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Archive for the tag “Philippines”

Unfathomable, Unacceptable!

Good day readers, I have been busy and away from this blog for a while, but today I was compelled to write about something I saw, thanks to twitter. Before I get started, thanks for following my blog, even when I don’t post for a while. Now on to the topic of the day.

UNTHINKABLE

The Yomiuri Shinbun (Shinbun means newspaper in Japanese) is a right-wing newspaper that is known for its far right stance. However, the latest editorial from that fascist rag takes the cake in terms of insensitivity, historical revisionism, and blatant misogyny. In an editorial on August 2nd titled

“Refute recent moves in U.S. to distort comfort women issue”

the newspaper issued the opinion that Korean-Americans who have set up monuments to the victims of Japan’s war time sex slavery system administered by their armed forces is “distorting” the “comfort women” issue. First the paper ridiculously refers to those trying to honor the memory of those victims as “anti-Japanese” as if to be honest about history and mourn the oppressed is to hate Japan. Of course that doesn’t say much for the moral character of Japan, but leaving that alone for the moment; the newspaper is once again, like many right-wing fascists in Japan have done for decades, is trying to revise history to be one that fits their agenda, and fits with their nationalist myth making. Let’s go through some of these ridiculous claims, and see if they hold any water. Just because I’m fair like that.

They point out that the monument erected in California reads “In memory of more than 200,000 Asian and Dutch women who were removed from their homes…to be coerced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan between 1932 and 1945.” The newspaper refutes this with “The distorted and exaggerated phrases “sexual slavery” and “more than 200,000” are enough to significantly degrade the honor of Japan.”

Let’s examine those two claims. One, they are asserting that the so-called “comfort women” system was not sexual slavery. Is that true? Well, what is the definition of slavery? According to Merriam-Webster online the definition of slavery is:

slav·ery

noun \ˈslā-v(ə-)rē\

1 : drudgerytoil
2: submission to a dominating influence
3
: the state of a person who is a chattel of another
: the practice of slaveholding
Now take that definition and read this testimony of a Korean woman about her servitude:

“[…] it was not out of our own will, we were forced into it. I was beaten until I lost hearing. I was tortured. They didn’t see us as people, but as objects.” –Lee Ok-sun, comfort woman (as cited in Wabnitz, 2007)

Well, that certainly sounds like slavery to me. There is a colossal mountain of historical documentation that shows that these women were forced into sexual slavery in service to the Japanese Imperial Army.  There are journal articles upon newspaper articles upon photos and government papers and reports and on and on and on that verifies the reality of the sexual slavery of these women. Yet apparently the Yomiuri doesn’t let a little history deflect them from “upholding the honor of Japan,” Those honoring the victims of that horrible fascist government aren’t dishonoring Japan, those who built the “comfort women” system of sex slavery are the ones who dishonored Japan. That’s like claiming the witnesses of a murder are more guilty of killing because they reported it. It’s cognitive dissonance on crack.

Ok, so let’s examine the second claim, that being that 200,000 sex slaves is an exaggeration. Let’s turn again to an academic source for that.

