Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Big Lie Behind Japanese Whaling

Dr. Kirby's Book
The following New York Times (10/13/14) op ed by Oxford University researcher  Peter Wynn Kirby discusses Japan's rationale behind its insistence upon Antarctic whaling. He argues it is more about protecting their access to international waters for fishing than about a cultural proclivity. Japan has no tradition of hunting whales outside its coastal waters. Industrial pelagic whaling is a government endeavor for which the government has fabricated a history for Japan.

This "redo" of history, whether regarding the war or culture is a consistent theme among Japan's conservative nationalist politicians. There is an idealized past they believe needs to be retrieved for Japan to be a normal nation. Underlying these beliefs is a real effort to retrieve past properties and privileges lost after the war. The return of Antarctica and other maritime territories forfeited by the San Francisco Peace Treaty are the ultimate target.

TOKYO — The International Court of Justice’s decision last March to prohibit Japan’s annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters was greeted by many as an historic step against a reprehensible practice. Yet last month, despite the enormous diplomatic toll, Japan vowed to continue its whaling activities under a controversial research program of dubious scientific merit.

Japan’s determination may seem puzzling, but only if you assume its whaling activities are about science, or that its purportedly scientific whaling is a cover for commercial whaling. In fact, Japan’s pro-whaling stance isn’t really about whales at all; instead, it is about ensuring access to other fishing resources.

Japan’s so-called research whaling program is far from scientific: Thanks to unprofessional methodology and sloppy standards, its findings are widely regarded as risible. Some 3,600 whales have been slaughtered since 2005, but Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (I.C.R.), the de facto government entity that oversees the country’s whaling program, has only two peer-reviewed scholarly articles to show for it. And much robust testing doesn’t even require killing whales.

Meanwhile, the market for whale meat in Japan has slumped considerably. Whaling proponents claim the practice helps safeguard Japan’s culinary heritage against Western cultural imperialism. But survey after survey shows that outside a handful of small whaling communities, most Japanese regard whale meat with indifference, if not disgust. They eat less than 24 grams per capita annually. Thousands of tons of frozen whale steaks and whale bacon languish unwanted in expensive cold storage. As a result, the I.C.R., once largely funded by the sale of whale meat, is now claiming more taxpayer money.

These inefficiencies result from a policy that hides its true motives: If the Japanese government adamantly defends its marginal whaling rights, it is because it fears encroachment on its critical fishing activities. This concern is not only a point of cultural pride and a commercial necessity; it is also perceived as a strategic imperative. Japan catches several million tons of seafood a year and is the third-largest importer of seafood, behind the European Union and the United States. Japanese eat more fish per capita than the people of any other industrialized nation.

The problematic use of whaling to safeguard fisheries dates back to the early 1980s and discussions about an international moratorium on commercial whaling. With the negotiations stalled because Japan opposed the idea of a ban, the American government threatened to limit Japanese ships’ access to fishing stocks in United States waters unless Japan withdrew its objection. Japan complied in 1986, privileging fisheries over whaling. But the United States then curtailed Japan’s access to American fish stocks anyway. And in 1987 Japan announced it would resume whaling under the controversial pseudo-scientific program still in place today.

Since then, more hidebound Japanese bureaucrats, particularly in the Fisheries Agency, have feared that giving ground on whaling would undermine Japan’s ability to harvest other seafood. Joji Morishita, now Japan’s commissioner to the International Whaling Commission, let slip this rationale in an interview in 2000. He said he worried that conceding too much would “set a precedent” and that “once the principle of treating wildlife as a sustainable resource is compromised, our right to exploit other fish and animal products would be infringed upon.”

The Japanese government has been hostile to the creation of sanctuaries for threatened species as well as to any restrictions on indiscriminate catching methods, like the drift nets used in the 1990s or the huge, sinuous long lines in use today. Even with the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, a clear case of overexploitation, Japanese negotiators have pushed hard to ensure that oversight is conducted by smaller regional bodies, like the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, rather than high-profile international bodies created by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species. In January 2008, the business magazine Shukan Toyo Keizai quoted a government source as stating, “If we give an inch on the whaling issue, we will also have to back down on tuna.”

