Stupid and nonsensical: Japanese right rages at ‘comfort women’ honour

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 11:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 1:24pm

Nationalists in Japan have condemned the announcement that another memorial to Asia's "comfort women" is to be set up in the United States, insisting that the campaign to honour the women is historical nonsense.

The City Council of Fullerton, in Orange county, California, passed a bill on Wednesday to place a statue of a young woman in front of the city museum.

The statue is intended to represent the tens of thousands of Asian women forced into sexual slavery for the forces of imperial Japan in the early decades of the last century.

The council was addressed by members of the local Korean and Japanese communities before the vote was taken.

Ten similar memorials have been placed in public places across the US since the first was erected in Palisades Park, New Jersey, in 2010.

However, the council's decision has been fiercely criticised by Japan's conservatives.

"This is complete and absolute nonsense," Hiromichi Moteki, secretary general of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, said.

"This is all based in false information," he insisted. "There was no coercion to make them become comfort women and they were simply prostitutes who were hired for the troops.

"There were many brothels across Asia already and it was perfectly legal," he said.

"The main aim of these women was to earn large amounts of money, which they did because they earned as much as 50 times the amount of a regular soldier.

"The people who are putting these memorials up in America should put that on the statues," he said.

"It's completely stupid and in the future they will all come to understand the truth," he added.

The announcement of the new statue to sex slaves in California coincided with renewed calls for the Japanese government to issue a new statement in place of the so-called Kono Statement, issued in 1993 by then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono as an apology to the former "comfort women".

The statement acknowledged that the Japanese army had been involved in establishing brothels.

Sanae Takaichi, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), on Wednesday called on the government to withdraw the 1993 statement.

She said it was drawn up based on articles printed in the Asahi Shimbun that the editorial board of the newspaper has recently admitted were false.

The right wing has jumped on the Asahi's admission and is using it to call for a radical rethink of the government's position on the issue.

In an editorial on Wednesday, the conservative Yomuiri Shimbun said: "There has been a misunderstanding, spread widely throughout the international community, that a large number of women were forcibly taken away by the Imperial Japanese Army to serve as 'sex slaves'.

"The Kono Statement is a factor in that misunderstanding.

"As the LDP has advocated, the government should transmit to the world the information concerning comfort women based on historical facts."