Sunday, November 09, 2014

Myth and Truth in East Asia 1

11:10 pm, November 06, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun Index 1 Senkakus - tense waters 2 The Long Road to Collective Self-Defense 3 Chilly Ties with South Korea 4 Investigating Reports on 'Comfort Women' Foreword East Asia is currently driven by tension as never before. Elements creating instability in this region include North Korea's provocative actions involving its nuclear and missile development, China's military rise and heightened Japan-China tensions over the Senkaku Islands, and friction between Japan and South Korea over so-called comfort women and other issues. Making matters worse, rather than holding talks directly with Japan to ease tensions and repair ties, China and South Korea have expanded their anti-Japan propaganda campaigns in the United States and other nations. This has made resolving these problems even more complicated. SLIDE 1 OF 2PREVNEXT "Japan created this tension by nationalizing the Senkaku Islands. China has simply been forced to respond in the way it has." "The Abe administration refuses to acknowledge acts of barbarity committed by the former Japanese military forces, including the comfort women issue, and is trying to revise history." "Japan has not seriously reflected on its past war of aggression, so allowing it to exercise the right of collective self-defense is dangerous." These arguments put forward by China and South Korea are not based on fact. Rather, they are distortions of the truth intended to implant self-serving perceptions in the opinion of the international community. We believe this will become evident upon reading this booklet, which contains selected stories and serialized articles on these topics from The Japan News, the English-language newspaper published by The Yomiuri Shimbun. Unlike the propaganda being spread by China and South Korea, the articles in this booklet adhere to a cardinal principle of journalism: Convey the truth by examining and verifying actual occurrences and episodes. We hope this booklet will become a valuable material for determining what is really happening in East Asia. October 2014 Takashi Sadahiro Managing Editor, The Japan News 1 Senkakus-tense waters Quantity vs. logic in 'propaganda war' On Sept. 11, 2012, the Japanese government purchased three of the Senkaku Islands, which are Japan's sovereign territory, from the then owner and nationalized them. China, which claims territorial rights over the islands in Okinawa Prefecture, reacted fiercely. Since then, China has repeatedly engaged in dangerous, provocative behavior against Japan. Japan must return to China all the territories it has stolen, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during his visit to the historical city of Potsdam, Germany, on May 26, 2013. At the site of the 1945 Potsdam Declaration, which set the terms for Japan's unconditional surrender at the end of World War II, Li criticized Japan with strident words. For China, the site of the Potsdam Conference was the most appropriate place to spread the image of "a Japan that challenges the postwar international order" to the world. The reasoning behind China's demand for Japan to "return" the Senkaku Islands can be summarized as follows: -Japan took the Senkakus from China during the Qing dynasty. -Japan, defeated in World War II, must return the land it stole to the original holder states. -Therefore, Japan does not possess territorial rights over the Senkakus. It is important for China to launch a "propaganda war" to spread its argument to the world. Its approach is to "use all possible means." The Olympic Games, which should be a festival of peace, is no exception. "Japan will have to keep a low profile before the Olympics to avoid any military conflicts [with China]. This will guarantee the stability and peace of the East China Sea, which will be beneficial to the whole of East Asia," wrote the Global Times on Sept. 9, 2013, just after Tokyo was chosen as the venue for hosting the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2020. It criticized Japan over heightened military tension with China over the Senkaku issue. The paper, published under the auspices of the People's Daily, is an official organ of the Chinese Communist Party. China has been waging an extraordinary propaganda war against Japan. An incident in autumn 2012 shocked Japan's Foreign Ministry. Advertisements criticizing Japan were carried around the world in such major newspapers as The Washington Post and The New York Times, one after another. They included newspapers in surprisingly small or lesser-known countries including an island nation in the Pacific and a country in Africa, according to a senior ministry official. Chinese diplomats frequently appeared on TV programs in various countries to criticize Japan. Against China's "media blitz," using a great amount of resources and various media outlets, Japan made "logical" counterarguments through diplomats stationed in foreign countries. One of them was late Ichiro Komatsu, who was dubbed "Mr. International Law" because of his expertise on international law. In 2012, when he served as Japan's ambassador to France, he assembled French journalists and explained in detail, in French, that Japan's territorial possession of the Senkaku Islands poses no problems under international law. He died in June 2014 after serving as director general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. Keiichi Hayashi, the ambassador to Britain, contributed a commentary to the Nov. 14, 2012, issue of the Financial Times of Britain with the headline: Time for China to calm down and stop bullying. The commentary contains important keywords: "Japan stands firm and calm against China's attempt to challenge the postwar international order over the Senkaku Islands by coercion and intimidation." This response to China's attempt "to change the status quo by coercion" has been the main pillar of the Japanese government's claims in the "propaganda war." If China continues its provocative behavior against Japan, and even if it took over the Senkaku Islands by military force, Japan can keep making appeals to the world that Japan is justified in claiming sovereignty over the islands. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also been advocating the stance as a leader during his visits to other countries. China continues provocative actions China first claimed territorial rights over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture in 1971. Two years earlier, the then U.N. Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East compiled a report identifying possible undersea oil reserves near the islands. The report is believed to have spurred China to assert its claim over the islands. In 1992 China passed the "territorial water law" and unilaterally added the islands to its territories. In 2012 it was revealed that then Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara had been negotiating the purchase of three of the Senkakus with their owner. The then Democratic Party of Japan-led administration of Yoshihiko Noda feared the islands would become "metropolitan estates" under Ishihara, a hard-liner against China. Before the purchase by the metropolitan government was carried out, the central government bought the islands and nationalized them on Sept. 11, 2012. The Chinese government reacted fiercely against Japan's action. Since then it has taken provocative actions, such as dispatching China Coast Guard ships into Japan's territorial waters. A growing number of Chinese fishing boats has also intruded Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus. Chinese military assertiveness has been growing increasingly conspicuous. China advancing into Pacific On July 25, 2013, a P-3C patrol plane of the Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted