Photog calls on Nikon to stand up to rightists

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

South Korean photographer Ahn Se Hong, whose photos of wartime sex slaves are being exhibited at Nikon Salon in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, urged Nikon Corp. on Thursday not to give in to pressure from rightwingers.

The world-renowned camera maker had originally said it would hold the photo exhibition from June 26 to July 9 at the salon.

But last month the firm canceled the show for “various reasons” after receiving a number of complaints mainly from rightist groups who claim there were no sex slaves or that Koreans and other Asians exaggerate the issue.

Ahn filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court demanding the event be held. The court on June 22 ordered Nikon to open the exhibition as planned.

“When Nikon decided to cancel this exhibition, it said its shareholders protested the exhibition,” Ahn said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. “I think outside pressure forced Nikon to cancel it.”

Nikon filed a motion of objection to the court ruling, so it is possible the exhibition will be suspended before July 9, pending the court’s response.

Ahn said his address and phone number were exposed on the Internet and he has received numerous threats by phone and email saying no women were forced into military-run brothels.

Euphemistically known in Japan as “comfort women,” the young women and girls, in large part of Korean origin, were forced into sexual slavery for the Imperial armed forces during the war.