“It was not until 1993 that the Japanese government stopped denying its involvement in the creation of comfort stations—establishments that saw the systematic rape, torture, and in some cases murder, of approximately 200 000 so-called comfort women.”
and another
“Comfort women” is the bitterly ironic euphemism for the approximately 200,000 women, mostly Korean (about 90%) that the Japanese Imperial Army tricked or abducted into military brothels, called “comfort stations” and forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Although most of the comfort women were Korean, women from Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, and the Philippines were also forced into this sexual slavery. The comfort women system was a sweeping network that existed throughout Japan and its growing empire in China, Hong Kong, Indochina, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, the East Indies, Burma, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Saipan, Guam, and the Coral Sea Island Islands (Factbox: Disputes, 2007).” ()
Sorry, seems like a pretty established fact. I could pull out hundreds of articles of evidence that shows that the sex slavery system of Imperial Japan was that extensive, but I figure these idiots would ignore the evidence, or just claim that it’s a vast “anti-Japanese” conspiracy like they always do. Un-fucking-believable.
The end the article by claiming there is no evidence for that which the rest of the goddamn world knows there is a mountain of evidence for, and claim that the famous “Kono statement” of 1993 needs to be changed, or redacted. At the same time they try to appear humanitarian by writing “It is true there were actions by the Japanese government in wartime that injured the honor and dignity of many women. If the comfort women issue were to be judged under the standards of human rights awareness that exist today, there would be no chance for Japan to politically win the issue.”
No fucking sir, nice try you weasel fascist fucking ratfink, whoever you are. They were crimes against humanity by the standard of human rights OF THAT ERA, which is why so many of your leaders were hung like the fascist fucking rats they were. You can’t on one hand say that the Japanese government committed atrocities, and on the other hand say that they weren’t that bad of atrocities and so Koreans have no right to be angry about Japan’s continued idiocy, and stubborn historical revisionism.
Dear Japan, stop trying to weasel out of the horrible history of your imperialist expansionism. Stop trying to wiggle out of the responsibility your government still holds for the deaths, tortures, and rapes of millions of people. Stop trying to prop up your bullshit national myth on the backs of the victims of your imperialist fascist aggressions. Take responsibility for your history, and establish a future where no one will ever again be afraid that that horrible history would ever repeat itself. Take a note from Germany, that has to its credit, largely owned up to the sins of the past, and has criminalized the denial of the holocaust, and Nazi symbolism. Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.
SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on Japan, and SHAME on the Yomiuri Shinbun. You are not fit to print advertisements, let alone speak about serious issues. Either stop distorting history, drop your projections, and own up to the past, or just at least do the world a favor, and shut the fuck up.
Postscript
Inb4 “you hate Japan”: I live here, and my wife and children are Japanese citizens.
 Inb4 “What about America”: I have no great love for the fascist US government, and I fully acknowledge the crimes of the US state. No red herrings or diversions allowed here.
Sources:
Durham, Helen, and Bebe Loff. “Japan’s “comfort women”.” The Lancet357.9252 (2001): 302.
Heit, Shannon. “Waging sexual warfare: Case studies of rape warfare used by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.” Women’s Studies International Forum. Vol. 32. No. 5. Pergamon, 2009.

War is in the Air

It’s no secret that things are heating up in the Asia-Pacific region. After more than a decade of focus on the Middle East, including two disastrous wars fought by the US against helpless foes in the region, the US has decided that its hegemony in the Pacific region is being threatened by an ascendant China, and changing balances of power. The USA Today newspaper reported back in June that the US is planning on shifting 60% of its warships to the Pacific by 2020. The report came as a result of remarks by Secretary of Defense Panetta on the “re-balancing” of the US military towards the Asian region. The US has announced greater presence in Australia, building new bases there just recently, in addition to restructuring of other Asian partnerships in the region. Just today however, it was announced that the US is planning on moving more and more troop activity to the Philippines, claiming that it is aimed at helping victims of natural disasters. This is widely seen as a convenient excuse for increased US pressure on the region. Tempers have been flaring over territorial disputes, such as China’s dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoals, or their dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands. Those are just two examples of many territorial disputes that are threatening to endanger the peace in Asia, and the actors that are maneuvering are not backing down in the slightest. China is a growing regional power that is increasingly rubbing shoulders with its neighbors, claiming that it has to protect its territorial integrity. Meanwhile, Japan, China’s old arch-nemesis is electing politicians who are promising to revise Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, allowing Japan to throw away the peace part of their so called “Peace Constitution”. Such moves towards militarism should be viewed with great caution and reserve, as what happens in the coming months could forever change the course of history.

Now you might be thinking that I am being a bit too alarmist. I don’t think that I am, at all. Tempers are really heating up. The newly re-empowered Liberal Democratic Party of Japan has not only set their sights on revision of the pacifist constitution, but are also have said that they will not back down or compromise on the issue of the Senkaku Islands. Japan refuses to even admit there is a dispute. Japan is also at loggerheads over the issue of the Dokdo Islands, claimed as well by Korea, and with Russia over islands the Russians seized at the end of WW2. China has a large military, and recently announced their first operational aircraft carrier, a huge leap for a growing military force. China is a force to be reckoned with, and they are not afraid to assert their new found strength. In an article in the news site “RT”, a Russian news organization, they reported on the coming growth in the US military presence in the Philippines. In case you are thinking I am overstating the threat to the region from different directions,read what RT reported at the end of the article

“Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping urged his military to prepare for a struggle, without mentioning the potential aggressor.

“Push forward preparations for a military struggle,” he told the People’s Liberation Army, which consists of 2.3 million servicemen.”

It is my hope that things calm down in the area. A blow up in Asia could, and probably would start another world war.

What do you think of the current situation in Asia? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

 

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