five Chinese military vessels, including a destroyer, sailing in waters about 100 kilometers northeast of Miyakojima island, southwest of Okinawa's main island. It was later confirmed that the Chinese ships had entered the Pacific Ocean by way of Soya Strait between Hokkaido and Sakhalin Island after conducting joint live-ammunition firing exercises with the Russian Navy in the Sea of Japan off Vladivostok. That meant the Chinese military vessels had, for the first time ever, circumnavigated the Japanese archipelago. A day before the passage through Soya Strait, a Chinese early warning plane, Y-8, had flown in the airspace between Okinawa's main island and Miyakojima island. It was also the first time that a Chinese military plane had crossed over China's self-designated "first island chain" to intrude into Japan's airspace over the Pacific. The first island chain is what the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Navy has designated in reference to a series of island groups spanning the southern part of Kyushu, the Nansei Islands, Taiwan and the Philippines. What it refers to as the "second island chain" comprises the line stretching from the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands, both administered by the Tokyo metropolitan government, over to Papua New Guinea, by way of Guam and Saipan. At that time, then Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera happened to be on an inspection tour of the Maritime Self- Defense Force's Kanoya Air Field, and he revealed the Chinese early warning plane's flight between the Okinawa main island and Miyakojima island to reporters accompanying him. "From this point onward, China will most likely make advances into the Pacific Ocean," Onodera warned. It was believed the Y-8 plane may have engaged in an exercise over the Pacific in tandem with the five Chinese military vessels. Joint action between military vessels and aircraft in a region far from mainland China would be impossible without a certain amount of preparation. Pointing to this, a senior Defense Ministry official noted that, China's moves this time "must have taken not only the first island chain but also the second island chain into account." This reasoning can be substantiated by remarks made by those with ties to the Chinese military. In July 2013, Ou Chienping, chief of the military forces construction institute of the PLA's National Defense University, emphasized in an online program sponsored by the People's Daily that the Chinese Navy needs "the capability to cover great distances, as we have to get out into the Pacific by going beyond the first island chain." The Nansei Islands, including the Senkaku Islands, and Okinawa Prefecture are situated along the route that Chinese naval ships will traverse on their way to the Pacific Ocean. China's strategy The Chinese Navy has adopted the so-called anti-access/ area denial (A2AD) strategy. China regards waters from mainland China to its first island chain as "China's waters," where missiles, highperformance fighter jets and drones are deployed to prevent an intrusion by the U.S. military and to attempt to keep such an intrusion outside the second island chain. Thus the strategy is intended to prevent U.S. troops from reaching mainland China in the event of a conflict. According to Japan's Defense Ministry, A2AD has already entered an operational stage. On Sept. 8, 2013, an H-6 of China's air force, a large bomber capable of carrying nuclear missiles, flew across the first island chain for the first time. It is considered only a matter of time before China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, makes its way into the Pacific Ocean. Regarding the motivation behind Chinese military's advance into the Pacific, Timothy Keating, then commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, made an interesting remark during his testimony before Congress in 2008. He said a high-ranking Chinese military officer he met the previous year had proposed dividing control of the Pacific between the two countries, with the sea east of Hawaii controlled by the United States and the ocean west of Hawaii by China. During a summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on June 7, 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly made a comment to the effect that the Pacific Ocean is a vast, open space with sufficient room for both the great powers of China and the United States. China's former top leader Deng Xiaoping is said to have left behind a maxim in four Chinese characters that says, "Sharpen your claws while you wait for the right opportunity." Having achieved economic development, China has launched a mission to build a new relationship between great powers with the United States. The Japan-China row over the Senkaku Islands is closely intertwined with the national strategy of China, which is also looking beyond Japan to keep a close eye on the United States. China claims Japan agreed to 'shelving' Senkaku issue Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is known as being well-informed about Japan, as he is fluent in Japanese and has served as Chinese ambassador to Japan. Such a person is sending a message to the international community that Japan and China agreed in the past to "shelve" the territorial issue over the Senkaku Islands. On Sept. 20, 2013, Wang told the audience during a lecture at a think tank in Washington: "Forty-one years ago, when China and Japan achieved the normalization of diplomatic relations, leaders of the two nations reached a very important agreement...that is...we can set aside our difference [on the Senkaku issue] and take care of it or resolve it at some later date." What does China's "shelving" agreement claim mean? To understand what Wang intended to say, one must look back at how the issue unfolded. The Senkaku Islands were included in Japan's territories in January 1895, after the nation confirmed the islands were not under the control of China, or the Qing, at that time. The confirmation came after Japan conducted research over a decade or so. Following Japan's defeat in World War II, the nation lost its overseas territories in line with the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. However, 48 nations, including the United States-which signed the treaty-considered the Senkaku Islands as part of Okinawa and put them under U.S. administrative control. Under the Okinawa Reversion Agreement signed on June 17, 1971, the islands were returned to Japan. However, after a U.N. research team brought up the possibility of oil reserves being located near the Senkaku Islands in 1969, China and Taiwan began to assert territorial rights over the islands in 1971 for the first time. Under such a delicate situation, Japan and China formally established diplomatic relations in 1972. Wang argues that the two nations agreed to "shelve" the settlement of the dispute over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands during the normalization talks. Following this logic, it becomes Japan that broke the agreement through nationalizing the islands in 2012. Such a stance was also taken by former Chinese "paramount leader" Deng Xiaoping. In October 1978, when Deng came to Japan to exchange the instruments of ratification of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship, he said at a press conference at the Japan National Press Club: "We call the Senkaku Islands the Diaoyu Islands. [Japan and China] have different names for them and call them differently. At the time of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the two sides pledged not to touch on the issue. Also this time, during the negotiations of the peace and friendship treaty, [the two nations] agreed not to touch on the issue. "I think it doesn't matter if this kind of problem is shelved for some time. It will be fine if it is shelved for a