Kono danwa: "Fu no isan" no minaoshi wa tozen da) marks a turning point in Japan's political history (Link -J). It is stunning not just for its despicable and stupid call for a revision of the 1993 Kono Statement on the sex slaves of the Japan Imperial Forces comfort stations* but for its desperate batting of eyelashes at Hashimoto Toru ("Stop tweeting for a second and come and sit down next to me...") now that the Yomiuri's long time steady, the Liberal Democratic Party, has hopelessly soiled itself.

Like all floozies, the editors at the Yomiuri have a sharp and seemingly prescient sense of When It Is Time To Move On.

As for the call for a revision or indeed repudiation of the Kono Statement -- a dormant volcano brought violently to life on Monday by People's Life First Party member Toyama Itsuki in his questions put to the Cabinet in the House of Councillors Budget Committee session -- it is based upon the most idiotic of premises imaginable: that the Statement is false because the Government of Japan, in its 1991-93 investigation of the claims of the sex slaves, could not find any documentary evidence linking the coercive or duplicitous recruitment of the sex slaves and actions taken by government officials, be they civilian or military.

How stupid is this?

This stupid:
"Mr. Capone. You have been accused of being the head of Chicago's crime syndicates. What do your own investigations into these matters find?"

"Well, let me see here. Uh, here's my card. Nope, nope. It says here that my occupation is 'secondhand furniture dealer.' It don't say nothin' about no crime syndicates."

"Well, there you have it folks -- another ugly accusation proven untrue. Mr. Capone, our apologies for having troubled you."
As if a single entity could be entrusted to play the roles of defendant, prosecutor and judge all at the same time.

As for the appeal to Hashimoto, it is no mere love call in the middle of the night. It a suitcase-in-each-hand-appearing-at-the-front-door-at-6 a.m. request of "May I come in?"

The Yomiuri has produced its own translation of the editorial ( Link - E). Unfortunately, the translators have taken so many liberties that the result sounds even more callous and mendacious than the original.

Someone will have to produce a better translation, possibly me. If I do it, I post will my draft and have expert commentators offer their suggestions.

For those who want to see the video of the Toyama questions and the answers of Foreign Minister Gemba Ko'ichiro, Chief Cabinet Secretarty Fujimura Osamu, National Safety Commision Chair Matsubara Jin and Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko, the House of Councillors video library website is:

Go to the calendar and click on August 27. When the list of committee meetings appears, click on the tiny icon of a human face on the far right on the line for the budget committee (予算委員会). This will open a drop-down list of the questioners and their question session. Click on Toyama Itsuki (外山斎). The playback will begin moments later, in a separate, small window.

* The term "comfort women" has always been a misnomer, as comfort station procurers took boys as well as women from the internment camps in Indonesia.


Anonymous said...

Can you translate this page to English?

Anonymous said...


MTC said...

Anonymous -

Please send all requests for information or services to

Orandajin said...

A little off-topic, but there's still anti-Japanese sentiments in The Netherlands because of this. Thank god that generation is almost completely gone now.

The hypocrisy in this sentiment is quite striking to me. Indonesia was a Dutch COLONY, and the list of atrocious acts towards the native people by the Dutch is at least just as long as the crimes committed by the Japanese in WWII.

It was war for fudge sake. This never really brings the best out of people in general.

Anonymous said...

THE COMFORT WOMEN: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan, by C. Sarah Soh. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009, 384 pp