|

What do you think about NHK chief Katsuto Momii’s comments on ‘comfort women’?

by Danny Gong

The new head of the national broadcaster argued last month that sex-slave systems were used by “every country” in wartime and that the practice should not be judged by “today’s morality.”

Atsuhiko Murata
Programmer, 36 (Japanese)

I think Seoul’s response is too strong. We don’t know if the anger is real or just political maneuvering. But if those events really did happen, then he shouldn’t have said those strong comments on TV. The war happened 50-60 years ago, the younger generations don’t know about it and they don’t understand why Japan and South Korea are still angry about it.

Todd Strickland
English school founder, 46 (American)

It’s ignorant, and it’s surprising that someone in Japan can say that and be believed. Every country does bad things in war, but Japan is unique in terms of that particular system. This has been documented and proven, and people around the world know that. But here, someone with authority can make a statement like that and people will accept it. I don’t like that.

Alberto Avena
Internet sales, 26 (American)

I don’t think his statement is exactly wrong, because every time there’s war, things like that happen. But it’s like the big elephant in the room: You just don’t say those things. I don’t think South Korea should get so upset based on one comment. They should look past it, because I don’t think that regular Japanese people think the way Momii does.

Miki Ando
NPO founder, 44 (Japanese)

This is a difficult subject for many people. I think Momii’s comments were his own personal views. The war happened in the past. I can understand that some people feel strongly about it, but we must move forward; we are all people, and I hope that we can get along together.

Shiro Kawahigashi
Import and export, 39 (Japanese)

It’s good that the public knows his true feelings, but he shouldn’t say any more. America wants to mend ties between Japan and Korea — Obama is even coming. Politically, the Japan-Korea relationship is bad, but we have lots in common culturally. I don’t think the younger generation is reflected in the politics. Korean lawmakers are just using the comment for political ends.

Yoriko Karasaki
Grandmother, 65 (Japanese)

As for the “comfort women” remarks from the NHK president, I wonder why he made that issue a topic of the news conference. Historically, remarks like these are a well-known source of controversy. Also, there was never even any mention of the plight of the victims. I was terribly saddened by Momii’s comments.

  • phu

    One thing I don’t understand about all this is that so many people seem content to dismiss this as “his personal feelings.”

    When you’re a public figure, particularly one in a position where you’re expected to act with discretion and to present so much information in an unbiased way, you have a responsibility to be careful about what you say in public. You’re representing your post.

    Of course everyone can and should have their own feelings and points of view, including people in power. But that doesn’t mean they should throw those around when it could very easily be misconstrued as a statement in an official capacity.

    It’s mind-boggling that, in a culture where appearances and perception matter so much, this kind of excuse is accepted at all.