decade. People in our generation lack wisdom. Those in the next generation will be wiser than us. Then, they will be able to find a good solution that is acceptable for everyone." Deng's remarks can be interpreted as saying the confrontation should be shelved for the sake of friendly relations of the two nations, but it should be noted that China claims the issue has been set aside on the premise that sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands has yet to be determined. Prof. Akira Kotera at the University of Tokyo, an expert on international law, compared China's claims to a situation where one person passes in front of another person's house and suddenly declares it to be "my house." This is because China did not make any objection to Japan's sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands for nearly two decades after the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. If Japan accepts China's "shelving" agreement claim, "Japan will have to negotiate with China over the territorial rights, and that will eventually lead to a situation where the islands would be put under joint control," Kotera said. For Japan, there is a grudging acknowledgement that the "shelving" agreement claim had never been clearly dismissed. Takakazu Kuriyama, former Japanese ambassador to the United States who was involved in the diplomatic normalization talks with China as the director of the Treaties Division of the Foreign Ministry, expressed the view in an article of the December 2012 issue of Ajia Jiho (Asia times) that there was tacit approval because the Japanese government did not directly reject China's claim that the issue had been "shelved." However, Kuriyama also wrote, "It's too one-sided for China to claim there existed a clear agreement between Japan and China to shelve the issue." Currently, the Japanese government maintains that there is a pledge neither to touch on the Senkaku issue, nor shelve the issue, as stated by Deng, either during the negotiations to normalize bilateral diplomatic relations or during the negotiations for the bilateral peace and friendship treaty. This stance was clearly shown in a government statement, approved by the Cabinet on Oct. 26, 2010, in the form of a reply to a lawmaker's question. However, a former Japanese government official admitted to the existence of the "shelving" agreement, complicating arguments on the issue. Quotes stitched together to make 'shelving' claim On Sept. 23, 2012, a Japanese person appeared on a program of state-run China Central Television to talk about the Senkaku issue. His name is Ukeru Magosaki, former head of the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau of the Foreign Ministry and a former professor of the National Defense Academy. On "Xinwen Lianbo," a nationally televised news program, Magosaki said, "I think there was an agreement [between Japan and China] to shelve the Senkaku issue." He also offered his own view that there must be a hidden reason the Japanese government does not acknowledge this now. On what grounds does Magosaki say there was an agreement to shelve the Senkaku issue? As evidence for his argument, he introduced records of meetings between then Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in September 1972 in his book titled, "Nihon no Kokkyo Mondai: Senkaku, Takeshima and Hopporyodo" (Japan's border issues: Senkaku Islands, Takeshima islands and northern territories) in the Chikuma Shinsho series published by Chikumashobo Ltd. The book says on Page 74: Zhou: "Japan and China should seek major common interests and overcome minor differences." Tanaka: "I can basically understand what Premier Zhou is saying well. I side with Premier Zhou's opinion that we should put aside minor differences on specific issues and seek major common interests." Tanaka: "What do you think about the Senkaku Islands? Some people say things about them to me." Zhou: "I don't want to talk about the Senkaku Islands at this time. It's not good to discuss this now. It became an issue because of the oil out there. If there wasn't oil, neither Taiwan nor the United States would make this an issue." Official record shows different context According to the database of Japanese Politics and International Relations of the University of Tokyo's Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, which covers disclosed records of the Tanaka-Zhou meetings, however, one cannot help but notice the way Magosaki quoted their conversations could cause misunderstanding. The Tanaka-Zhou meetings were held four times over four days. Zhou made the remark-"Japan and China should seek major common interests"-during the first meeting on Sept. 25, 1972, while Tanaka's "I side with" remark was made during the second meeting the next day. Furthermore, those remarks were made in contexts unrelated to the Senkaku issue. It was during the third meeting on Sept. 27 that Tanaka asked Zhou about his recognition of the Senkaku Islands and Zhou replied, "I don't want to talk about..." Magosaki stitched together quotes from the talks between Tanaka and Zhou. On Page 76 of his book, Magosaki also said, "It was the meeting between [then Chinese Vice Premier] Deng Xiaoping and then Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda held at a time of negotiating the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship that had the most in-depth discussions between the two countries over the Senkaku issue." The treaty was signed on Aug. 12, 1978. Sonoda was in charge of negotiating with Beijing. Sonoda did indeed say at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on May 30, 1979, "The Chinese side has its own assertion over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands." "I think an idea of leaving the situation as it is would also be good for Japan's own interests," he said. However, Sonoda clearly said at the lower house's plenary session the following day, "The issue of the Senkaku Islands is neither a condition nor agenda for the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship. The territorial issue is not being discussed." A senior Foreign Ministry official brushed aside Magosaki's assertion, saying, "If [Japan and China] agreed to shelve the Senkaku issue, China must have made some document on that." Senkaku 'choke points' to check China's Pacific advance In October 2013, about one month before China established an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, the People's Liberation Army Navy carried out a large-scale military drill called Maneuver-5 on the high seas about 700 kilometers south of Okinawa main island. All three major fleets of the PLA Navy-the North Sea Fleet, East Sea Fleet and South Sea Fleet-participated in the drill, which was one of the largest naval exercises China had ever carried out in the Pacific Ocean. The PLA Navy has demonstrated "the unswerving will and determination of the PLAN to safeguard China's national sovereignty and maritime interests," Rear Adm. Liao Shining, the navy's deputy chief of staff, said proudly. China has adopted an anti-access/area denial (A2AD) strategy, with which it aims to prevent U.S. forces from coming close to the mainland. The primary focus of the strategy is to prevent direct attacks on Beijing by keeping the U.S. forces' powerful strike capabilities, including those of aircraft carriers, at a distance from the mainland. In addition, if Chinese nuclear-powered submarines can freely enter the Pacific Ocean, China will be able to attack the U.S. mainland, giving it a major advantage in negotiations with the United States. "The ultimate goal of Maneuver-5 exercise was to secure naval supremacy in the northwestern Pacific. The maximum range of U.S. cruise missiles is 3,000 kilometers. The sea area where Maneuver-5 was conducted matches the area including points where the U.S. forces are assumed to fire cruise