Perhaps sensing that this domino theory might not convince non-Japanese, the whaling lobby also makes another, spurious, case: that whales, rather than humans, are responsible for declining global fisheries. The Institute of Cetacean Research claims that whales are “top predators” and “consume a colossal amount of fish.” Never mind overfishing or pollution. And never mind that many whales don’t eat the seafood prized by fishing fleets, or that many areas with recovering whale populations also boast abundant fish stocks. According to the I.C.R.’s twisted logic, to protect fish you must cull whales.

Such fallacies are reinforced by the patronage system that prevails in Japan. Being curmudgeonly on whaling plays well in conservative circles. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s return to power in December 2012 was a virtual palace coup for whaling proponents. When critical decisions on Japan’s research program were being made earlier this year, no fewer than 12 members of the cabinet — including the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the chief cabinet secretary and the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries — were or had been members of the conservative Parliamentary League for the Promotion of Whaling. In his book “Whaling in Japan,” Jun Morikawa details how the corrupt official system that bolsters Japan’s whaling lobby virtually guarantees loyal officials a cushy salary and fringe benefits for their entire careers.

Solving this problem and the broader issue of Japanese whaling starts with the recognition that Japan’s insistence on whaling is far less about whales than about fish. Drawing on realpolitik, the governments that are concerned about whaling would do well to help Japan secure access to sustainable fisheries. Because, as it happens, the best way to protect the whales is to protect the fish.

Monday in Washington, October 20, 2014

DOES DEMOCRACY MATTER? 10/20, 8:30am-2:30pm. Sponsor: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers include: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Thomas Melia and Larry Diamond, director of Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

THE DREAM MACHINE: THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE NOTORIOUS V-22 OSPREY" AND "PREDATOR: THE SECRET ORIGINS OF THE DRONE REVOLUTION. 10/20, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: George Washington University (GWU) Law School. Speaker: Author Richard Whittle.

PREVENTING PROLIFERATION AND ADVANCING NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT. 10/20, 9:30am-2:30pm. Sponsor: Arms Control Association. Keynote Speaker: Lord Des Browne, former U.K. Secretary of State for Defense and Vice-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1994 US-DPRK AGREED FRAMEWORK. 10/20, 10:00am-4:00pm. Sponsor: US-Korea Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speakers: Stephen Bosworth, Chairman, US-Korea Institute at SAIS, former KEDO Executive Director, US Ambassador to Republic of Korea; Robert Gallucci, former Ambassador At-Large and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs; Sung-Joo Han, Chairman, International Policy Studies Institute of Korea (IPSIKOR), former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; James Laney, former US Ambassador to Republic of Korea; Yukio Takeuchi, former Justice, Supreme Court of Japan, former Vice Foreign Minister, Japan; Thomas Hubbard, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Dan Poneman, former Senior Director for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls, National Security Council and Deputy Secretary of Energy; Gary Samore, Executive Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction; and General Gary E. Luck, former Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command (Korea)/Combined Forces Command/US Forces Korea.

INDIA: MANAGING ELECTIONS IN THE WORLD’S MOST POPULOUS DEMOCRACY. 10/20, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsors: South Asia Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Office of the Dean, SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Navin Chawla, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

HYDROCARBONS, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE CASPIAN BASIN AND BEYOND. 10/20, 1:00-2:00pm. Sponsor: Elliott School, George Washington, University. Speakers: Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos, professor in the French Institute of Geopolitics at the University of Paris; Sergei Gretsky, chair of Central Asia area studies in the Foreign Service Institute at the State Department; Peter Rutland, professor of government at Wesleyan University; Oksan Bayulgen, associate professor of political science and international relations at the University of Connecticut; Kate Watters, co-founder and executive director of Crude Accountability; and Sebastien Peyrouse, senior research fellow in the East West Center at GWU.

