Monday, May 26, 2014

Tuesday in Washington, May 27, 2014

5/26 - Memorial Day. US government closed, National Holiday.
5/26 - Annual ceremony in Tokyo for the war dead at Chidorigafuchi, attended by Prime Minster Abe.

NUCLEAR FLASHPOINTS: US-IRAN TENSIONS OVER TERMS AND TIMETABLES. 5/27, 9:30-11:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsors: Wilson Center (WWC); US Institute of Peace (USIP); Stimson Center; Arms Control Association (ACA). Speakers: Robin Wright, joint fellow, USIP and WWC; Stephen Hadley, chairman, USIP; John Wolfsthal, deputy director, Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Daryl Kimball, executive director, ACA; and Robert Litwak, vice president for scholars and academic relations, director of international security studies, WWC.

THE RUSSIAN GAS MATRIX: HOW MARKETS ARE DRIVING CHANGE. 5/27, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: James Henderson, Senior Research Fellow, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies; Johnathan Stern, Chairman, Natural Gas Research Programme and Senior Research Fellow, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies; Edward C. Chow, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program; CSIS; Moderator: Charles K. Ebinger, Director, Energy Security Initiative, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy.

GERMANY’S RUSSIA POLICY: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES AND CONSEQUENCES FOR TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS. 5/27, Noon–1:30pm. Sponsor: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University (AICGS). Speaker: Dr. Hannes Adomeit, political scientist and expert on Russian and East-Central European affairs.

THE FUTURE OF AFGHAN POLICING: SECURITY AFTER NATO WITHDRAWAL. 5/27, 1:00-3:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: US Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: Ali Jalali, former minister of the interior of Afghanistan and professor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies; Catherine Royle, former head, International Police Coordination Board Secretariat and former British deputy ambassador, Kabul; Aziz Hakimi, co-author, Counterinsurgency, Local Militias, and Statebuilding in Afghanistan; Michelle Hughes, author, The Afghan National Police in 2015 and Beyond, founder, president and CEO, VALRAC Innovation LLC; Jonathan Goodhand, co-author, Counterinsurgency, Local Militias, and Statebuilding in Afghanistan; and Shawn Stith, former director of the International Security Assistance Force Ministry of Interior Ministerial Advisory Group.

IRAQ 2.0: WHAT COMES NEXT? 5/27, 1:30-2.45pm. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress; Douglas Ollivant, New America Foundation and Mantid International; Michael Rubin, AEI.

MAPPING CHANGES IN THE INDONESIAN ELECTORAL LANDSCAPE FROM 2009 TO 2014. 5/27, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: United Sates-Indonesia Society (USINDO). Speaker: Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University.

ASIA IN THE WORLD: ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, MILITARY, AND SOCIAL CHALLENGES. 5/27, 3:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: David Shambaugh, Fellow, Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, Director of the China Policy Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, the Brookings Institution; Robert Sutter, Professor, International Affairs, George Washington University; Amitav Acharaya, Professor, International Affairs, American University. 

THE ALLURE OF NORMALCY: AMERICA’S LEADERSHIP IN THE WORLD AND PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FOREIGN POLICY. 5/27, 4:00-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: David Brooks, columnist, New York Times; Robert Kagan, senior fellow, Brookings; Moderator: Leon Wieseltier, literary editor, New Republic.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday in Washington May 19, 2014

THE NAVY'S REBALANCE TO ASIA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES. 5/19, 8:45-10:00am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations; John Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS; Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia, CSIS.

THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM: A MISSED OPPORTUNITY? 5/19, 9:00am-5:30pm. Sponsor: Freedom House. Speakers: Scott Busby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy; Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS PRODUCTION AND WASTE CLEANUP ISSUES. 5/19, 9:30am. Sponsor: Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. Speakers: Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment; Ralph Hutchison, Coordinator, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance; Scott Kovac, Operations and Research Director, Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore; Donna Busche, Whistleblower; Diane D'Arigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information & Resource Service.

DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS. 5/19, 10:00-11:30pm. Sponsor: George C. Marshall Institute. Speakers: Dr. Howard R. Meyer, Jr., Science Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Department of Defense; Mr. Mark Gunzinger, Senior Fellow,
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Ronald O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs,
Congressional Research Service.

THE RESULTS OF INDIA'S 2014 GENERAL ELECTION. 5/19, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Tanvi Madan, Fellow, Foreign Policy Director, The India
Project; Sadanand Dhume, Resident Fellow, AEI; Richard Rossow, Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS; Milan Vaishnav, Associate, South Asia Program, Carnegie. 

SUSUMU INAMINE, MAYOR OF NAGO, OKINAWA, A DISCUSSION. 5/19, 11:30am-1:30pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Cato Institute. Speaker: Mayor Susumu INAMINE, who recently won
reelection in Nago on Okinawa who is a steadfast opponent of the development of an U.S. air base at

AFGHANISTAN: A VOLATILE STATE AT THE CROSSROADS. 5/19, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Australian National University (ANU). Speaker: Amin Saikal, Professor of Political Science, ANU.

STRESS TEST: REFLECTIONS ON FINANCIAL CRISIS. 5/19, Noon. Sponsor: Politico. Speakers: Timothy Geithner, Former Treasury Secretary; Mike Allen, Chief White House Correspondent, Politico; Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent, Politico.

ASSET MANAGEMENT AND RISKS TO US FINANCIAL STABILITY. 5/19, 12:45pm. Sponsor: Financial Stability Oversight Council. Speakers: Mary Miller, Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance; Norm Champ, Director, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission.

FDR, THE JEWS, AND THE HOLOCAUST: RESOLVING THE CONTROVERSY. 5/19, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: History and Public Policy Program, Wilson Center. Speaker: Co-Author Allan Lichtman, Professor of History, American University.

THE DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE FROM THE SOUTH. 5/19, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Legatum Institute; Center for Development and Enterprise (CDE); National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Speakers: Ann Bernstein, Executive Director, Centre for Development and Enterprise, Johannesburg, South Africa; Simon Schwartzman, Senior Fellow, Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade, Brazil; Eswaran Sridharan, Academic Director, University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India; Marc Plattner, Vice President, NED; John Sullivan, Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise; Anne Applebaum, Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday in Washington May 12, 2014

Washington Monument
Reopens this Week
35 YEARS LATER: ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT. 5/12, 8:30am-3:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Representative Shen Lyushun, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office; Chris Nelson, Senior Vice President, Samuels International Associates; Carl Ford, President, Ford and Associates; David Lee, Chairman, Coordination Council for North American Affairs; Moderator: Richard Bush, Senior Fellow and Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies, Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution; Kevin Nealer, Principal, The Scowcroft Group; Randy Schriver, CEO and President, Project 2049; Partner, Armitage International; Andrew N.D. Yang, Assistant Professor, National Sun Yat-sen University, Former Minister of Defense, R.O.C.; Moderator: Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser, Freeman Chair in China Studies; Keynote: Chairman Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, American Institute in Taiwan; Li Peng, Associate Director, Taiwan Research Institute, Xiamen University; Visiting Scholar, University of Maryland; David Wei-Feng Huang, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica; Steven Goldstein, Sophia Smith Professor of Government, Smith College. Moderator: Christopher Johnson, Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS.

NIXON'S TRANSFORMATION OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL. 5/12, 10:00am. Sponsor: National Archives. Speakers: Former National Security Council Members Robert McFarlane, Winston Lord, Richard Allen, John Lehman Jr.; K.T. McFarland, National Security Analyst, Fox News. 

REGIONALISM IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD: PRESENTATION OF THE E-15 INITIATIVE ON REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS. 5/12, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Antoni Estevadeordal, Manager, Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank; Miguel Rodriguez, Senior Associate, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development; Kati Suominen, Senior Associate, Europe Program, CSIS; Moderator: Scott Miller, William M. Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS.

IVORY TOWERS AND PALACE GUARDS: THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN OUTSIDE EXPERTISE AND POLICYMAKING. 5/12, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Kennan Institute, Wilson Center. Speaker: Suzanna Massie, Consultant and Author, Trust but Verify.