missiles at Beijing [if the United States has to attack Beijing]," said Keiichi Kawanaka, former associate professor at the National Defense Academy. However, there are two major hurdles that the Chinese Navy must overcome to move around freely in the western Pacific. One is to establish "air superiority" to a degree where Chinese battleships would not be attacked by U.S. fighter jets. During the period of the Maneuver-5, Chinese Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft and H-6 bombers participated in the drill, passing over the high seas between Okinawa Island and Miyakojima island of Okinawa Prefecture daily. Such moves by Chinese military aircraft into the airspace over the Pacific have been conspicuous since the summer 2013. Setting up the ADIZ in the East China Sea is the first step to securing air superiority, some experts say. "China deepened its confidence over air command in airspace distant from the mainland during the Maneuver-5. This became a strong motive for the country's setting-up of the ADIZ," Kawanaka said in his analysis. Another hurdle is to secure safe passage in the Nansei Islands, including the Senkaku Islands. At a symposium hosted by a U.S. Navy-related organization on Jan. 16, 2014, in a Washington suburb, retired Vice Adm. Yoji Koda, former commander in chief of the Self-Defense Fleet of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, emphasized, "From China's A2AD strategy point of view, Japan's Nansei Islands constitute to be 'hard choke points' against the PLA forces' advancement into the Western Pacific in trying to realize the strategy." He said in the same context, "Stable and firm control of these 'choke points' will surely be one of most important roles and missions of Japan and the SDF under the Japan- U.S. alliance to counter and suppress China's challenge to realize the A2AD strategy." If Japan steadily defends the Nansei Islands, continuing to allow the SDF to be deployed at any time, Chinese military vessels will be unable to easily venture out to the Pacific, as they fear attacks, including those using antiship missiles. For such military strategy-based reasons, China has been adamant about changing the status quo of Japan's effective control over the Senkaku Islands. China eager to develop, deploy China has been eagerly advancing the development and deployment of weapons and equipment needed to realize A2AD. Preliminary stage deployment of the antiship ballistic missile Dong Feng (DF)-21D has already begun, according to the U.S. Defense Department. The PLA Air Force is reportedly developing next-generation stealth fighters J-20 and J-31, with a timetable for practical deployment seen within several years. There were reports in 2013 that there had been a test flight of the stealth combat drone Ligian (Sharp Sword). China has been hastily developing unmanned vehicles, it was also reported. The PLA Navy has been moving forward with the deployment of its first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier, a version of the Aegis destroyer known as Chengdu, as well as submarines. The Chengdu is seen as an important part of an aircraft carrier battle group. Chinese military forces are also equipped with the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a Chinese own version of the Global Positioning System (GPS), designed to improve the precision of missiles and operate drones. The BDS already covers almost all of Asia, the western Pacific Ocean and Australia. Employing fishing boats equipped with the BDS, the Chinese military has been gathering intelligence on foreign naval vessels and aircraft. 2 The Long Road to Collective Self-Defense Japan-U.S. pact to enter new stage "The Japan-U.S. alliance will enter into a different sphere, as the exercise of the right of collective self-defense will become a great deterrent." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could hardly contain himself as he made this comment to his aides in late June 2014, as the government saw its prospects of changing the interpretation of the Constitution to allow the nation to exercise this right brighten. On July 1, the government decided on a reinterpretation of the Constitution to allow limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense during a Cabinet meeting, a major turning point for the country's security policy in the postwar era. Abe sometimes complains that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is too close to China. However, considering that China has repeatedly carried out provocative and aggressive actions around Japanese territory and North Korea continues to develop ballistic missiles and other weapons, Japan has no alternative but to deepen the Japan- U.S. alliance through joint military exercises and the unification of operation plans to handle emergencies. "In several years, it may become impossible to protect the Senkaku Islands only with the Maritime Self-Defense Force. It will be too late when such a situation becomes a reality," Abe reportedly said. At the risk of criticism within the country, Abe pushed forward efforts to change the constitutional interpretation. Besides his wariness over the rise of China and outbursts from North Korea, Abe sought to realize the reinterpretation of the Constitution because he felt the U.S. position as "world policeman" had eroded. 'Not friends' When Abe spoke of changing the constitutional interpretation, he often said, "If someone cannot help his or her friend, they are not friends." The prime minister obviously meant that when the Japan- U.S. alliance based on trust is undermined, the alliance will become a worthless piece of paper. When Obama visited Japan in April 2014, Abe spoke with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who had accompanied Obama. Abe mentioned the example of "friends," and explained that under the current constitutional interpretation, Japan could not protect U.S. vessels carrying civilians escaping some disaster. In response, Rice reportedly said such a relationship could not be called an alliance, and she called on the prime minister to push forward with the review of the constitutional interpretation concerning the exercise of the right of collective self-defense. At a press conference on July 1, 2014, Abe mentioned a statement by a U.S. high-ranking official that encouraged him to work on the issue. "I was urged to seriously consider whether the U.S. public would continue to trust Japan if a Self-Defense Forces' vessel did not take any action when a nearby U.S. vessel that was protecting Japan came under attack." On the other hand, Abe stressed that the Cabinet decision will not change the basic interpretation of the current Constitution. "The existing principle that dispatching troops overseas is prohibited in general will not change at all," he said. "There will never be a case in which the Self-Defense Forces will participate in combat in wars such as the Gulf War and the Iraq War." Abe emphasized that the latest Cabinet decision will further decrease the risk that Japan is dragged into war. "I want to clearly say once again that Japan will never become a country that wages war again," he said. Points of Cabinet decision on July 1, 2014 * The use of minimum necessary force is permitted under the Constitution when an armed attack takes place against a foreign country with which Japan has close relations and there is a clear danger that the people's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be fundamentally undermined. * There are cases in which the use of force has its basis in the right of collective self-defense under international law. * Discussions will be carried out to speed up the issuance of commands and other procedures to deal with an infringement that does not amount to an armed attack. Legislation will be established to enable the Self-Defense Forces to protect weapons