PRESIDENT PARK’S UNIFICATION BONANZA & U.S.-ROK RELATIONS. 10/20, 1:30-4:30pm. Sponsors: Korean-American Club; Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI). Speakers: Donald Manzullo, President & CEO, Korea Economic Institute of America; Dennis Hastert, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Ahn Ho-young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States; Chang-geuk Moon, Editor-in-Chief, The Joong-ang Ilbo Daily; Michael Schiffer, Senior Advisor and Counselor, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Mark Tokola, Vice President, Korea Economic Institute of America; Richard Lugar, President of the Lugar Center, Former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Sang-Seok Lee, Vice Chairman, The Hankook Ilbo Daily & Korea Times; Seung-ryun Kim, Anchorman, Dong-A Ilbo-TV; and Do-woon Lee, Secretary of Hanmi Club, Assistant Managing Editor, Seoul Shinmun Daily; Moderators: Troy Stangarone, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs & Trade, Korea Economic Institute of America; and David Pong, Chairman, Korean-American Club.

WARFARE BENEATH THE WAVES: THE UNDERSEA DOMAIN IN ASIA. 10/20, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: Dean Cheng, Heritage Foundation; Thomas Mahnken, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies; Evan Montgomery, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; and Iskander Rehman, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Moderator: Michael Mazza, AEI. 

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS: BEYOND THE CRISIS IN UKRAINE. 10/20, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Victoria Panova, director general of the Fund MGIMO-UT/Global Reform Fund; and Brookings Fellows Jeremy Shapiro, Steven Pifer and Michael O'Hanlon.

RUSSIA'S ENERGY RELATIONS WITH THE WEST: THE ENERGY CHARTER PERSPECTIVE. 10/ 20. 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Urban Rusnak, secretary-general of the Energy Charter Secretariat; Marat Terterov, executive director of the Brussels Energy Club; and David Koranyi, deputy director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. 

THE NEW KINGS OF CRUDE: CHINA, OIL, AND CIVIL WAR IN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN. 10/20 at 5:00-7:00 pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Author Luke Patey, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

U.S. LEADERSHIP, STRATEGY AND PREVENTING/CONTAINING FUTURE CONFLICTS. 10/20, 6:00-8:00pm, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: Rethinking Seminar Series, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Speaker: Dr. Bruce Jones, Brookings Senior Fellow, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chinese Comfort Women

Click to order book
Among the thousands of girls, women, and boys swept up in Imperial Japan's Comfort Women system were Chinese. Some were part of expropriated brothels, some trafficked by brokers who paid their parent's debts, but most were victims of victory.

This subject will be explored in Washington, DC, October 21-22 through a series of presentations by Dr. Peipei Qiu, Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Professor of Chinese and Japanese and Director of Asian Studies Program at Vassar College who is a co-author of Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Untold Stories of Chinese Comfort Women

Noon - 2:00 pm

Presentation by Professor Qiu followed by a discussion on evidence supporting the history of Japan's military Comfort Women with Dennis Halpin, former Senior Asia Staffer (Republican) for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Mindy Kotler, Asia Policy Point, and moderated by Jenny Town, Assistant Director, US-Korea Institute at SAIS.

SAIS, Johns Hopkins
Rome Auditorium
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Co-sponsored by US-Korea Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins and Asia Policy Point

Roundtable discussion with George Washington University professors

Sigur Center, Elliott School
George Washington University
Chung-wen Shih Conference Room - Suite 503
1957 E Street, NW
Co-sponsored by GW's Memory & Reconciliation in Asia Pacific program and Asia Policy Point


Los Angles Review of Books (October 2, 2014)

Voice of America (August 13, 2014)