A TIME  TO ATTACK: THE LOOMING IRANIAN NUCLEAR THREAT. 5/12, 5:00-6:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speaker: Author, Matthew Kroenig, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council.

ENERGY AND AMERICA'S LONG WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST. 5/12, 5:30-7:00pm. Sponsor: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University. Speaker: Toby Jones, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Creating the "Big Lie"

Mr. Stokes
An ancient and infirm former British journalist, Henry S. Stokes (76), has long been used by Japan's right-wing to lend some respectability to their more outrageous revisionist history. It is a peculiar form of racism. Simply by being a "white man," they believe, Stokes is credible. As such, his recent, Japanese-only book, Eikokujin Kisha Ga Mita Rengokoku Sensho Shikan no Kyomou [“Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist”] has become a national bestseller with over 100,000 copies sold since being released last Fall. ,

His "essays" pepper the English-language website of the Society of Historical Fact and he gave a recent presentation "Japan was the Light of Hope in Asia" for the 70th anniversary of the Greater East Asian Conference held on Nov. 5-6, 1943. He sees the believes that Japan was instrumental in helping "end of the curse of colonialism."
In an April interview with The Economist's David McNeil at the Foreign Correspondent's Club, Stokes makes it clear that he "sides with the staunchest revisionists in attributing the end of European colonialism in Asia to imperial Japan – “Asia’s light of hope,” he says. “It is largely as a result of Japanese shedding their blood that we entered a new world where colonies did not exist any more and there is racial equality.” 

He questions if “Is Japan the only criminal country?" in his second chapter and sees only “victor’s justice. Stokes', like all Japanese revisionists and the current Prime Minister, holds the view that the U.S., not Japan, bears the “prime responsibility” for the Pacific War."

Most interesting, however, is that McNeil gets him to admit "to not knowing exactly what’s between the pages of the book that carries his name – he says he reads little Japanese and an English translation has yet to be produced." This admission led another journalist (see below) to expose how the Japanese Rights perpetuates the "big lie" by all means.

Journalist backtracks on best-seller after Nanjing switcheroo Former Times bureau chief 'shocked' by revisionist conclusion of own book

KYODO, MAY 8, 2014
reprinted for scholarly analysis from The Japan Times

Former New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Henry S. Stokes should have reason to celebrate. His latest book “Eikokujin Kisha Ga Mita Rengokoku Sensho Shikan no Kyomou” (Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist) has moved 100,000 copies in the five months since its December release, according to its publisher Shodensha.

The mashup of journalistic anecdotes from the front lines of Japan’s modern history and hard-nosed arguments against its responsibility for World War II atrocities has made the 75-year-old Stokes a darling of the country’s resurgent right wing. With the slim volume popping up on best-seller lists across the nation, its author has found himself in the brightest spotlight of his career.

There is just one problem — until a recent interview with Kyodo News, Stokes, a longtime resident of Tokyo, did not know what was written in his own book.

Now, the former reporter, who reads and writes only a little Japanese, says he is “shocked and horrified” by the book’s conclusion that the Chinese government fabricated the Nanjing Massacre, describing the claim as “straightforward right-wing propaganda.”

The book’s translator, Hiroyuki Fujita, “smuggled” the rogue passages into the work, Stokes says, adding that the conclusion was “just spooned into the text.” Fujita admits that he added his own language to the book but argues that he closely based his additions on Stokes’ own views.

Stokes, who suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease and cannot easily type or use a pen or pencil, entrusted the book’s production to Fujita and Hideaki Kase, two men with close ties to the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, a nonprofit educational group that advocates “revisionist” positions on Japanese history.

At Kase’s urging, Stokes sat with Fujita for over 170 hours of interviews about his journalistic career and his self-described “right of center” political views. He says the men told him that they would translate the interviews into Japanese and then shape them into a book.

Stokes agreed to participate in the project, despite warnings from family and friends to be wary of the men, whom he describes as “personal, close friends.”

According to Stokes, Fujita had assured him that “90 to 95 percent” of the book was based on their interview sessions. While Fujita reiterated these claims, he would not comment on what other additions he had made to the text and declined multiple requests to share the recordings.