and other supplies used by U.S. military units engaged in defending Japan. * Legislation will be established to enable the SDF to come to the rescue of civilians or foreign troops in remote locations when certain conditions, including the provision of consent by the government of a country to which the SDF is dispatched, are met. * The SDF will be able to provide logistic support for foreign troops in areas other than those in which the "troops are engaged in acts of combat." China's defense budget quadruples Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's top security concern is China's military strength. China has increased its defense spending annually by 10 percent or more in recent years, as well as accelerating modernization of its military equipment. The defense budget announced by Beijing in March 2014, was about 808.2 billion yuan (\12.93 trillion), up by 12 percent from last year and quadruple the figure 10 years ago. Despite appeals for transparency, China has not broken down its defense budget figures. The defense spending increase is aimed mainly at the rapid modernization of its weaponry. The Chinese Navy began operating its first aircraft carrier Liaoning in 2012, and the air force is developing an advanced type of stealth fighter jet. Some experts speculate that China may be able to commission its first domestically built aircraft carrier in the early 2020s. Meanwhile, Japan's defense budget has remained flat and the United States is being forced to make significant cuts to achieve fiscal reconstruction. A senior Defense Ministry official said, "The military power of Japan and the United States is much greater than that of China now, but the gap is narrowing." The greatest concern now may be intensifying provocative actions by the Chinese armed forces. In May and June, 2014, Chinese fighter planes made extremely close approaches to Self-Defense Forces aircraft over the East China Sea. The Chinese fleet and submarines are also increasing their scope of activities around Japan and in the western Pacific. In 2012, North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile that reportedly can reach the west coast of the United States, and is now developing nuclear weapons. The security environment in East Asia is becoming increasingly hazardous. LDP's compromise for agreement with coalition partner One of the highest hurdles Abe had to clear before the Cabinet decision was to get an approval from its coalition partner, Komeito. The wishes of Komeito, which called itself a party for peace since its inauguration 50 years ago and has been reluctant to endorse reinterpretation of the Constitution, were taken into consideration when composing the final draft of a Cabinet decision on exercising the right of collective self-defense. However, the agreement left important issues to be addressed later by the Diet, including how to handle collective security. "A strictly defensive posture will be maintained and [Japan] will not become a major military power that could threaten other nations." "If a dispute takes place, the maximum possible diplomatic efforts will be made to resolve it peacefully." The final text of the Cabinet decision incorporated the above two sentences at Komeito's request. Such revisions were made in response to criticism from those opposed to "becoming a war-ready nation," and are intended to show that Japan will continue to be a pacifist country that values peaceful solutions above all else. Additions describing how the changing security environment has necessitated collective self-defense as a defensive measure, and on the importance of increasing deterrence by strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance, increased the overall length of the text by 20 percent, a government source said. The government and the LDP approached the negotiations with Komeito with an attitude that "any wishes for how things are expressed would be accommodated," the sources said. In the end, it was agreed that three new conditions for mobilizing the right of self-defense could only be invoked in situations when Japan's continued existence is threatened and there is a clear danger that the people's lives and rights will be fundamentally undermined. Moreover, it was decided that when a situation arises, the government would determine whether to exercise the right of self-defense based on these conditions. Minesweeping operations in sea lanes was one point of contention on which agreement was not reached. It was proposed that participation would be allowed if the effect on Japan was to be inordinately large, but not if the effect was expected to be more minor. The LDP saw such situations as appropriate to exercising the right of collective self-defense, according to a high-ranking party member. But according to Komeito Vice President Kazuo Kitagawa, "Just having mines laid in a sea lane isn't enough to merit [invoking the right of collective self-defense]." Battle over an adverb Regarding the issue of collective security, there was a battle over a single word at a meeting of the ruling parties. Komeito deputy chief Kazuo Kitagawa criticized a provision in the final draft that said the nation's right of collective self-defense "could also be" a reason for the use of force mentioned earlier in the draft. "Does 'also' mean that collective security is included?" Kitagawa wanted to know. Komeito is cautious about collective security. The expression "could also be" was based on the LDP's position. Even if Japan independently begins minesweeping in sealanes by exercising its right of collective self-defense, that same activity would become an act of collective security in the eyes of the international community if the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution urging member nations to sweep mines in sea-lanes and take other measures. Collective security refers to the use of force approved under the U.N. framework. LDP members put the meaning of collective security in "also" because they worry that Japan would have to stop all its activities after the adoption of such a U.N. resolution if the use of force under collective security was categorically excluded from the draft. However, Komeito leaders opposed this, arguing it would be impossible to consolidate opinion within their party if collective security was included in the discussion. Accepting the request from Komeito, LDP agreed to change the expression to "could be" in the draft to be endorsed by the Cabinet. LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura, who chairs the meetings between the two parties, said collective security has not been an official agenda item of their discussions. If Komeito wants the wording to be changed, "also" should be taken out, Komura said. In reality, however, the government and the LDP have informally established a policy that the SDF could continue its activities even after a U.N. resolution was adopted, if those activities meet the new three conditions to allow the exercise of Japan's self-defense right and are not acts of combat to harm an enemy. The government's written answer to the Diet, which was endorsed by the Cabinet in June, 2014, also stipulates that the SDF can continue its activities even if a U.N. resolution is adopted when the individual self-defense right is exercised. Self-defense change certain to strengthen U.S. alliance The government's decision to approve the limited exercise of its collective self-defense right is certain to cement its alliance with the United States further. