LDP panel explores ways to convey Japan’s views on sex slave issue


Staff Writer

A special Liberal Democratic Party committee on Thursday discussed ways to better convey Japan’s views on wartime historical issues to counter a public relations blitz by South Korea.

During the sixth gathering of the Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan, chaired by Hirofumi Nakasone, some members said a carefully crafted strategic plan is needed to gain the understanding of the international community when it comes to the issue of “comfort women,” a euphemism for those who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

In the discussions on how the forced prostitution issue is portrayed in school textbooks overseas, a Foreign Ministry official told the committee that textbooks by one publisher in Germany and three in the United States contain depictions of comfort women.

Although most of the textbooks do not explore the issue in depth, the government needs to look at them carefully and determine whether they merit an official response, Masahiko Shibayama, a Lower House member who serves as a secretariat of the committee, told reporters after the meeting.

Officials from the Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry attended the meeting to answer members’ questions.

Shibayama also said the government must deal with such issues, which could damage Japan’s national interests, while avoiding the appearance of “historical revisionism.”

During the hour-long meeting, they also studied past lawsuits and rulings in other countries related to the issue.

The committee, launched last October by right-wing LDP members, including party policy chief Tomomi Inada, plans to compile and submit its recommendations to the administration as early as this month.

It also plans to draw up a recommendation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about his expected statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which will be closely watched by Beijing and Seoul.

Earlier this year, Abe and LDP lawmakers criticized a U.S. history textbook published by McGraw-Hill that included sentences such as: “The Japanese Army forcibly recruited, conscripted and dragooned as many as 200,000 women aged 14 to 20 to serve in military brothels.”

Japanese mainstream historians say it is impossible to determine the exact number of comfort women. But Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a leading historian on the issue, estimates there were at least 50,000.

The Foreign Ministry told the Japanese Consulate in New York last year to ask McGraw-Hill to revise the world history textbook.

  • timefox

    Japanese Government should correct comfort woman’s delusion. Is a comfort woman a mistake, too? That was an ordinary courtesan.

    The United States was using a sexual slave for the time of Korean War. But United States don’t want to admit use of a sexual slave. So They called a courtesan of the Pacific War a sexual slave and blamed Japan. Only that.

    • Hendrix

      Thats right, do what you do best and deflect the blame, obfusicate and never own up because of your disgusting pride…. and stop using google translate to post in English, it makes you look even more silly.

    • R0ninX3ph

      So, if all the other countries in the world who used prostitutes to satiate their military all admit to it, then Japan will? Oh… What? You’re only trying to deflect the issue instead of actually dealing with it? Right.

      And as Hendrix said, stop using Google translate, it makes you look ridiculous. You could at least type your message in Japanese so that the meaning isn’t garbled in the middle of a terrible automated translation.

    • 151E

      Your perseverance is admirable, but your posts often skirt the limits of comprehensibility such that I would be amazed if they passed the Turing test. But keep at it.

    • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

      Four beans, chicken, dog, powder, frog and water… wtf are you saying?

  • 151E

    I absolutely love the utterly absurd name of this caucus, “Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan”, so completely oblivious to the irony!

    Really, it’s best to leave history to the historians, but if they’re going to spend all this time studying foreign textbooks maybe they’ll actually learn something. Who knows? Or the chairman, Hirofumi Nakasone, could probably also just ask his father, Yasuhiro, all about it, seeing as dad was responsible for organising a comfort station back in ’42 in Balikpapan, Indonesia.

  • Hendrix

    As for this panel or commitee or whatever, all it is trying to do is to find a clever way to distort or manipulate the truth…. As long as Abe and his cronies are in power they will never come clean.

  • tisho

    i.e. how to come up with a wording that conveys a message to our domestic audience that there were no sex slaves, and another message for the foreign audience that we are sorry for what happened.

  • Ron NJ

    A name like the “Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan” is just too good. I’m half convinced they’re really just so oblivious to the rest of the world that they think that sort of name is acceptable or appropriate and half convinced they’re just trolling the world at this point.

    Either way, bravo Japan. You’re doing more damage to your own international image and standing with ridiculous stuff like this than any foreign entity ever could.

  • Richard Solomon

    For those who wish to learn more about the efforts being made by the Foreign Ministry to get American textbook writers to alter their description of ‘comfort women’ look at the current issuemofmJapan Focus. One of the co-authors of the McGraw Hill textbook discusses his meeting with a Japanese official in Hawaii. By the end of the article I was shaking my head in disbelief: the Japanese official simply would not acknowledge that the author had the right to write the textbook as he saw fit and the facts suggest. The attitude seemed to be ‘don’t bother me with the facts. Just agree with our denial about what the Japanese military did.’

  • Kazuto Matsumura

    Please stop referring to this kind of opinion as “Japan’s” view, which certainly is NOT. I ask your newspaper to use such terms as “LDP’s view,” “Abe government’s view,” etc.