New NHK head's 'comfort women' remark stirs controversy

TOKYO —

The newly appointed head of Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has stirred controversy by saying the system of forcibly drafting women into military brothels during World War II was “common in any country at war.”

Katsuto Momii’s comment on Saturday revived a controversy when popular Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto prompted global outrage last year by suggesting that the so-called “comfort women” served a “necessary” role by keeping battle-stressed soldiers in check.

Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forced into brothels catering to the Japanese military in territories occupied by Japan during WWII, according to many mainstream historians.

The military brothel system was “common in any country at war”, Momii told his first news conference as NHK chairman on Saturday.

“Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe,” he said, according to reports.

Noting that this was his personal view, Momii said the comfort women issue has been “complicated because South Korea says Japan was the only country that forcibly recruited (women)”.

The politically charged issue of comfort women has stoked regional tensions, with South Korea and China insisting that Japan must face up to its World War II-era sexual enslavement of women from across occupied Asia.

In a landmark 1993 statement, then chief Japanese government spokesman Yohei Kono apologized to former comfort women and acknowledged Japan’s role in causing their suffering.

But in remarks in 2007 that triggered a region-wide uproar, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also served as premier then, said there was no evidence that Japan directly forced women to work as sex slaves.

Momii, 70, who previously served as a vice chairman of trading house Mitsui, is rumored to have been Abe’s preferred choice as NHK chairman, Kyodo news agency said.

(c) 2014 AFP

  • 79

    LordPounce

    Sounds like he missed out on a perfectly good opportunity to keep his mouth shut

  • 7

    movieguy

    This is why I trust hardly anyone over 60.

  • 21

    hokkaidoguy

    There's a world of difference between the Japanese Comfort Women and the independent camp followers that western soldiers availed themselves of during WW2.

    Japan was engaged in forced slavery. Our troops were simply supporting local small business.

  • 23

    marcelito

    Another dinosaur in a leadership position making remarks that are guaranteed to touch a raw nerve of so many people. Where do they keep finding these drones...typical LDP amakudari appointment showing his colours.

  • -18

    nigelboy

    There's a world of difference between the Japanese Comfort Women and the independent camp followers that western soldiers availed themselves of during WW2.

    Japan was engaged in forced slavery. Our troops were simply supporting local small business

    The recruitment as well as operation were conducted by private individual as thousands and thousands of archived documents in the AWF website indicates, most notably the U.S. Report of 1944.

  • -29

    homleand

    He's at least partially right, and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

  • 5

    Mariam Tebourbi

    Now let's wait for China's reaction sigh

  • 21

    BurakuminDes

    Shame on this grub, and anyone who attempts to justify the appalling treatment of the "comfort" children and women of many nationalities. And the government continues to wonder why a significant amount of people refuse to pay NHK "fees".

  • 20

    Kakurenbo

    Noting that this was his personal view, Momii said the comfort women issue has been “complicated because South Korea says Japan was the only country that forcibly recruited (women)”.

    "forcibly recruited" = a sickeningly, sociopathic, politically correct term for "ENSLAVED".

  • 16

    Olrik

    This remark doesn't surprise me as NHK was Japan's propaganda mouthpiece during World War Two...

  • 31

    WilliB

    ....and another ultranationalist idiot sticks his foot in his mouth. Do these people realize how much international good-will for Japan they are destroying?

  • 13

    Tamarama

    And the hit just keep on rolling from these clowns.

    Shhhhh....please!

  • -6

    Keth Kinsey

    Well done Japan

  • 22

    SwissToni

    Of course brothels were widely used across Europe. It's the recruitment policy that varied and the numbers that were kidnapped or otherwise coerced were far far fewer. It's nothing to be proud of and certainly shouldn't be brushed off to casually.

  • 10

    Graham DeShazo

    There is quite simply no way to justify this behavior. All public figures should realize that nothing they can say will be helpful and thus they shouldn't say anything. I hope he gets the ax, as nobody in a position of public broadcasting should be saying something so overtly incorrect.

  • -23

    virgo98

    If Koreans or Americans criticise his words, they should explain about Yan Kon Shu during the Korean War in detail. ROK and the US are responsible for this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jlfAqR8uBc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitutes_in_South_Korea_for_the_U.S._military

    Their days were so oppressive compared to that of comfort women for Japanese Army during WWII. http://texas-daddy.com/comfortwomen.htm

    Also, this is a contribution by recently deceased Hiro-o Onoda about comfort women.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09xD8mgXNn4

    The original contributed article:

    http://hassin.org/01/wp-content/uploads/The-Real-Identity.pdf

  • -25

    wildwest

    The unfoutuante truth hurts.

  • 2

    Cricky

    From what I've read, individual companies were asked and paid to supply women for services supplied to the imperial army. Apparently that arms length set up exonerates the government. To have a high power public official in 2014 make such a remark as this (belonging in 1324) is as humorous as vile. Apparently rapping women to death was what they signed on for and is covered by clause C in their contracts with a company that was contracted by a company that might have a contract with the Imperial government of the time. Honesty and any inkling of the Samurai spirit died with these contracts.

  • 2

    puregaijin

    ........ will probably issue n apology or explanation in a bit. The truth is that for guys like this, the only sense of machismo remains back in the days he goes back to. So whereas he clearly can't say 'look we did this and we're so macho', he goes .... 'it wasn't the best thing to do, but we still did it'. And that is all that's left in your head after a few days. There you go ....... macho!! And there'll be one nutcase after another every other week or month making sure you don't forget this. So there's really no need to debate these issues, because the real intention behind sending out these messages is self gratification and that for a selected bunch of pseudo-machos living in a world that forces them more and more to be civilized, a price too dear to pay.