“As I’m being interviewed by these people, I would trust them to stick by the record,” Stokes said. “And if they haven’t done that, they have let me down and let themselves down.”

The “record” of Stokes’ comments on Nanjing is decidedly mixed. On one hand, the claims made in Stokes’ book appear, almost word for word, in an article attributed to him in the March 2014 issue of WiLL, a hard right-wing Japanese magazine, edited by Kazuyoshi Hanada. Similar comments appear under Stokes’ name in a series of interviews in Yukan Fuji, a popular evening tabloid.

But, in the March issue of Voice Magazine, another Japanese-language publication, Stokes expresses a very different opinion on both subjects. In a translated response to a question about Nanjing by reporter Taka Daimaru, Stokes says that he “can’t support” right-wing arguments that the massacre never happened, because they “aren’t realistic.” Similar comments appear in an interview with journalist David McNeil that ran in the April issue of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s magazine Number 1 Shimbun.

Despite the contradictions, Fujita, Daimaru and McNeill all say that they have faithfully reproduced their conversations with Stokes. Hanada was not available for comment.

“In the process of compiling the Japanese version of course I summarized or interpreted basically what he said,” Fujita said, adding that the quotation marks around the words Nanjing Massacre make it clear that he intended to convey Stokes’ position that the Chinese government has exaggerated the scale of the massacre, not that it is an outright lie.

Japanese readers, however, have interpreted the text differently. In a tweet sent two days before the interview, for example, one wrote that Stokes claims “there is not even one piece of evidence that the Nanjing Massacre occurred.”

That conclusion could not be further from the truth, Stokes says.

Over the course of multiple interviews with Kyodo News beginning on April 5, Stokes repeatedly expressed a view on Nanjing that directly contradicts the remarks attributed to him in both his own book and the articles in WiLL and Yukan Fuji.

“I don’t come within ten-thousand miles of this stuff as a position,” he said, dismissing the view that Nanjing is a fabrication as “ludicrous,” “fatuous” and “utterly, utterly asinine.”
“The stance I take is that ghastly events occurred in Nanjing,” Stokes said, adding that he does, however, disagree with Chinese assessments that 300,000 people died during the six days when the Imperial Japanese Army overran China’s then capital. He also objects to the use of the term massacre, preferring the more anodyne “Nanjing Incident.”

Stokes’ claims are supported by one of the project’s transcriptionists, who resigned for “ethical concerns” stemming from what she described as major differences between Fujita’s interviews with Stokes and the book’s contents. The text, she said, takes out of context or deliberately ignores several of Stokes’ statements, especially on the subject of Nanjing and the comfort women.

Stokes’ career as Tokyo bureau chief for the left of center New York Times, where he worked from 1978 to 1983, makes him the perfect vehicle for providing credibility to historical revisionists’ arguments against Japan’s responsibility for wartime atrocities, according to Takesato Watanabe, a professor of media ethics at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Fujita admits this was a consideration in producing the book. “If I wrote this,” Fujita said, “people would say that I’m right-wing or a revisionist, and the things I say can’t be trusted, because I’m defending Japan.”

“If a foreign correspondent says it for me,” he added, “no matter what the content . . . people will say it’s interesting.”

Although Fujita played a major role in the book’s production, “without Kase-sensei (Mr. Kase), this publication was not possible,” he said, adding that he had consulted with Kase on the book’s topics and what questions to ask Stokes.

While admitting that he introduced Stokes to the book’s publisher, Kase denied that he had any direct role in writing it or that he knew about Fujita’s additions. Kase wrote the book’s afterword.

Stokes met Kase, who describes himself as a “diplomatic critic,” in the late 1960s. In the years following, Kase became an adviser to former Prime Ministers Takeo Fukuda and Yasuhiro Nakasone.

Kase, 77, has stayed active in conservative political circles in Japan. In addition to his position as the chairman of the revisionist group, he has been involved with several other right-wing organizations, most notably as a “representative” and “auditor” to the board of directors of the Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), a hard-right political group with links to the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In November 2012, Kase’s name appeared alongside Abe’s in a full-page newspaper advertisement in the New Jersey newspaper The Star-Ledger that described comfort women as high-paid prostitutes and made a number of additional claims that closely resemble those found in Stokes’ book. The ad instructs readers “eager to look further into the truth” to visit the website of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact.