The Wall Street Journal, China Real Time (June 24, 2014)
Vice Canada (April 18, 2014)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Prime Minister of Japan’s Schedule September 1-7, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
07:40 Depart from private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo
07:55 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
07:56 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters on foot. Disaster prevention drills assembly
08:07 Arrive at office
08:25 Disaster prevention drills’ first meeting of Emergency Disaster Response Headquarters, video conference call with Governor of Tokyo Prefecture Masuzoe Yoichi, and Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting
08:51 Meeting ends
09:00 Press conference on disaster prevention drills
09:04 Press conference ends
09:26 Depart from office
10:24 Arrive at US Army Sagami General Depot in Chuo Ward, Sagamihara City. Reception by Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture Kuroiwa Yuji and colleagues
10:30 Watch joint disaster prevention drills of nine municipalities (Kanto region). Sample emergency rice rations and personally experience emergency first aid automated external defibrillator. Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Shindo Yoshitaka, Minister of Defense Onodera Itsunori, Minister of State for Disaster Management Furuya Keiji, Mayor of Kanagawa Prefecture’s Sagamihara City Kayama Toshio, and colleagues accompany
10:52 Finish watching disaster prevention drills
11:16 Watch rescue drills practicing priority of treatment of injured persons and establishing triage
11:49 Finish watching rescue drills
11:56 Attend triage rescue drills closing ceremony, de

12:12 Leave closing ceremony
12:17 Interview open to all media: When asked “What will your policies be regarding large-scale disasters in the future” Mr. Abe answers “My thinking is that we should promptly promote establishment of emergency report mailing to inhabitants of disaster-torn areas, notifying and advising them about temporary housing.”
12:22 Interview ends
12:23 Depart from US Army Sagami General Depot
01:28 Arrive at office
02:24 Speak with Governor of Fukushima Prefecture Sato Yuhei, Mayor of Okuma Town Watanabe Toshitsuna, and Mayor of Futaba Town Izawa Shiro. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, Minister of the Environment Ishihara Nobuteru, and Minister for Reconstruction Nemoto Takumi also attend
02:32 Finish speaking with Mr. Sato, Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Izawa
02:39 Depart from office
02:46 Arrive at Akasaka Palace (State Guest House) in Moto-Akasaka, Tokyo. Reception party for Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi
03:09 Depart from Akasaka Palace
03:14 Arrive at Omotesenke Tokyo Practice Rooms in Niban-cho, Tokyo. Informal talk with Mr. Modi in tea room
03:40 Depart from Omotesenke Tokyo Practice Rooms
03:43 Arrive at Akasaka Palace
06:04 Summit Conference with Prime Minister Modi
07:08 Summit Conference ends
07:12 Receive courtesy call from Indian business people
07:17 Courtesy call ends
07:25 Signing ceremony and joint press release
08:05 Ceremony and press release end
08:08 Dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo commences
09:27 Dinner meeting ends
09:29 See off Mr. Modi
09:43 Depart from Akasaka Palace
09:51 Arrive at official residence

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


12:00 At official residence (no visitors)
08:00 At official residence (no morning visitors)
09:26 Depart from official residence
09:28 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
09:32 LDP Officers Meeting
09:36 Meeting ends
09:37 Speak with LDP Secretary-General Ishiba Shigeru
09:42 Finish speaking with Mr. Ishiba
09:43 Speak with LDP Vice-Presidence Komura Masahiko
09:48 Finish speaking with Mr. Komura
09:49 Speak with LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Hosoda Hiroyuki
09:54 Finish speaking with Mr. Hosoda
09:57 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
09:59 Arrive at office
10:03 Cabinet Meeting begins
10:12 Cabinet Meeting ends
10:13 Meet with Minister of State for Disaster Management Furuya Keiji
10:33 End meeting with Mr. Furuya
11:19 Meet with President of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker
11:49 End meeting with Mr. Zucker