  • 17

    Strangerland

    If Koreans or Americans criticise his words, they should explain about Yan Kon Shu during the Korean War in detail. ROK and the US are responsible for this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jlfAqR8uBc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProstitutesinSouthKoreafortheU.S._military Their days were so oppressive compared to that of comfort women for Japanese Army during WWII. http://texas-daddy.com/comfortwomen.htm Also, this is a contribution by recently deceased Hiro-o Onoda about comfort women. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09xD8mgXNn4 The original contributed article: http://hassin.org/01/wp-content/uploads/The-Real-Identity.pdf

    How does any of that excuse Japan's usage of comfort women?

  • -14

    kwatt

    It seems that Japanese imperial army just used Korean prostitution that was legal at that time and well paid. S Korean prostitution is comprehensively banned in 2004.

  • -4

    Promote_truth

    We had lots of the same kind of girls in Austria when the Americans, British, French and Russians arrived. They simply tried to take advantage in a general situation of supply shortage, I guess it was the same in Germany and elsewhere.

  • 3

    gaijinfo

    This whole "comfort women" is a welcome smoke screen to Japan. It allows them to forget the hundreds of thousands of murdered civilians during that "conflict" that just fell out of the sky on poor Japan.

  • 1

    White_Shinobi

    Ahh... NOW I understand!!!

    In 1993, Yohei Kono apologized.... And things were good until 07 when Abe denied proof of that... Just as everyone was cool about the islands (Japan's private ownership) until Japan stirred and claimed them officially and nationally....

    This all makes a little more sense....

    Thank you jt

  • 2

    Jimizo

    I'll bet he was Abe's 'preferred' choice. This ridiculous man fits the bill. I've heard people compare NHK to a lapdog but in my experience lapdogs tend to have more tenacity and independence than this example of what a public broadcaster should not be. I can't get NHK after the switch to digital, told them this and they've left me alone. I spend the fee I used to pay subscribing to more respectable and credible news channels. I think I made a good choice and would advise others to do the same.

  • -10

    Elbuda Mexicano

    My guess this makes the Mongolians look pretty bad?? My Chinese friend said that the Mongols not only raped the Chinese gals, but them killed them and ATE them!! So NHK should try this to make the the Japanese Imperial Army look a bit better in a historical context????

  • 2

    hampton

    He was appointed by whom exactly?

  • 4

    Osaka_Doug

    Unbelievable! More proof that Japan cannot join the modern world until the Taisho (and early Showa) generation moves along.

  • 1

    slumdog

    New NHK head's 'comfort women' remark stirs controversy

    That's not all he's managed to stir.

  • 4

    TakahiroDomingo

    the new (or maybe old) japanese political sport is to do everything in their power to continuously infuriate all the countries that it once trampled cruelly during its militaristic past. is this a modern day substitute for their past cruelty? this is obviously the J-goc's position. why the continuous taunting? it would be great for the future of japan to at least stop taunting. just shutting up about this would be a great start.

  • 1

    JeffLee

    @virgo98

    Your attempt to defend Momii's remarks is funny because you backfired real bad. The wiki article states:

    According to United States Forces Korea's policy, "Hiring prostitutes is incompatible with our military core values."

    And...

    "In 1946, the United States Army Military Government outlawed prostitution in South Korea."

    Nice try, though.

  • -4

    alfconde

    … nationally speaking, China has to think for the survival of its 1.3 billion population. Access to the sea is hindered. Japan population is 130 million. Japan has no enough source of power for energy. Population is aging. Both countries are aiming for supremacy.

    … speaking of war, some views on these harsh skirmishes currently is becoming too politicize because of the war history. 1. In early war, aggression was practically free-for-all. 2. WWI was a method by which a nation has to resolve their disputes. Not necessarily to directly tackle the issue by which side is right but only good for their nation. When country like Japan engage in war in China and Asia, it is this notion that transpires to go into war for self-existence and self-defense. Also, WWI was a mean to resolve international disputes. It was a legitimate form of action. War was extension of diplomacy, which is why there is an International Law. Like the League of Nations. Germany however did not have the notions that an atrocity in war is not a crime. 3. WWII was in the name of Justice. The mighty Americans unleashed their power for Justice. The losers were treated criminals. So the war after WWII is a crime.

    Both countries need a dialogue and diplomacy. Tap the wide-range of technological expertise for both sides to lessen the gap and resolve these disputes. Japan is surrounded by sea, more technologically advance and can compliment to the Chinese and worldwide. For China to settle their difference and to help Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia, they have to have cooperation for airspace, marine resources, oil and petroleum exploration and other development for tourism, etc. mutually beneficial to all. War is destruction and a sure loses. My concern is that when the public opinions favor one side, mutual benefit for all will not come out. It is the task of the United Nation to initiate more intense approach to soften this crisis before it got worst.

    ... many historian netizen here in JT. Wishing for the best!

  • 12

    CrazyJoe

    Japan was responsible for a good deal more than is commonly known by most Japanese. Japan did terrible things to the people of the countries they occupied. If the Japanese refuse to learn from the past, they are doomed to repeat it. The term comfort women is a euphemism to the Japanese.

  • -8

    virgo98

    @Strangerland

    Japanese government has never denied that there were comfort women for Japanese army during WWII. They have not raised any excuse for that. (And the fact is that about 60% of the comfort women were Japanese then.)

    But it claims that there is no covincing evidence of coercion by Japanese army. Oral testimonies are not clear evidences. (I even have a strong doubt that some of comfort women claiming Japanese atrocities are ones of Yan Kon Shu, including the woman who tried to see Mayor Hashimoto and went to Paris with the activists group because of her age as well as what she has said to date. They keep contradicting.)

    Even Korean professors are outspeaking the same. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjQNeO_rxxM

    Just raise your evidences that clearly deny my post, not just rejecting.

    @JeffLee If what you said is true, has the US military apologized and compensated for those women? I have never heard of such so far. Some of them sued the Korean and US governments before. What did "your" government do for them? Ignored? Rejected the sue?