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed strong support for the decision at his meeting with then Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera in Washington on July 11, 2014. Now, attention is being focused on what measures to enhance the alliance will be included in drafting new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, observers said. Hagel said at a press conference held after the Japan-U.S. defense ministerial meeting at the Pentagon that Tokyo's approval for the limited exercise of the collective self-defense right allows Japan to be involved more actively in areas such as defending against ballistic missile attacks, preventing weapons of mass destruction from proliferating and participating in military exercises with U.S. forces. "We can raise our alliance to a new level [with the decision], and we intend to do that," Hagel emphasized. Onodera and Hagel have paved a way for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, which was stalled under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government, and turbocharged discussions on enhancement of the Japan-U.S. alliance, said officials of both governments. Particularly, the U.S. side considers the Japanese government's new view on its national security, including the approval for the limited exercise of its collective self-defense right, as marking a new era in the Japan-U.S. alliance because it reduces restrictions on the roles the Self-Defense Forces can play and enables the two countries to carry out joint drills in peacetime, which assume integrated operations of the SDF and U.S. forces at the time of emergencies. Both Onodera and Hagel expressed their desire to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance at the press conference. "This bold, historic, landmark decision will enable Japan to significantly increase its contribution to regional and global security and expand its role on the world stage," said Hagel. Onodera said, "Revision of the guidelines will reflect contents of the Cabinet decision and become groundbreaking." Washington expects the SDF to play a larger role because it has set a "rebalance" policy to emphasize the Asia-Pacific region but is forced to cut defense spending to rehabilitate its fiscal condition. The United States is trying to expand its trade with Asia-Pacific countries with their economies booming, but North Korea is proceeding with development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and China is intensifying its hegemonic activities, such as its aggressive advance into the East and South China seas. Furthermore, cyber-attacks allegedly committed by the Chinese military have continued against U.S. companies. Though the security environment is unstable in the Asia- Pacific region, the United States, which is already exhausted fighting in Iraq and in other wars, has found it to be too heavy a burden for it to deal with the situation alone. In reality, Washington is said to want Japan, a U.S. ally, to shoulder part of its security burden. An official at the Pentagon said that Japan will become close to a reliable ally to the United States like Britain and Australia, if the revision of the guidelines increases options in Japan-U.S. security cooperation and expands the range of activities the SDF can do. As one measure to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, Onodera said during a lecture in Washington that cooperation in defense equipment is also significant. The SDF has decided to introduce F-35s, state-of-the-art stealth fighters, and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. This move is expected to make joint drills smoother on the assumption that responses to emergencies can be better coordinated if U.S. forces and the SDF use common equipment, observers said. Remote islands key in guidelines During their meeting on July 11, 2014, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and his U.S. counterpart, Chuck Hagel, recon- firmed a schedule for formally deciding on the Guidelines for Japan- U.S. Defense Cooperation by the end of 2014 after releasing an interim report of the new guidelines in autumn, sources said. The focus of the bilateral defense guidelines revisions is expected to be on how the two nations will cooperate to address so-called gray-zone situations, cases that cannot be immediately judged as armed attacks. A case such as the seizure of remote islands, including the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, by an armed group disguised as fishermen is considered to be a gray-zone situation. The United States clarified its stance that Article 5 of the Japan- U.S. Security Treaty, which stipulates the obligation of the United States to defend Japan, applies to the Senkaku Islands. However, some observers say Japan cannot expect the U.S. military to come to its aid when the case is a gray-zone situation. The current defense guidelines revised in 1997 have given special emphasis to dealing with emergencies on the Korean Peninsula, and they do not provide clear stipulations on how to deal with gray-zone situations. The government hopes to secure the U.S. military's involvement in defending the nation in the future by stipulating the roles of the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military in the defense of remote islands, including in the case of gray-zone situations, sources said. Regarding emergencies on the Korean Peninsula, if a restriction on SDF actions deemed inseparable from the use of force by another country is eased on the basis of the government's new interpretation of the Constitution, it will be possible to expand the scope of the SDF's logistic support to the U.S. forces. Countermeasures for cyber-attacks, as well as cooperation in space fields, including maritime surveillance using satellites will be stipulated in the revised guidelines, sources said. Onodera clarified the aims of the guidelines revisions at a press conference on July 11, 2014, saying, "We'd like to ensure the contents [of the guidelines] allow Japan and the United States to cooperate seamlessly and swiftly together in cases ranging from normal circumstances, including gray-zone situations, to emergencies." SDF at crossroads after 60 years The Self-Defense Forces marked the 60th anniversary of its inauguration on July 1, 2014, same day as the Cabinet decided on a reinterpretation of the Constitution. There was a time when the SDF was given only second-tier status due to its connection with Article 9 of the Constitution, but today it has developed into a government organization regarded favorably by over 90 percent of Japanese. Depending on the course of Diet discussions on Japan's right of collective self-defense, however, the SDF might be ordered to carry out challenging missions it has never done before. Standing at a crossroads, it is also true that men and women in uniform feel uncertain about the future of the SDF. With the enforcement of the Defense Agency and Self-Defense Forces laws on July 1, 1954, the agency and the SDF came into being. The SDF is based on the National Security Force established in 1952, which grew out of the National Police Reserve created in 1950. Currently, the three branches of the SDF have a total of 225,000 members. "I couldn't even think of wearing a uniform when I commuted to the office," Hiroshi Morishige said, recalling the early days of the SDF when the public viewed it with a stern eye. Morishige, now 86, dealt with the 1985 crash of the Japan Airlines passenger jet and other incidents as chief of staff at the Air Self-Defense Force. When he was in the ASDF, a few schools refused to enroll some children because their fathers were SDF members. In 1960, when protest movements over the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty were at their height, Morishige witnessed demonstrators, who had surrounded the Diet Building, heading to the former Defense Agency building in the Roppongi district. Fearing they might occupy the agency, he rushed to the roof of the agency to incinerate classified documents, Morishige said. He even suffered personal damage when a terrorist set his house on fire in 1992, though he had already retired from the SDF at that time. However, times