01:29 Depart from office
01:30 Arrive at Lower House 1st Diet Members’ Meeting Hall
01:31 Dental examination at dentist’s office inside hall
01:59 Dental examination ends
02:15 Speak with local supporters in Abe Shinzo’s office within hall
02:20 Finish speaking with local supporters
02:21 Depart from Lower House 1st Diet Members’ Meeting Hall
02:22 Arrive at office
02:56 Meet with Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)’s Vice-Minister Saiki Akitaka, Administrative Vice-Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke, Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau Hiramatsu Kenji, and Director-General of Intelligence and Analysis Service Oka Hiroshi
03:38 End meeting with Mr. Saiki, Mr. Sugiyama, Mr. Hiramatsu and Mr. Oka
03:39 Speak with former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shionoya Ryu
03:50 Finish speaking with Mr. Shionoya
05:05 Director of Cabinet Intelligence Kitamura Shigeru, Director of National Security Council (NSC) Yachi Shotaro, and Deputy Director-General of Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) Kojima Yoshiharu enter
05:16 Mr. Yachi and Mr. Kojima leave
05:35 Mr. Kitamura leaves
06:49 Depart from office
07:03 Arrive at private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


12:00 At private residence (no visitors)
08:00 At private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo (no morning visitors)
09:02 Depart from private residence
09:16 Arrive at LDP Party Headquarters
09:20 Call in Tanigaki Sadakazu and other incoming LDP party officials
10:05 Extraordinary LDP General Council meeting
10:18 Meeting ends
10:19 Commemorative photo session
10:20 Photo session ends
10:21 Speak with incoming Chairman of LDP Public Relations Headquarters Hase Hiroshi
10:22 Finish speaking with Mr. Hase
10:33 LDP Officers Meeting convenes
10:45 LDP Officers Meeting closes
10:50 Attend LDP Yamaguchi Chapter Women’s Affairs Division national training course, deliver address
10:55 Leave training course
10:56 Depart from LDP Party Headquarters
10:59 Arrive at office

12:01 Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting convenes
12:14 Extraordinary Session Cabinet Meeting closes
01:30 Ruling Parties Leaders’ Conference convenes with Chief Representative of New Komeito Yamaguchi Natsuo
01:40 Ruling Parties Leaders’ Conference closes
01:53 Call in incoming Cabinet Ministers
02:32 Incoming Cabinet Ministers leave
03:46 Depart from office
03:52 Arrive at Imperial Palace. Secret report to Emperor, and attestation ceremony for Ministers of State
05:44 Depart from Imperial Palace
05:52 Arrive at office
05:53 Trial use of teleprompter in Briefing Room
06:04 Finish using teleprompter
06:30 Press conference
06:56 Press conference ends
06:58 Deliver notice of appointment or personnel change to each Cabinet Minister
07:14 Finish delivering notices
07:19 First Cabinet Meeting convenes
07:47 First Cabinet Meeting closes
07:50 Commemorative photo session with Cabinet Ministers
07:52 Photo session ends
08:08 Depart from office
08:10 Arrive at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Nagata-cho, Tokyo. Dinner with secretaries at restaurant ORIGAMI inside hotel
09:19 Depart from hotel
09:36 Arrive at private residence

Sunday, October 12, 2014

This Week in Washington, October 13-18, 2014

Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday
In New York the UN General Assembly Third Committee will begin discussions on the advancement of women. South Korea is expected to raise the Comfort Women issue

KYRGYZSTAN: IS IT A SOVEREIGN STATE? WILL IT BE? 10/13, 5:30-7:00pm. Sponsor: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Johan Engvall, research fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program.

MARITIME SECURITY DIALOGUE LAUNCH. 10/14, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS International Security Program and U.S. Naval Institute. Speaker: Admiral Jonathan Greenert, USN Chief of Naval Operations; Moderated by: Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), Chair of the Board of Directors, U.S. Naval Institute and Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

RELIGION, THE MISSING DIMENSION OF STATECRAFT: A TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY REFLECTION. 10/15, 5:15-6:45pm, Reception, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Berkley Center, Georgetown University. Speaker: Dr. Douglas Johnston, President, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Co-editor, Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft; Moderator: Eric Patterson, Research Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs.