    Both of your comments are not giving any credibility to why only Japan has to be blamed as the oppressor and Koreans are regarded as victims. Besides, the number of Korean comfort women is increasing every time they claim. It is nothing but ridiculous. Japanese people are fed up with their lies.

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    Until the Japanese learn their own history and stop this chronic pathetic revisionist claptrap they will continue to be distrusted and reviled.......

  • 4

    BluesRee

    Everything Japan did during the war was morally repugnant, from starving prisoners of war, to forcing women into prostitution and even compelling its own youth to become human missiles. The whole world, including the citizens of Japan itself were abused by a corrupt regime. That some in power try to defend this is quite depressing. I've now got one more reason to avoid paying NHK fees.

  • 0

    badman

    When are the idiots who lead Japan going to learn to keep their traps shut?

  • 3

    CruisinJapan

    I just want to know, what prompted him to say anything about this in the first place, so where's that part of the story? Because I would hope someone who heads up NHK is well aware of the international fallout of his commentary on such topics.

    Just because have a big voice, doesn't mean you have to go running your mouth...

  • -3

    Peou Richard Kovit

    this is why the country have such difficulties has been dragged after its economy bubble even without the recent economic recession

  • -4

    toshiko

    If he felt responsible to reveal existence of comfort women, stop at it. He should let scholar historians to do comparative study of Europe and Japan. Abe's new headache.

  • -1

    chucky3176

    So another high position Japanese scratching the wound again, and exposing it again, when there was no need to. Why Japan can't close the book and move on? They keep bringing up WWII and keep saying they are victims.

    It's funny but up to a year ago, hundreds of Japanese were demonstrating in front of NHK everyday, for showing too many Korean entertainment contents, and the heads were accused of being ethnic Koreans. But now there will be no more demonstrations for sure.

    Another funny thing I read today in Wall Street Journal, Obama has asked Abe and Japan, please stop provoking and angering Japan's neighbours with insults, threats, comments, and behaviours, including Abe visiting the shrine. Obama didn't say what he would do if Japan continues the campaign to rachet up the bad feelings between the countries, but it is an interesting question in itself.

  • 4

    CruisinJapan

    Well, I answered my own question. Here's an article which contains a transcript of the news conference.

    He was directly asked "Q: What are your views regarding the comfort women issue?"

    Then, in front of everyone he tried to say "off the record, here's how I feel" and proceeded to share his opinion. He then tried to retract his own words, but it was a little too late, wouldn't you agree?

    I feel like the hook was baited for him, but he should have known it was not in his place and said "no comment", just as he did when asked about Abe going to Yasukuni.

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201401260018

  • 1

    FizzBit

    Wha da dumbass!

  • -4

    chucky3176

    CruisinJapan, interesting interview. He makes no attempt to hide the fact that NHK is just a Japanese government mouthpiece.

    Q: Do you intend to transmit the government’s position as Japan’s position for international broadcasting?

    A: International broadcasting will be different from domestic programs. Regarding the territorial issue, it will only be natural to clearly present Japan’s position. It would not do for us to say “left” when the government is saying “right.”

    Taken from wiki:

    In November 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army nationalised all public news agencies and coordinated their efforts via the Information Liaison Confidential Committee.[citation needed] All published and broadcast news reports became official announcements of the Imperial Army General Headquarters in Tokyo for the duration of World War II. The famous Tokyo Rose wartime programs were broadcasts by NHK.

    The occupation allied forces lead by Gen. McArthur banned the NHK, and after the US occupation was over, the NHK's programmings were revamped under the leadership of an American broadcaster, transforming the radio station. But now, I guess the NHK, under the government of Shinzo Abe, is going back to its original WWII roots to broadcast Japanese propaganda to the world.

  • 0

    toshiko

    @Christin: Thanks. He is big in NHK business so he now has to learn to shut up.

  • 0

    Kabukilover

    A good reason to boycott NHK.

    Read the Japan Times article on this jerk. He ask thinks that NHK has to propagandize Japan's territorial claims.

  • 0

    GW

    Another one of those days where its embarrassing to be a gaijin in Japan!

    The imbeciles that rule this place defy all common sense, but there are tons of them around, when will the locals realize how bad they make Japan look!

  • 1

    arenson

    This is not a case of stupidity. It is simply that Abe has installed another rightist revisionist. Intentionally. An interesting article on this rightward move is in the Japan Times, translated from Sentaku magazine. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/10/20/commentary/political-winds-buffet-nhk/#.UuT7ZGSmosM

    Of course there are self righteous people posting here who compare the US and other countries to Japan and say, 'we would never do such a thing.' This is dubious. It is a fact that male dominance and war go together and there have been reports suggesting that the Japanese government even arranged for brothels for occupation Okinawa in response to US requests. in THIS sense only, the NHK president is partly correct. Japan is not the ONLY nation to treat both its women (Karayuki san) and the women of the lands it conquered as garbage. But this does not absolve Japan of the guilt or constitute an endorsement of the NHK president for saying the equivalent of "boys will be boys".

    One has to look at the wider picture. It is not only this war or its comfort women vs. other wars by other nations. It is also very much related to people's right to know their history, to learn from it, and to challenge the official narrative. And it is also very much connected to how the citizens of this country view the actions of those in power, whether it be during wartime or on other issues that affect them and others in the world.

    It is not only denying history for people like Momii, who is in a position to shape people's opinions by his position as a quasi-national broadcaster to say that Japan did nothing wrong--it is trying recast an evil as acceptable and, in many cases, the patriotic thing to do.

    In fact, in 2002 Abe himself intervened in a documentary on the Emperor's war responsibility to shape it to his ideology. Sadly, the women's group behind the documentary lost in court, but it speaks volumes that Abe's boy is now in charge at NHK.