This is not the first time that Kase’s name has appeared in connection with a literary sleight of hand. In the 1990s, a Korean journalist accused the prolific author of ghostwriting “Minikui Kankokujin” (“Ugly Koreans”), a Japanese best-seller that argues Japan’s occupation of Korea had been good for the country. The book’s original author later came forward and accused Kase of making substantial revisions to the text, which was published under a Korean pen name. Kase says he “corrected” the book, but denies writing it.

Stokes has requested that Fujita issue a correction to his book. Fujita says that he will correct the record in a forthcoming English edition, but there are currently no plans to amend the existing text.

Contacted by Kyodo News, the publisher said that he was “surprised” by the allegations and that if true a correction would be issued.

Despite his objections, Stokes refuses to assign blame for the book’s contents to the men he calls friends.

No matter how much he may disagree with the end result, “If I’ve been taken advantage of, it’s with my complicity,” Stokes said. “And, it’s my responsibility and my fault.”

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Monday in Washington May 5, 2014

RUSSIA IN EAST ASIA: HISTORY, MIGRATION AND CONTEMPORARY POLICY. 5/5, 9:00-11:00am. Sponsor: Kennan Institute, Wilson Center. Speakers: Matthew Ouimet, Senior Analyst, Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia, US Department of State, Public Scholar, Wilson Center; Alyssa Park, Assistant Professor of Modern Korean History, University of Iowa, Title VIII-Supported Research Scholar, Kennan Institute; Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute.

ADVANCING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT AND DISPLACEMENT SITUATIONS. 5/5, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsors: Brookings Institution; London School of Economics (LSE); British Embassy. Speakers: Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the US; Peggy Kuo, Former Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Georgetown University; Megan Bradley, Fellow, Brookings-LSE. 

PACIFIC AIR FORCES STRATEGY AND ENGAGEMENT IN ASIA-PACIFIC. 5/5, 11:15am-12:15pm. Sponsor: International Security Program, CSIS. Speakers: Herbert Carlisle, Commander, US Pacific Air Forces; David Berteau, Senior Vice President and Director, National Security Program on Industry and Resources, CSIS; Michael Green, Senior Vice President, Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS.

SOPHISTICATED INTERDEPENDENCE IN CLIMATE POLICY: FEDERALISM IN THE UNITED STATES, BRAZIL, AND GERMANY. 5/5, 11:30am-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heinrich Bӧll Stiftung. Speakers: Author Vivian Thomson, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Politics, University of Virginia; Virginia Parente, Professor, University of São Paulo; Rebecca Bertram, Program Director for Environment and Global Dialogue, Heinrich Boell Foundation. 

MAGNIFICENT DELUSIONS: PAKISTAN, THE UNITED STATES AND AN EPIC HISTORY OF MISUNDERSTANDING. 5/5, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Speaker: Author Husain Haqqani, Former Pakistan Ambassador to the US. 

THE UKRAINE CRISIS AND US SECURITY STRATEGY. 5/5, 1:30-3:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS; Clark Murdock, Director and Senior Advisor, Defense and National Security Group, CSIS; Vikram Singh, Vice President, National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress.

STRATEGIC REASSURANCE AND RESOLVE: US-CHINA RELATIONS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. 5/5, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Author Jim Steinberg, Dean, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University; Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings; Michael Green, Vice President, CSIS. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S VISIT TO KOREA: AN ALLIANCE STRONGER THAN EVER. 5/5, 2:30-3:45pm. Sponsor: Korea Chair, CSIS. Speaker: Ho-Young Ahn, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the US; John Hamre, President and CEO, Pritzker Chair, CSIS; Victor Cha, Senior Advisor, Korea Chair, CSIS.

