Saturday, June 15, 2013

Asian Americans push back

On June 11, San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim introduced a resolution asking Mayor Ed Lee to urge his Osaka counterpart, Toru Hashimoto to apologize to the Comfort Women victims, retract his demeaning statements regarding the sex slaves of Imperial Japan, and
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors calls on President Barack
17 Obama and the U.S. Congress to formally ask the Japanese government to initiate legislation,
18 to be adopted by the Japanese Diet, formally acknowledging the wartime atrocities committed
19 by the Japanese government in countries that it invaded and occupied, apologize for the
20 atrocities committed by its soldiers, and compensate the victims of Japanese aggression,
21 including the survivors of the forced sexual enslavement during World War II, akin to the
22 actions taken by the U.S. Congress in 1988 when it passed legislation acknowledging and
23 apologizing for its unlawful detention of Japanese Americans during World War II and the
24 actions taken by the German government formally acknowledging the atrocities committed by
25 its wartime government and military forces during World War II;
This resolution follows a statement issued by Emily Moto Murase, the Mayor's head of the City's Department on the Status of Women condemning Mayor Hashimoto's view that the Comfort Women were “necessary” to provide relief to soldiers as a "flagrant denial of basic human rights."

She writes that she is joined by other leading organizations in the Japanese American community such as the U.S.-Japan Council, which asserted, “Statements that are demeaning to women or that are historically inaccurate are inappropriate and harm the relationship between Japan and its allies.”

In addition, the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association released the following: “Statements that justify controversial wartime abuses and devastating violence against women are damaging to international relations, and contrary to the mission of the association.”

Dr. Murase is also on the board of the Osaka-San Francisco sister-city committee. She noted to a reporter that a visit by Osaka Mayor Hashimoto "would have been very difficult because of what we know as San Francisco values."

With these statements, it is clear that the Japanese American community is not to be separated out from other Asian Americans or any Americans in their rejection of denier history.

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