Thursday, March 6, 2014

SYMPOSIUM TO SAVE THE KONO STATEMENT


SYMPOSIUM TO SAVE THE KONO STATEMENT

DON’T LET ABE DISMANTLE AN APOLOGY

Friday, March 7, 2014

4:00-4:00 pm

Location
House of Representatives Diet Members Building #1 
First Floor International Conference Room 
(Passes will be distributed that day starting at 1:30 pm in the lobby)

Speakers
Japanese-language only
Professor Hayashi can respond in English

Professor Yoshiaki YOSHIMI, Chuo University, Department of History will discuss NHK Chairman Katsuto MOMII’s comments on the Comfort Women

Professor Hirofumi HAYASHI, Kanto Gakuin University, Department of History will discuss new documentation indicating coercion in recruiting and retaining Comfort Women

Ms. Rumiko NISHINO, Co-Representative, Violence Against Women in War Research Action Center, Tokyo will discuss the government’s inquiry into the “verification” of the 
testimony of the 16 Comfort Women

Background

There has been an acceleration of efforts to delegitimize the Kono Statement*. Last fall, the Sankei Shimbun leaked the confidential testimonies of 16 Korean former “Comfort Women” that had been used to support the 1993 Kono Statement. On January 1, 2014, the Sankei followed by reporting that Kono Statement was prepared in concert with the Korean government. Later that month, the new chairman of NHK Katsuto MOMII brushed off the Comfort Women as a common phenomenon among world militaries. 

The Japan Restoration Party (JRP) quickly requested former deputy chief cabinet secretary Nobuo ISHIHARA to testify to the Lower House Budget Affairs Committee regarding the background to the Kono Statement. In his mid-February testimony Ishihara said “An investigation to prove the factual background of the testimony of the former comfort women was never carried out.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide SUGA quickly responded that the Government would create a committee to examine “the verification” of their testimony.

It is clear that the ruling and opposition parties are collaborating with the nation’s public broadcasting system to gut and shelve this one Japanese apology to the women swept up in Imperial Japan’s military Comfort Women system. They want to deny the facts that Imperial Japan’s armed forces and government were involved. They want to discredit the witnesses and ignore the documentation. They are trying to destroy the legitimacy of the Kono Statement and the dignity of the victims. 

In an era that recognizes the scourge of sexual violence against women in conflict, the Government of Japan should be strengthening not rescinding its apology to Imperial Japan’s military sex slaves. Japan should be taking the lead in combating rape, not rationalizing its propagation. Japan should be confronting not only its past, but also its contemporary responsibilities.

Sponsors


VAWWRAC is the successor to "Violence against 
Women in War Network Japan" (VAWW-NET Japan)


issue of "comfort women," August 4, 1993, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

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