Appeal by Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women
Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women
Chairman Kase Hideaki
2-6-3-203, Suidou, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
March 8, 2016
To Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio:
A written request to rebut the unfounded claims made by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
(1.) On February 16 of this year, Mr. Sugiyama, a representative of the Government of Japan, in Geneva for a session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women investigating Japan, emphatically stated that evidence of “coercive recruitment” of “comfort women” does not exist, and, furthermore, suggested that “coercive recruitment” became an international issue only after the publication of articles by the Asahi Shimbun that later proved to be categorically false. The representatives further elaborated the opinion and position of the Government of Japan, including their position on the allegation that the “comfort women” were “sex slaves” and the assertion that “200,000” women were “comfort women,” affirming that this figure was derived from a deliberate conflation of members of the Women’s Volunteer Corps and actual “comfort women”.
These statements mark the first time that the Japanese government has officially put forward a forthright and comprehensive rebuttal of the international community’s misunderstandings on this subject, including the false equation of “comfort women” with sex slaves. Late though it was, this act does merit our praise. By doing so, the Government of Japan, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has accomplishment a major service in the national interest, and we would like to express our gratitude for the dedicated efforts of officials connected to the government and Foreign Ministry. We should also note at this point that concerns expressed by members of this organization, an organization founded by private individuals, before the same UN committee in July, 2015, provided the impetus that lead to the government’s own statements.
However, when the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women released its final report to the Japanese government on March 7, it not only continued its unremitting, shrill criticism of Japan on the comfort women issue, but also made new comments that were tantamount to interference in the domestic affairs of Japan. We will explain the problematic points of the committee’s report, and call upon the Japanese government to respond to them in an appropriate manner.
(2.) The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women report contained the following problems:
a.) Even though the Government of Japan elaborated the facts concerning the “comfort women” problem and traced the origin of the issue, Committee members paid no heed and continued to cling to embarrassingly outmoded viewpoints. This is clearly shown by their unchanged use of the word “victims” to describe the so-called comfort women. There can be no question that, by any standard, the Committee treats Japan in a manner that is entirely dissonant with fairness and justice. Still, we could say that the statements of the Japanese government did have some impact, as the Committee avoided the use of expressions like “coercive recruitment” and “sexual slavery”.
b.) The Committee’s report rebuffed and expressed regret over the remark by the representative of the Japanese government arguing that the problems of the “comfort women” did not fall within the purview of the Committee at all because they occurred well before prior to Japan’s 1985 ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
c.) The report stated that Japan deleted depiction of the “comfort women” problem from textbooks and urged the government to “adequately integrate the issue of ‘comfort women’ in textbooks”. Education is one of the most central spheres of national sovereignty, wherein international organizations have absolutely no right to meddle. The report went as far as to make demands of Japanese public officials in this regard. This ignores the fact that Japan is a sovereign democracy, and even if Japanese politicians make statements that some deem to be inappropriate, this is an issue the Japanese people must face. We must express our displeasure, of an alien organization attempting to dictate the affairs of our sovereign state.
d.) The report even criticized the agreement that was reached between the sovereign states of South Korea and Japan at the end of 2015, insisting that it “did not fully adopt a victim-centred approach”. This bizarre criticism merely parrots the pro-North Korean viewpoint espoused by South Korean “activist” groups.
(3.) On the basis of the issues mentioned, we request that the Japanese government adopt the following measures:
Firstly, as the Government of Japan has the inalienable right to rebut the claims made by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, we request that the Government explain its position in a confident and thoroughly fact-based manner.
Secondly, in connection with the aforementioned rebuttal, we request that the Foreign Ministry immediately release to the public the sealed papers that it had composed in 1996 thoroughly quashing the Coomaraswamy Report. Since the Coomaraswamy Report is the current basis for the global, wrong-headed thinking that equates “comfort women” with “sex slaves,” we ask that the Government of Japan request the United Nations to reexamine or retract its current stance.
Thirdly, after the Government of Japan has worked out a framework for its rebuttal, we would like Prime Minister Abe himself to hold a press conference in order to set the record straight concerning the global misconceptions about the “comfort women”.
Finally, we ask that the Government of Japan establish a specialized department under its direct control to accurately disseminate historical facts globally and create a permanent system to communicate Japan’s position to the international community. In doing this, we ask that the Government of Japan refer to the three recommendations proposed by the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals. (Refer to notes bellow.)
*Note: Policy recommendations of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (January 21, 2016)
(1.) The government will set up a specialized department independent of the Foreign Ministry that will be responsible for “international public relations to promote a systematic, fact-based understanding of history”, and will engage in sustained international public relations in order to properly explain our country’s perspective.
(2.) The National Diet will enact a law, provisionally titled the “Special Law to Protect Japan’s National Honor”, making it the responsibility of the government to rebut baseless anti-Japanese slander campaigns.
(3.) During this time, the government will also establish a system of government-citizen cooperation in international public relations to allow private specialists involved in refuting false claims on an international level to become more actively engaged.