THE GLOBALIZATION OF CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY - LESSONS FROM CHINA. 5/5, 3:30-5:00pm. Sponsor: China Environment Forum, Wilson Center. Speaker: Author Kelly Sims Gallagher, Director, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, Tufts University.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Comfort Women Memorials

Glendale, CA
American and Australian municipal and state legislators have been bombarded with emails, letters, and petitions demanding that they refuse to errect or tear down memorials to the Comfort Women. The Japanese writers insist that the thousands of women, girls, and boys used as Comfort Women for the Imperial Japan's military were merely willing prostitutes who profitted from their labor. They feel that these momuments are an insult to Japan's honor.

To be sure, all the writers are from a handful of Japanese rightwing, anti-Korean groups coordinated by a group called Nadeshiko or Pink Action (note this is not the literal translation, but theirs). They appear to be working with the reactionary Society for History Textbook Reform, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, former General Toshio Tamogami's group, and Nippon Kaigi the most prominent organization for Japan's conservative nationalists. On April 19, 2014 they held a Mass Rally against the Kono Statement in Tokyo.

The ties Nadeshiko has to the virulent anti-Korean hate groups in Japan such as Zaitokukai are unsettling. APP examines these links in this Japan Brief that finds the head of Nadeshiko to be the same person as the deputy director of Zaitokukai.

All these groups are involved in some way in establishing the California-based Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAFHT) that is behind a lawsuit filed with the Federal District Court in February, Gingery v. City of Glendale. The suit contends that the Comfort Women memorial in the City's public park is unconstitutional as it interfers with American foriegn policy and is causing Japanese to suffer "feelings of exclusion, discomfort, and anger." The plantiffs believe that the memorial is a "pointed expression of disapproval of Japan and the Japanese people" and diminishes their enjoyment of the park.

Nathan Hale at Yale
Lawyers and legal blogers have not only ridiculed the plantiffs' contentions, but also have heaped contempt on their law firm, Mayer Brown. Ken White of Popehat a prominent commentator on the legal profession, calls the suit “despicable” and “thoroughly contemptible,” writing that he “cannot remember a lawsuit that so immediately repulsed and enraged.” For a summary of these opinions see Above the Law. You can also vote whether you think the suit is digusting or comendable.

The City of Glendale's pro bono law firm, Sidley and Austin filed their motion to dismiss on April 11th.

By May 1, Mayer Brown decided to end their relationship with GAFHT. They returned the legal fees and found another law firm, the DeClercq Law Group, for the plantiffs.

Kissimmee, FL
What first comes to mind is whether the British are offended by the defiant statue of a bound and ready to die Nathan Hale on the Yale campus and in front the U.S. Justice Department and CIA. Or if Japanese are alarmed by the growing number of Bataan Death March memorials throughout the U.S. funded by the Filipino-American community. The larger than life statues are always the same, a brave Filipino woman is offering food to two sick, exhausted, and starving American POWs.

But more interesting, is that these anti-Comfort Women activists do not have to leave the shores of Japan to protest memorials to these sex slaves. In fact, there are at least three memorials in Japan as well as a research center and museum dedicated to the Comfort Women.

In Chiba Prefecture, there are two memorials to the Comfort Women. Both pre-date when the first Korean woman spoke out on August 14, 1991 about being forced to become a Comfort Women.

There is one in Tateyama, Chiba on the compound of a Christian Church's elderly community for former wayward women. On a hill stands a stone memorial to “Military Comfort Women” erected in 1986. In the group's Church is a small memorial honoring the only Japanese Comfort Women to identify herself as such, Suzuko Shirota.

As a point of interest, Tateyama was the headquarters for the Imperial Navy’s Air Service. 

Not too far from Tateyama is Kamogawa City, Chiba. There, facing the sea,  is a “Memorial to the Nameless Women,” erected in 1973 by two former Imperial Army soldiers who felt that these women who provided them solace should not be forgotten and deserved the
respect of being remembered.

On Okinawa’s Miyako (jima) Island there is a new stone monument to the Comfort Women unveiled in 2008 that bears inscriptions in 12 languages. The inscription in English reads, “We remember the suffering of the individual women who were subjected to sexual violence by the Japanese military, lament the victims of wartime sexual violence throughout the entire world, pray for a peaceful world without any more war.”