    People say Japan has already apologized once and that once is enough. Sure there have been the Murayama and Kono apologies, but these are contradicted by periodic textbook revisions denying kids a chance to learn from history, with LDP leaders worshiping at a shrine that glorifies imperialism and the Emperor system, with forced singing of anthems and disciplinary actions against teachers who do not cooperate, with secrets laws designed to punish whisteblowers. One needs to look at the wide picture, something that this and most articles in the media fail to do.

    Again, it is not only about comfort women. Nor only about Japan. Recently there has been evidence reported in alternative media that those who question the official narrative on many issues could be the targets of secrecy laws and governmental spying in Japan and other countries: issues like TPP (where leaked documents have shown that the treaty negotiated in secret threatens national sovereignty and empowers corporations over citizens where environmental protection is concerned), like nuclear safety, like forced patriotism: this could well extend to whistleblowers and those in civil society who work to strengthen their democracies by opposing militarism a la Abe or a la Obama with his drones and prisoner of war camps and surveillance programs.

    In both Japan and the US we have courageous people who point out these contradictions to a nation that professes to be a democracy. And both nations will only be democracies when people are willing and able to take to the streets and say no to what they see to be lies. Or to withhold the NHK viewer fees if they have TVs.

  • 4

    Bad2Dbone

    Everyone should stop on the NHK fee, free money for some stupid people to make a bigger mess, than what they already have!!

  • 0

    igloobuyer

    @aresen

    Of course there are self righteous people posting here who compare the US and other countries to Japan and say, 'we would never do such a thing.' This is dubious. It is a fact that male dominance and war go together and there have been reports suggesting that the Japanese government even arranged for brothels for occupation Okinawa in response to US requests. in THIS sense only, the NHK president is partly correct. Japan is not the ONLY nation to treat both its women (Karayuki san) and the women of the lands it conquered as garbage. But this does not absolve Japan of the guilt or constitute an endorsement of the NHK president for saying the equivalent of "boys will be boys".

    No, what other nations did during wars in the last century are NOT similar to what the Japanese administration did during WWII. Only Japan forced and/or coerced young women (as young as 12) into being sex slaves for the Japanese military, and no you cannot discount evidence given by these women - would you ever discount evidence of a women in a rape case? Ridiculous.

    Yes, other nations (US/UK etc.) military individuals did rape women in Asia and Europe during WWII, and sometimes these were gang rapes, but only the Japanese army carried out systematic rape authorised by it's leaders. It is incomprehensible and totally unacceptable for an industrialised nation to be allowed to deny atrocious like this no matter how much Korea or China milk the issues for their own political gains. This is a humanitarian issue not a political one.

  • 2

    toshiko

    movieguyJAN. 26, 2014 - 03:29PM JST

    This is why I trust hardly anyone over 60.

    Believe people who are older and were growing up during WWII. They will tell you existence of Joshi Teishin-Tai and Ian-fu. They are older than 60 but they have memory. Don;t just believe younger people who were unfamiliar of Japan's past.

  • 4

    Open Minded

    And this guy is the Japanese media leader...!?

    He is supposed to be neutral in treating news and history.

    In a normal democratic country he would be fired or at least retire!

    Honestly, what's next?

  • 3

    Simon Foston

    Momii, 70, who previously served as a vice chairman of trading house Mitsui, is rumored to have been Abe’s preferred choice as NHK chairman, Kyodo news agency said.

    No wonder NHK is so bad.

  • 3

    OssanAmerica

    hokkaidoguyJan. 26, 2014 - 03:37PM JST There's a world of difference between the Japanese Comfort Women and the independent camp followers that >western soldiers availed themselves of during WW2. Japan was engaged in forced slavery. Our troops were simply supporting local small business.

    That is the biggest heap of nonsense I have seen in some time. Military prostitution is WRONG period. Whether the women are part of an organized system or acting independently (which I assure you they are not) makes ZERO DIFFERENCE in it's offense to women worldwide.

  • 1

    toshiko

    Mitsui must be glad to get rid of him. Is Mitsui preparing for after Abe politics?

  • -3

    Strangerland

    Whether the women are part of an organized system or acting independently (which I assure you they are not) makes ZERO DIFFERENCE in it's offense to women worldwide.

    It depends on whether the women choose to be there, or are forced to be there. If they choose to be there, that's their own right. If they are forced to be there, it's entirely wrong. And if you think prostitution is a choice no women ever make, you're kidding yourself.

  • 0

    kaimycahl

    Wow you would think these old guys would just not say anything i feel sorry for those younger in Japan the old people who are stirring up old controversial thoughts are making it harder for the younger Japanese generation in the future these guys are preparing a war for them to finish. Sometimes its just best not to say anything but the older these guys get the bolder they get especially during times you would think they have a memory relapse.

  • 1

    igloobuyer

    OssanAmerica

    That is the biggest heap of nonsense I have seen in some time. Military prostitution is WRONG period. Whether the women are part of an organized system or acting independently (which I assure you they are not) makes ZERO DIFFERENCE in it's offence to women worldwide.

    I have new respect for OssanAmerica - thought you were pro-Japan no matter what. I agree that the rights of women, and the violation of women's bodies, now and the past should always come before old guys political agendas.

  • 2

    7solace9

    Selectively impaired contact with reality.

  • 5

    JTDanMan

    This is really important.

    This comment is no slip of the tongue. It goes to the heart of what is wrong in Japan today.

    During the war, the common, actually, predominate attitude amongst Japanese was to regard the women of occupied countries as the legitimate spoils of conquest.

    John Embree’s classic pre-war work, Suye Mura: A Japanese Village (1939, ) illustrates how wide-spread was the Japanese attitude. Embree described a carnival-like home-comming for the young recruits returning home from boot camp. The women of the village dressed as soldiers and tramps and then pantomimed the behaviors they associated with men and soldiers, one of which was to “try to rape the young schoolgirls.”