COMMON INTERESTS, SHARED VALUES: PERSPECTIVES ON THE US-JAPAN RELATIONSHIP. 10/16, 5:00-7:00pm. Sponsor: Congressional Study Group on Japan. Speakers: Admiral Dennis Blair (ret.), Chairman, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA; Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, CSGJ Honorary Co-Chair; Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, CSGJ Honorary Co-Chair; and H.E. Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador of Japan to the United States.

ALLIANCE 21: THE AUSTRALIA-UNITED STATES PARTNERSHIP. 10/17, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: East-West Center in Washington. Speaker: Dr. Bates Gill, Chief Executive Officer, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney.

US-JAPAN-AUSTRALIA COOPERATION: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES. 10/17, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: East Asia Program, Stimson Center. Speakers: Ken Jimbo, Ph.D, Associate Professor at Keio University, Senior Research Fellow at Canon Institute of Global Studies and Tokyo Foundation; James L. Schoff, Senior Associate, Asia Program, Carnegie; and David Envall, Research Fellow, Department of International Relations at The Australian National University; Moderator: Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate, East Asia program, Stimson Center. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Scholars adamant that Yoshida memoirs had no influence in US

Joint Response to Mainichi article on Congress and the Comfort Women Resolution
September 25, 2014 issued in The Nelson Report

On September 11th, the centrist Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun published an article that connected international condemnation of Japan’s Comfort Women system to a discredited memoir. The Mainichi article provides extensive information on the dismissal of accounts by former Imperial Army soldier Seiji YOSHIDA that he abducted Korean women to become prostitutes for the Japanese military.  However, the article also implies strongly that Yoshida's original claim was an important source of Western misunderstanding of the Comfort Women system.

Furthermore, the article suggests that the Asahi Shimbun’s reporting of the Yoshida story disseminated this misinformation on Comfort Women to the West. By doing so, the article gives support to the view that the Asahi articles were a major rationale behind the 2007 Comfort Women resolution, H. Res. 121 and Western belief that the Comfort Women system was forced prostitution or worse. SEE 

This implied conclusion contradicts what Mainichi reporters were told by those involved in the process that culminated in the passage of the 2007 Comfort Women resolution.

Reporters spoke to Dennis Halpin who in 2006 was the senior policy Asia staffer to Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL), Chairman of House International Relations Committee (HIRC). In 2006, Congressman Hyde shepherded through the Committee H. Res. 759, which was the precursor of the 2007 Comfort Women Resolution, H. Res. 121. The 2006 resolution was approved by the Committee via unanimous consent on September 13, 2006,  Mr. Halpin held a similar staff position in 2007 to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who was the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (name changed from HIRC in 2007). The Committee passed its Comfort Women resolution, H. Res. 121, on June 26, 2007 and the Resolution passed the House of Representative by unanimous consent on July 30, 2007.

Reporters also spoke to Mindy Kotler of Asia Policy Point who worked with Congressional staff to help them draft and defend both the 2006 and 2007 Comfort Women resolutions; George Washington University Professor Mike Mochizuki who was part of a team of American, Australian and Japanese scholars who advised members of congress on issues regarding Comfort Women and Japanese politics; and Larry Niksch who as a senior Congressional Research Service (CRS) staffer prepared memos for members of congress in 2006 (April 10) and 2007 (April 3) regarding the Comfort Women issue.

Hours of interviews by Mainichi journalists resulted in one sentence: “A document explaining the comfort women system to congressmen, which was attached to the draft resolution, also mentions Yoshida's book.” After corrections from several of us, the Mainichi revised the English to read: “At one point a memorandum issued explaining the comfort women system to Congress members also mentioned Yoshida's book.” There does not appear any notation on the current article that there was a revision. Either way, this sentence suggests that the 2006 memorandum written by Dr. Niksch was influenced by the Yoshida memoir and Asahi reporting and, by implication, proving that these reports shaped the thinking of members of the U.S. Congress.  In fact, the original Mainichi article in Japanese misleadingly makes an even more direct link between the 2006 CRS memorandum and the House resolution on comfort women. [この決議案の議員説明用の資料にも途中段階で吉田氏の著書が出てくる。A literal translation of the Mainichi reference would be something like this: “Even in an explanatory document for members of Congress regarding this resolution, [a reference to] Yoshida’s book appears in the middle [of this document].”]

All of us were astonished.

We had unequivocally told the reporters that the Yoshida memoir and Asahi’s reporting of it were not factors in the consideration, drafting, or defense of the H. Res 121 or H. Res 759 (2006).  Mindy Kotler informed the Mainichi reporter that she and the academic advising team made a concerted effort not to reference or even review publications that were controversial to Japanese historical revisionists, such as the George Hicks’ 1994 book The Comfort Women and the 1996 UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences [the Coomaraswamy Report].

We emphasized that one discredited source would not form the basis of research for Congress. There was ample documentary and testimonial evidence from across the Indo-Pacific region to support the fact that Imperial Japan organized and managed a system of sexual slavery for its military as well as for its colonial officials, businessmen and overseas workers. Furthermore, outside of the formal government-sponsored trafficking of women, it was well-documented that Imperial Japan’s armed forces used rape and sexual slavery to intimidate and subjugate local populations.

The Mainichi reporters focused on a 2006 memorandum that Dr. Niksch wrote in response to questions from some members of congress where he did note the Yoshida account. No specific member of congress requested this memo.  The Asian Women’s Fund’s website has a link to a version of this 2006 memo (It is without the official CRS logo in the upper left corner). The website does not, however, have a link to Dr. Niksch’s 2007 Memorandum on the Comfort Women where he drops any reference to Yoshida’s discredited memoir and lists other facts and numerous documents supporting the existence of a government-sponsored Comfort Women system. Dr. Niksch did give a Mainichi reporter a copy of the 2007 memorandum (which can also be found on the Internet). 

We are thus disappointed by Mainichi's limited reporting. The newspaper needs to examine and report all the facts and evidence, which will refute the view of the Japanese history revisionists and the Abe Administration* that the Yoshida memoir, as reported by the Asahi Shimbun, colored all understanding of the comfort women tragedy.

This is simply not true.

We are further troubled that the Abe Administration appears to adhere to this view. The Prime Minister and his Chief Cabinet spokesmen have started calling on the Asahi to correct the record. Most recently, in September 17th press conference, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu KATO said that the Asahi Shimbun needed to makes efforts to correct the false impression caused by its reporting on so-called comfort women that were carried in the paper. “We hope” he said “The Asahi Shimbun will make efforts to dispel the impact of the reports based on erroneous information.”

We are also concerned that the focus of reporting is on Korea as the source for Comfort Women. Koreans and Taiwanese may have been the source of the greatest number of formally trafficked women. However, it is likely that the greater majority of those forced into sexual slavery were girls and boys across the Indo-Pacific region—including Europeans some of who have testified publicly—who were acquired through opportunity.

We hope that the Mainichi Shimbun will do a follow-up article better reflecting our interviews and the extensive research and documentation presented by Dr. Niksch in his 2007 CRS memorandum.

Mr. Dennis Halpin
Ms. Mindy Kotler
Dr. Mike Mochizuki
Dr. Larry Niksch

*Whereas there are many statements by Abe and his cabinet members prior to December 12, 2012 condemning the Yoshida testimony, the newer, more official statements began to appear this month, September. SEE these examples:

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the issue of the recognition of history. Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy of Sri Lanka, former Special Rapporteur on violence against women, who prepared the 1996 United Nations (UN) report in which she identified the former Japanese military’s use of “comfort women” as sexual slavery and advised the Government of Japan to apologize and pay compensation, sat down for an interview with us. In the interview, Ms. Coomaraswamy expressed that there was no need to revise the report. Can you please comment on behalf of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to the Report of the Special Rapporteur, it is regrettable that the report did not take into account Japan’s basic position concerning this issue, as well as the efforts Japan has made to date. In our opinion, there is no mistake that parts of this report were influenced by the content of the articles which Asahi Shimbun recently retracted. Japan has not confirmed any objective sources proving “forceful recruitment.” Furthermore, at the recent meeting of the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Japan noted that the reference to “sexual slavery” was inappropriate. Japan will continue to carefully explain its position to the international community, including to the UN.