    [Source John F. Embree, A Japanese Village: Suye Mura, (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1946), p. 150.]

    But of course, the most obvious evidence showing how sexual domination and war were inextricably intertwined in the minds of wartime Japanese is in the way the Imperial armed forces conducted themselves in conquered territories: initially, they raped and pillaged newly conquered territory as a matter of course. And I mean rape -- not as a metaphor. And after the initial thrust of conquest, as it were, was accomplished, they settled down into sexually dominating the new addition to the realm. The comfort stations were just one aspect of this domination. The mentality of the conquerer was to dominate the subjugated in all aspects. And the best way to assert your domination was to take "their women."

    And this is why this comment is so darn important to understand. Because Japan today is dominated by the US, we take "their women" at our pleasure, and it drives the conservative mind crazy. To the conservative mind, there is nothing wrong with the strong dominating the weak; the problem is that Japan is weak, whereas, unlike the good old days, Japan was strong.

    Understanding this power, sexual dynamic helps to shed light on why Japan behaves the way it does.

  • 3

    yuhki

    Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forced into brothels

    Hum... Every time I see these kinds of news, they were written as if there were no Japanese women sold to the brothel, trying to make a simple impression this was done forcibly only against the colonial women.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2007-07/06/content_911759.htm

    I feel many people just handle this tragedy as a political tool, not thinking why this happened and feel a pain on the tragedy.

  • 0

    chucky3176

    All the latest polls show, it's the young in their twenties and thirties who are supporting these old politician's thinking. It's the older generation of Japanese who tend to agree less with these politicians. A clear sign that Japan's future is squarely right wing.

    Wow you would think these old guys would just not say anything i feel sorry for those younger in Japan the old people who are stirring up old controversial thoughts are making it harder for the younger Japanese generation in the future

  • -1

    ex-japan-visitor

    Comfort women were obviously brought into the country against their will. They were obviously forced into sex against their will. It is obvious that Japanese politicians wont admit that this was wrong. It is obvious that the Koreans and Chinese will become upset at this. Everything is SO EXPECTED!

    Reading this story and getting upset about it is equivalent to staring at the sun and then complaining that your eyes hurt. What do you expect?

    If people really want the leadership of Japan to change their attitude and stop showing disrespect, all they have to do is to stop buying Japanese products. Within 3 months, the Japanese would be making 100s of apologies.

    If China really wants Japan to change, as do the Koreans, stop importing and consuming Japanese products. But, in reality, Chinese consumers LOVE Japanese products. Almost every Chinese person in my country drives a Japanese car, but then complains about how the Japanese are 'Devils'.

    If you keep supporting Japan, Japan will not change. Japan is a country that relies on GNP (Gross National Product) and exports moreso than almost any other country in the world. Take away their profits from exports and GNP and you will see a change in their behaviour.

  • 1

    JTDanMan

    Ex-Japan

    Yes, yes. Cultural embargoes have always met with great success....

  • -1

    Shanchan

    But now, I guess the NHK, under the government of Shinzo Abe, is going back to its original WWII roots to broadcast Japanese propaganda to the world.

    As long as they won't show fake photos with captions suggesting reality then it would be still better than South Korea or China.

  • 4

    Suzu1

    This guy has to go.

  • 2

    evian1

    Sigh.....there are no shortage of Abe-wanna-be to keep stirring up issues like that when it quiet down for few years. Sadly indeed for Japan.....Japan apologists like onssan should not blame the Korean or Chinese for refusing no matter thousand of apologies we offered but he forget they are thousand of denials by some morons.

  • -8

    ex-japan-visitor

    JTDDanMan,

    If consumers are unhappy with a particular business - the service, values, statements, quality etc. - the way to get that business to change is to stop giving them money.

    In the U.S., people complain about the Chinese government all the time, yet they refuse to stop buying things that are 'made in China'. People care more about saving $10.00 than they do about anything else. So, their outrage about the Chinese government is not even worth the money they save on the goods they buy.

    I used to run a dollar store and would hear people complain about 'made in China' on a daily basis. I would tell them 'if you want, I can sell you things made in North America, but I dont think you would be willing to pay more for such goods.' And of course, they admitted that they didnt want to pay the higher price to substitute for Chinese goods.

    In terms of Chinese people, they care more about getting their Honda Civic than they do about the issue of 'comfort women'. So, I say, either take action and vote with your dollars, or shut up about it and put it in the past. One cant continue to support Japanese companies and then complain about Japanese behaviour.

    In my country of Canada, we have a large population of Koreans. I have dated Korean girls and have interacted with Korean students while in school. In my experience, I have never met a Korean person who didnt think that their Korean ancestory made them special, above and beyond all other people. I really dont like that way of thinking, and hence, I decided not to support that way of thinking. Specifically, I wont buy Korean products. So, I dont buy electronics or vehicles or even go to restaurants that are operated by Koreans. When I ran my business, I wouldnt buy services, nor hire anyone of a Korean background. That was my way of not continuing to turn a 'blind-eye' to the obvious 'superiority complex' Koreans display.

  • 4

    Michael Karolewics

    He should have just made a statement "Hi, I'm an idiot".....To just take over and have us thinking that he's following in the foot step of idiot Hashimoto really shows that he's not ready for this position yet.

  • 8

    BigTime

    " so-called “comfort women” served a “necessary” role by keeping battle-stressed soldiers in check"

    Are you kidding me? When the hell were Japanese soldiers ever kept "in check"???

  • 2

    realist

    Comfort Women = Sex Slaves. Enough of political correctness disease. Call a spade a spade. This idiot is not fit to be Head of NHK, orHead of anything. Time for him to return to the Institution he obviously escaped from. People like him are the reason NHK is a discredited organisation. Another reason why I will NEVER pay money to this organisation. He should not resign, he should be booted out.