However, it is the afternoon that is not translated that is more explicit and notes that no women, even in Indonesia, were forcibly recruited. SEE Memo on press conference.

Also see:

Abe: Incorrect reports tarnished Japan’s honor overseas, Yomiuri 9/12/14, This article is an English-language summary of reports of Prime Minister Abe's remarks.

On the September 14th Abe told the NHK, “The Asahi reported on Mr. Seiji Yoshida’s evidence as if it were true…Then the Asahi articles were carried around the world, including of course to South Korea, as if they were true.” JiJi press reporting of Abe Sept 14th comments regarding Asahi and Yoshida article. 

More direct transcript of NHK interview: “It is true that as a result of Asahi’s reports, Japanese soldiers have been viewed as kidnappers who kidnapped [Korean] children to use as comfort women. It is also true that monuments condemning Japan [over the matter] have been built around the world. Asahi must explain patiently to the world that its reports were erroneous…. It is not easy to change fixed narratives once they have become prevalent and caused diplomatic problems.”
[See: 5'25" to 7'22", "Sunday Debate." 日曜討論]

Friday, October 3, 2014

Monday in Washington, October 6, 2014

BANGLADESH: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES. 10/6, 9:00am-4:30pm. Sponsor: American Security Project. Speakers: Major General A.N.M. Muniruzzaman (Retd), President and Founder of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and Chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC); Dr. Manjur (Piash) Karim, professor of economics and social science at BRAC University in Bangladesh. Shafqat Munir, Associate Research Fellow at BIPSS; Dr. Thomas F. Lynch III, Distinguished Research Fellow for South Asia and the Near East in the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) at the Institute of National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University (NDU);  BGen Stephen Cheney USMC (Ret), Chief Executive Officer of the American Security Project (ASP); Dante Disparte, U.S. Managing Director for Clements Worldwide.

REBUILDING AMERICAN DEFENSE. 10/6, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana; Danielle Pletka, AEI.

VISA WAIVER PROGRAM AND THE SAFETY OF AMERICA. 10/6, Noon-1:00. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: Polish Ambassador to the United States Ryszard Schnepf; former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, executive chairman of the Chertoff Group; former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Policy; Stewart Baker, partner at Steptoe and Johnson LLP; Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics; David Inserra, research associate for Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at Heritage; Steven Bucci, director of the Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at Heritage.

INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS AT A CROSSROADS. 10/6, Noon-1:15pm. Sponsor: The University of Maryland (UMD) School of Public Policy. Speaker: State Department Special Envoy on Climate Change Andrew Light.

THE GOVERNANCE AGENDA AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT. 10/6, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Speaker: Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, Author, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy; Moderator: Marc F. Plattner, Co-editor, Journal of Democracy, Vice President for Research and Studies, National Endowment for Democracy.

RUSSIA AND US: IS A REAL PARTNERSHIP STILL POSSIBLE? 10/6, 1:30-3:00pm, Sponsor: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov; Jill Dougherty, public policy scholar, WWC.

THE FUTURE OF UNITED STATES EXTENDED DETERRENCE IN EAST ASIA. 10/6, 2:30-3:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: The Hon. Richard L. Armitage, President, Armitage International; and The Hon. Kurt Campbell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Asia Group; Moderator: Barry Pavel, Vice President and Director, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council.

10/6, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS. Speaker: author, Dr. Jessica Chen Weiss, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University.

WARRIORS INTO PEACEMAKERS: THE INFLUENCE OF HIROSHIMA ON THREE AMERICAN LEADERS. 10/6, 6:30-8:00PM, reception. Sponsor: Pepperdine University. Speaker: Dr. Dann Caldwell, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University. Location: 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building.