  • 4

    Moondog

    Memo to media: When you use the term "Comfort Women" you become part of the problem. It's "Sex Slavery." That is the only term that should ever appear in your articles and headlines. Ever. Time to put "Comfort Women" in the trash can with the N-word where it belongs.

  • 2

    wizwind

    NHK became PM Abe's advertising broadcasting station. Abe's cheerleaders have assumed the position of the committee besides the chairman.

    NHK management committeehttp://www.nhk.or.jp/pr/english/management/governors/index.html

    Ms.Hasegawa is a representative committee of rightist organization "NipponKaigi". Mr.Hyakuta is Abe's friend, and the war mania who makes the constitution neglectful. When Abe is a grade-schooler, Mr.Honda is tutorial. Adviser of Japan Tobacco. and Mr.Nakajima is Abe's cheerleaders.

  • 0

    Daniel Neagari

    For all the comments in here... All I can see is just either bashing or defending (in a very limited and small mount) what this person said.

    So, it is an very unconformable matter and we are free to disagree/agree or regret the opinion of this person.

    Problem is... aren't we putting a lot of moral opinion (what each THINK is right) in this? Yes the "comfort women" (sex slaves) are a terrible thing.. .but if are we saying "that is wrong and bad" because of our point of view? or are we condemning this action of the past, based on an educated opinion and after at least mildly viewing this matter for the vintage point of the other side?

    One thing that people lacks now a days.. .and specially in this social media and internet forums is this unwillingness to see the other side of the story, to try to understand and have an open mind...

    Can we do that?

  • -4

    tmtmsnb

    chucky3176JAN. 27, 2014 - 01:13AM JST

    "All the latest polls show, it's the young in their twenties and thirties who are supporting these old politician's thinking."

    You need to thank China and Koreans for that. These young people has a long life ahead of them but with China and N. S. Koreas threatening their security by rattling nuclear missiles threatening to turn whole Japan into sea of flame they have nowhere to go except to turn to Abe for protection.

  • 2

    Peacetrain

    The saddest thing is that you can get to be 70 or 50 or 30 in this country and believe what he said.

    The thing that must happen is for people to record their wartime experiences.

    Anybody who can speak English would have access to hundreds of accounts of the comfort women, and know that what went on in Asia was completely different to what happened in "any country".

    The problem of course is most Japanese still don't know much about comfort women. So when the head of NHK or some right-wing professor (who probably does know the truth) says that every country did the same thing - the average Taro and Hanako believes him.

    Nobody really wants to believe that their country was worse than another. Especially after watching endless war movies made in Japan where the average Japanese soldier was such a gallant decent figure.

    One irony is that Japanese know so little about the suffering of Americans, British, Australians, Dutch, Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Indonesians, Vietnamese....etc at the hands of Japanese, but they have all seen American made movies where Japanese are called "Japs" and that is seen to be such a terrible affront.

    Strange watching a movie with someone who knows absolutely nothing about ianfu, POWS, 731, but seeing them so hurt that the terrible Americans called them "Japs".

    A simple one hour a year lesson or documentary shown in school each year in junior high and senior high would do wonders for Japanese understand the feelings of people from other countries.

    Most people have nothing against Japanese in general. But even someone like me is offended at the head of NHK implying that my country did the same thing with comfort women as the Japanese.

    IN other news, Jews were persecuted in countries other than Japan in WW2.

  • 0

    Daniel Neagari

    @Peacetrain

    I am an English speaker... and a fair good one if I say so... I do have access of "hundreds of accounts", so I am very aware of what had been done.

    On the other hand, you again show that you are not able to see further of your strangled point of view. Other countries, other cultures have done so. Is not a justification, but is is a call for you to simmer down. Japan did horrible things in the past, but so has many other countries on many accounts.

    Hanging on the past of one particular event, is not a good stance for grow.

  • 0

    Scrote

    It seems from the article that Mr Momii at least agrees with the fact that women were forcibly recruited into brothels, something which Abe denies.

    It will be interesting to look out for the increased pro-government bias on NHK "news" programmes over the next few months. Under the last LDP government, regular as clockwork every Sunday evening they had an article on the North Korean abductees. It stopped once the DPJ gained power, demonstrating that the LDP were influencing NHK output.

    Recently there was an NHK "news" article on how people are spending their increased bonuses and salaries, only noting at the end of the article that "some people haven't had a salary increase". In fact, most people have had no increase, or are still seeing falls in their salaries. Subtle, pro-government propaganda like this is the thing to watch for.

  • -1

    alfconde

    NHK Momii’s statement…

    “Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe,” he said, according to reports. That understanding is still the notion of the people back then. That was war.

    During WWI a notion was that war was a method to resolve for legitimate international disputes and that to tackle the issues of righteousness (criminality) were not necessary. All means to a victory in battle mattered. When that war with the American engagement turned into WWII in the name of Justice, the aspect of criminality came to its understanding. The losers paid in commensurate to damages they incurred. It was the reparation payments.

    On Thursday, Jan 30 is US President Roosevelt’s 132nd Birth Anniversary. During the last days of his fourth term in office, he traveled and negotiated a lot to contain war and due to exhaustion and pressures he died without seeing the end. Nuclear Bomb was dropped… as the way things are going recently, I just hope for PM Shinzo Abe’s good health and welfare. He is doing the same to prevent war by seeking understanding. Japan cannot defend by itself. Japan is striving to lose its currency by Quantitative Easing for US dollar to gain and in someway mutual assistance and status can be maintain. US owe half of their dollar in debts to Japan and China. So understanding US position related to war in the region must be taken into consideration for mutual well being.

    Of course, there are always adversaries and assertive elite in the government and organizations imposing immoralities for self-gain. However, it is almost always the good that prevailed because of good men and Divine intervention. An opinion, the United Nation that should be the one to initiate the move. Commerce and trade for the welfare of undeveloped countries are hampered. United Nation should act BEFORE, DURING and AFTER with cohesive strength and determination before things got worst. If the country involves would not cooperate, they can expel as being not a social community and moving for self-aggressive dominance. In these way the doctrines of cooperation to the world affair can prosper.

    War stories are very sensitive. It differs a lot between the winners and the losers. People's pride and ego matters. It should be address to the historian, sociologist and the likes. Free media discussion and forum ignites Public Opinion to divide. During this Information age, anything is expose. Freedom of Speech we cherish should be express with discipline and dignity with the best of our understanding for our children, children's children and for the human race. We must denounce war. As war is a mistake and a destruction.

  • 2

    Stewart Gale

    Why is the head of NHK even discussing this matter? What does it have to do with him?

  • -1

    tmtmsnb

    "Why is the head of NHK even discussing this matter? What does it have to do with him?"

    If Stewart Gale is discussing this matter, perhaps the head of NHK can do it too.

  • -5

    BNlightened

    The sad part of this whole "history controversy" is that the ignorance here in Japan is being passed on to the next generations. Sure, these old fools talk tough: they've never participated in a war, they benefited from their former enemy's benevolence and largess in ways the Japanese would never have extended to their own "conquered races," and (most important) their own fathers and grandfathers were actual participants in the hideously shameful Imperial-era atrocities that produced things like "the comfort women." These fogies have a family interest in revisionist history that seeks to portray their daddies in a less monstrous light.

    But as Governor Hashimoto's shamefully ignorant "comments" on the subject amply demonstrate, the younger generation in Japan is reaping the fruits of their elder's systematic whitewashing of history in school textbooks and mass communications. Honestly, Japanese youth really don't care to learn or know anything about the period between 1895 (when the first of Japan's imperialist wars was fought in Korea) and 1945, while their elders are heck-bent on making this willful ignorance a permanent societal condition.

    The youth in this country are more willing than ever to believe such bunk revisionist history peddled by the rightists in government and the NHK. And it's THIS willful ignorance of the past more than anything else (when coupled with a similarly revisionist historical amnesia in China and the Koreas) that makes the present so particularly dangerous for all involved...

  • 2

    Stewart Gale

    Very droll tmtmsnb (if that is your real name). For your information, I wasn't discussing the matter. I was discussing why the head of NHK was. I offered no opinion on the subject.

  • 0

    muttinjapan

    Really agree with JTDanMan's break down above. Many older Japanese (and increasingly younger, including students I teach in their 20s) feel that Japan didn't do anything wrong at all in the war, and it's 'war is war' nothing to be ashamed of.

    They feel anything related to 'comfort women' is anti-Japanese propaganda from China / Korea....fine, these old dinosaurs can be ignored perhaps but the young people are increasingly buying the whitewash...

    Some 20 years ago it seemed like common knowledge that the imperial forces treated civilians horribly, today it's all a 'myth' and 'anti-Japanese sentiment' - would be interesting to have a poll about what people think in their 20s and 30s about comfort women, I'd bet you half or more of younger people don't think it was sexual slavery. which is exactly what it was.

  • 0

    Peacetrain

    @Muttinjapan

    It's all to do with education and propaganda.

    Unfortunately, the younger generation don't know much about WW2 at all.

    The older generation don't either, but they were brought up by teachers who were against kimigayo and the hinomaru.

    The current generation of young people are taught to be patriotic while at the same time not knowing history.

    If only Japanese could learn that you can love your country and be patriotic while at the same time recognising that your country has done terrible things in the past.

  • 0

    Cortes Elijah

    That's the same as me saying "eveyone does it" as I comit crime. Earn up, come clean! And actually mean it! The world might be ready to forgive then.

  • 2

    Guratan

    This whole sex slaves BS started because of a series of baseless articles by leftists (I hate to call them liberals) in Japan during the 70’s, and ever since the Koreans have convinced themselves that they were the most sexually brutalized victims in the human history. Due to their extremely anti-Japanese political nature, they just believe whatever that comes in to their ears if it's about Japanese atrocities during the war. And the journalists and the former victors of WW2 are just mindlessly pouring oil to this flame, not even trying to look into and compare the facts.

  • -2

    tmtmsnb

    Stewart GaleJAN. 27, 2014 - 03:48PM JST

    Don’t you think he is merely stating facts which he believes are true.

    Those are initials of my aborigine name, should not try to read as a word lest you bite your tongue.

  • 1

    Guratan

    This is ultimately historian's job, as some have already said, but the problem is that the Korean and Chinese are using this issue to attack Japan morally. Japanese officials need to devise a more systematic approach to defend themselves, at least, from a baseless and utterly humiliating accusation such as this. They should just stick to stating-the-facts method. Fact-wise, the Korean arguments are just a load of nonsense anyway. It's only after the leftist journalists in Japan fabricated the sensational story about institutionally forced comfort women, the Koreans founded all those NPO's.

    Those who are interested how this "issue" was raised, go to Wikipedia and read the part: History of the issue. At least what's written there seems somewhat neutral.

    Many brutal things happened, and Japanese did take part in those during WW2, but Japan did not force women to be sex slaves. Those women were just prostitutes trying to make livings.

  • -5

    Peacetrain

    Guratan, you need to read more. Don't just read stuff written by Japanese right-wingers.

    btw, the statements by Momii are not surprising. Look at the people who appointed him. Momii is just another Abe right-wing revisionist.

    Check out the five on the board of NHK. One is the guy who wrote the super popular kamikaze movie and friend of Abe, another is an ex-tutor of ABe's, another is a professor who writes books against democracy....etc

    Japan is heading in a really scary direction.

    So why did Japanese vote him in?
    Most of them don't know. But they can tell you where the best ramen is, and which tarento they love, and how moved they were by Eien no Zero.

    What they can't tell you is much at all about comfort women or much else about WW2.

    Maybe NHK can make a documentary about it....

  • 0

    mamix

    You describe wartime Japan as a devil. but I cant help wondering why such devil country could save the lives of 25000 Jews during WW2? Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania at that time, helped 6000 Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland and residents of Lithuania. Also Kiichiro Higuchi,a major general of the Harbin Special Branch in 1938,saved 20000 Jew's lives by allowing Jews who had run from Nazi Germany to cross the border from the Soviet Union to Manchukuo. Jews honored their deeds by writing their names in the Golden book.

  • -3

    igloobuyer

    mamixJAN. 28, 2014 - 09:32AM JST You describe wartime Japan as a devil. but I cant help wondering why such devil country could save the lives of 25000 Jews during WW2? Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania at that time, helped 6000 Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland and residents of Lithuania. Also Kiichiro Higuchi,a major general of the Harbin Special Branch in 1938,saved 20000 Jew's lives by allowing Jews who had run from Nazi Germany to cross the border from the Soviet Union to Manchukuo. Jews honored their deeds by writing their names in the Golden book.

    "There is always good amongst the evil my friend" I doubt anyone would doubt there were great acts of kindness by some Japanese during the war; but they likly would have done this out of view of their fellow Japanese in case they were labelled a traitor.

  • 2

    mamix

    I know Imperial Japan did bad things in the past. However Japan also got hell in that time. A-boming killed 200000 Japanese in the most brutal way in a moment. That's what war is.. Afterward Japan has apologized to victim countries repeatedly and payed them a huge compensation or economic aid. The post war Japan has been the most peaceful country in the world. It has contributed to world peace and development positively. The war occurred 70 years ago. A time is changing from moment to moment. Many wars still happened somewhere in the world and a great number of people have killed brutally. There is a country that is invading other countries now. I feel like it is unreasonable to blame only Japan for its past behaviors during the war.

  • -3

    tinawatanabe

    Why is the head of NHK even discussing this matter? What does it have to do with him?

    Good point. If you watch the whole press conference, you'll see the reporter was deleberately trying to bring up the matter.

  • -4

    tinawatanabe

    ** So why make the statements*

    Because Korean demanded those statements. And now Korea is demanding another, and Japan is screaming.

  • -2

    tinawatanabe

    **questioning whether Japan was truly sorry in the first place

    It's your pretext to demand more money. Why do I have to suffer from your bullying more than my parents and my grand parents. It's obvious your anti-Japan education is getting more and more intense.

  • 1

    BertieWooster

    “Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe,” he said, according to reports.

    Really?

    When I was a kid I heard a lot about WWII - in all its gory details. Some of my uncles would have loved to have given me stories about comfort women and I would have loved to hear them.

    But there weren't any.

    I did hear that the soldiers liberating Italy and Greece were welcomed with open arms - and legs. But it wasn't an official thing and it certainly wasn't paid for.

    As far as I know there were no "comfort women" for the British armed forces. There were whores, but what a guy did on his night off was up to him. It had no more official sanction than the "massage parlours" in the back streets near the US bases in Okinawa.

    Does anyone know anything different to this? >

    >

  • 2

    Asian2013

    Of course these comfort women were nothing! Go to the Singapore war archives and see how pregnant women were bayoneted. And to think that some Japanese claim that Japan has apologized a zillion times! Abe and his cronies are trying all means to drive Japan from the international community.

  • 1

    NetteMarie

    You can't use 'forcibly' and 'recruit' together. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make sense.

  • 2

    ka_chan

    Wow, can't believe some brought up considering his exit from the Foreign Ministry in 1947 was questionable. And he was acting out of his own conscience, against orders from the ministry. But obviously, Momii lacks skill in diplomacy for a chief of Japan's media company. Nothing like insulting the US, Germany, France and others all at once.

  • 0

    Brendan Lyons

    It's a controversial issue and this "grub" (excellent description) stepped right into it, as so many Japanese politicians are wont to do. Surely they should have some sort of training course? It's true that the French allowed brothels for its troops (red light for officers, blue light for men) as literature from the First World War, in particular, makes clear. The alternative, apparently, was to watch VD rates reach stratospheric levels necessitating the withdrawal of soldiers from the line. The ladies, at least, were volunteers. I'm not too sure how the Japanese went about things, but suspect the worst.

  • 0

    Brian Wheway

    Unfortunately the German guard’s in 1944 took Jewish woman from the queues for the gas chambers, held them in there billet huts for several days, until they had abused them or got fed up with them and then threw them into the gas ovens, so did it happen in other countries? Yes it does

  • -3

    Guratan

    aussie-musashiFEB. 01, 2014 - 09:23AM JST

    Japan`s policy of providing sex slaves for all its front line troops

    The supporters of this issue always claim such utterly baseless statements. Can you show evidences to support that they were institutionally forced slaves? If 200,000 women were forced into sex slavery as the Korean claim, there should had been documents pertaining to these actions. Who had provided these women food and shelter? How and where were they kept? Where are the related governmental documents that authorize these actions; 200,000 is a lot of people and the corresponding documents would be of tremendous amount. Did we destroy all of them in order to save our face after we lost against Americans? Or did the ranking officers act on the orders verbally passed on to them? You have yet to find any such documents. And it's your obligation to present a proof since you're the one charging us with crime.

    There were individual crimes during wartime. It's true, it was horrible and the criminals should be punished. But it's a whole different story when you claim that Japanese institutionally forced the women to be sex slaves. This issue is merely a political card recently devised by leftist (or rather, communist) Japanese and the Koreans to harass Japan, and it's completely disgusting.

  • 0

    bruinfan

    Chiune Sugihara was a hero, but he was not acting with the consent of the central government in Japan. In fact he was 180 degrees against them in the end. Check out Wikipedia, and then read some of the references at the end of that article in more depth.

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