have changed. According to a 2012 survey by the Cabinet Office, a record 91.7 percent of respondents said they had favorable impressions of the SDF. Photo books and TV dramas on SDF members are very popular today. "SDF members, which had put up with such slander as 'tax-money snatchers' and 'violators of the Constitution,' are steadily working on disaster aid, peacekeeping operations and daily training," Morishige said proudly. "What the Self-Defense Forces is today is the result of various achievements made over the 60 years," said Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Joint Staff who heads the SDF. A 21-year-old sergeant who has volunteered for a threemonth ranger training course at the Ground Self-Defense Force's Fuji School Brigade said, "I watch video footage of U.S. forces in Iraq and other places to form mental pictures" to supplement his lack of experience in real combat. Rangers infiltrate hostile areas to carry out their missions. In a five-day training program that started June 27, 2014, the sergeant and others in the ranger course were to trek through the mountains of Izu Peninsula and other places, each carrying more than 40 kilograms of gear on his back. Eight of the 24 trainees have already quit the course because they could not endure the hard training. Today, not only the GSDF but also the Maritime and Air Self-Defense forces are facing a wider range of missions. But expectations for rangers with excellent physical performances are exceptionally high in the GSDF, which faces new challenges such as establishing a unit to regain control of a remote island occupied by an enemy. The sergeant wants to be assigned to a special operations unit engaged in counterterrorism operations in the future. If he is assigned to such a unit, the sergeant could be dispatched to a dangerous area abroad. His 23-year-old fiancee, who is also an SDF member, said: "I respect what he wants to do...All I can do is pray for him to return safely if he goes on a dangerous mission." If the exercise of the right of collective self-defense is permitted in the near future, the SDF is more likely to use force overseas. A senior SDF officer expressed concern that this might cause a worsening of the favorable public impression the SDF has built up over a long time. "If we are dispatched on a mission abroad that divides public opinion," he said. "How will the public see the SDF then?" Web edition part 2 Speech Clip to Evernote inShare Myth and Truth in East Asia

Myth and Truth in East Asai 2

1:05 pm, November 06, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun 3 Chilly Ties with South Korea Public, private sectors pouring oil on flames Bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea have chilled dramatically in recent years. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a speech in March 2013: "The historic dynamic of one party being a perpetrator and the other party a victim will remain unchanged even after 1,000 years have passed." Is it impossible to remove anti-Japanese sentiment from the hearts of South Korean people? "We will cast Japan out of Asia." This is the strident message of the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), a South Korean civil organization with about 120,000 members, mainly young people. VANK also wants to call the Sea of Japan "Donghae," or East Sea, and insists that "Dokdo [Takeshima islets] is territory of South Korea." SLIDE 1 OF 1 Asahi Shimbun President Tadakazu Kimura, center, bows in apology on Sept. 11, 2014, in Tokyo. It says such claims are "correct knowledge" and transmits these views around the world. The organization has compiled actions conducted by the defunct Imperial Japanese Army such as the Nanjing Incident and Bataan Death March into a video and made it available on the Internet. The video was made in English and appears to have been designed to spread the image of an "atrocious and inhumane Japan" to the world to fuel anti- Japanese sentiment. It is generally known that the Imperial Japanese Army killed many Chinese people in the Nanjing Incident in 1937. China says "more than 300,000" people were killed, but the basis of this figure is unclear. A Japanese historian says the number is about 40,000. The Japanese government's position is that it is "difficult to recognize a correct figure." The Bataan Death March refers to an incident that took place in April 1942 on the Bataan Peninsula of the Philippines' Luzon Island, in which the Japanese military forced U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war to march for days under the scorching sun, resulting in many deaths. After World War II, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Honma, the commander of the Imperial Japanese Army's 14th Army stationed on the island, was sentenced to death by the U.S. military tribunal for Class B and C war crimes. To "cast out" Japan from Asia, VANK has a program to educate South Koreans to become special volunteers, dubbed "cyberdiplomats." The 12-step program includes spreading "correct knowledge" to overseas friends or sending protest letters to parties who "misunderstand" South Korea. VANK's activities have been heavily supported by the South Korean government and that country's companies. The South Korean government provided funds to the organization for four years from 2005. In February 2013, then South Korean President Le Myung Bak awarded an honorable recognition to Park Ki Tae, the leader of VANK. In 2008, major shochu brewery Jinro Ltd., currently Hite Jinro Co., donated 110 million won (about \10 million at the current exchange rate) to VANK. The money was used in a youth education program called Cyber Dokdo Academy, jointly promoted by VANK and the North Gyeonsang Province government. The program was designed to foster human resources that can spread the view to the international community that Takeshima in Shimane Prefecture, called Dokdo in South Korea, is a territory of South Korea. This joint drive by the public and private sectors of South Korea is part of a campaign called "Discount Japan," a new movement to undermine Japan's position in the international community. VANK leader Park told The Yomiuri Shimbun that VANK is fighting against Japanese politicians and right-wingers who promote a revival of imperialism. "We would like to positively share friendship with young Japanese who wish for peace in East Asia," he said. However, Kobe University Prof. Kan Kimura, an expert on Japan-South Korea relations, said: "VANK may be not intending to inflame nationalism. However, the South Korean government has skillfully taken the organization under its wing and is using its members as tools in the 'Discount Japan' campaign." The South Korean government has been promoting the "Discount Japan" campaign in various fields. Manga, a signature symbol of Japan's youth culture, is one such example. The South Korean Gender Equality and Family Ministry displayed dozen of manga stories based on the theme of socalled comfort women at an international manga festival in France. The ministry plans to distribute them to other countries after translating the stories into English, French and Japanese. Anti-Japan movements gain foothold in U.S. The raging tide of anti-Japan sentiment is not limited to South Koreans alone. In recent years, Americans of South Korean descent have been stepping up a similar campaign in the United States, as if to act in concert with the movement launched in South Korea. Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, is a U.S. city where such activities are under way. On July 30, 2013, a statue depicting a young girl intended to symbolize so-called comfort women was erected at a local park, at the initiative of the Korean American Forum of California, a pro-Seoul nonprofit organization. The figure closely resembles one built in front of the Japanese Embassy in the South Korean capital in late 2011. Comfort women refer to those who provided sexual services for officers and soldiers of the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army at comfort stations, most of them privately owned and operated, during World War II. The South Korean government has asserted that many women were forced into sexual slavery by the prewar Japanese army. The Japanese government has refuted the South Korean argument, saying none of its official records contain a description of such forcible conduct by the Japanese army. The Glendale city council's decision to approve the erection of the statue was preceded by a public hearing on July 9, 2013. The meeting was attended by many Japanese, Japanese- Americans and others. They included members of the Study Group for Japan's Rebirth, Southern California, a nonprofit organization working to improve Japan's international standing in the United States. The group is led by Koichi Mera, a Japanese resident in Los Angeles. During the public hearing, Mera and many others opposed the plan to erect the statue, dismissing as fiction the assertion that the Japanese government had forced women into sexual slavery during World War II. However, their argument was countered by local residents of South Korean descent who insisted there was no denying that Korean women had been forced to work as sex slaves. Some participants said the Japanese government had acknowledged its prewar army's involvement in controlling and managing comfort women, citing a statement issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993. Controversial Kono statement Kono's statement said the Imperial Japanese Army had been "directly or indirectly" involved in setting up and managing comfort stations. The statement was interpreted as Japan's own acknowledgment of its forcible action to take away such women. However, the statement was hardly supported by substantial evidence. (details in Chapter 4) During the July 9, 2013 public hearing, the plan for the statue was put to a vote, and four of five city council members voted in favor of the plan. In many other U.S. locations, similar movements related to the comfort women issue have been taken, including the erection of monuments and the adoption of city council resolutions. One such area was Bergen County, N.J., where a monument citing the issue was built in the front yard of a courthouse in March. Its inscription said the prewar Japanese army had forced Korean women to work as sex slaves. The structure stands alongside other monuments marking such historical events as the Holocaust by Nazi Germany and slavery in the United States. It was apparently intended to show the public that the prewar Japanese army's involvement in the provision of sexual services by comfort women must be treated as a historical atrocity like the Holocaust. Book boycott South Korean groups leading such anti-Japan campaigns are strongly united. They are also gaining political power with which they could swing U.S. public opinion. One such example is a campaign to boycott "So Far from the Bamboo Grove," a semi-autobiographical novel published by an American of Japanese descent, Yoko Kawashima Watkins, in 1986. The novel depicts the hardships experienced by a Japanese girl named Yoko during World War II. The Japaneselanguage translation of the book was published by a Tokyo publishing house in July 2013. Immediately after the end of the war, Watkins returned to Japan from the Korean Peninsula. As the wife of an American soldier, she moved to the United States. In "So Far from the Bamboo Grove," she recounts the misery of war by speaking of her own experience. In 1998, the novel was cited as recommended reading by a U.S. guidebook for teachers and became reading material for American students. However, controversy arose in South Korea when the novel's Korean-language edition was published there in 2005. Objections were raised over the book's descriptions of Koreans sexually assaulting Japanese women and plundering Japanese. But the novel also depicts Koreans who treated Yoko's family kindly and helped them. The book's Korean-language edition was withheld from publication in 2007. In the United States, those of South Korean descent initiated a campaign to boycott the book, asserting that the novel was a historical distortion of Japan's colonial rule over the peninsula. The book was removed from the list of suggested readings in some areas. It is of great value to South Korea that the anti-Japanese movement is based in a superpower like the United States. In October 2013, a delegation of South Korean parliamentarians visited the United States. In a meeting with South Korean diplomats there, they urged the diplomats to increase the number of American supporters of their country, insisting that the so-called comfort women issue must be resolved within the international community. However, it must be recognized that an extreme anti-Japan campaign by pro-South Korea citizens in the United States could produce the opposite effect of what was intended. Citizens of the United States, a nation traditionally built on immigration, are inclined to be skeptical toward any disputes over how people from two different nations perceive facts related to their historical relationship. James Schoff, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the United States would not support one side in dealing with two nations with which it is on friendly terms. As things now stand, the Japanese government has not yet taken any measures to counter South Korea's anti-Japanese campaign. "If South Korea goes too far, it will earn them international distrust," said an official from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul who asked not to be identified. This sentiment was echoed by a Foreign Ministry official who said: "What one should consider in thinking about diplomacy is how his or her country appears to the rest of the world. "South Korea's current behavior makes it look as if it were on the way to committing suicide." "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" ~ girl's hazardous journey to safety In July 1945, Yoko, an 11-year-old Japanese girl, left her home, which was surrounded by bamboo groves, in Nanam, a city in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with her mother and sister. Yoko's family had heard a rumor that the Soviet army would invade the city, so they decided to return to Japan. The family's escape to Pusan (present-day Busan) was a hazardous journey of over 1,000 kilometers. Over and over again, Yoko witnessed Korean men sexually attacking Japanese women. The three shaved their heads, hoping to look like men, and managed to escape such a danger. It took them two months to arrive in Busan. They boarded a freighter heading for Japan, finally reaching safety. Japanese Embassy, textbooks also targeted As a chorus of voices chanted repeatedly, a high school girl was so touched by the scene that she began to cry. Meanwhile, primary school children led by their teacher were carrying placards containing such messages as "Many countries have suffered because of Japan's depraved desires," and "The hearts of old ladies who were sex slaves have been tainted." In the afternoon of Nov. 6, 2013, a crowd of about 200 people, mainly young people, gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. It was the scene of weekly demonstrations against Japan over the so-called comfort women issue. The following Wednesday, the demonstrations, which began in 1992, marked their 1,100th iteration. At that important juncture, a representative of a civic group known as the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan made a speech. Many reporters were in attendance to cover the event. A 22-year-old female university student from Daejeon who took part in the demonstration told The Yomiuri Shimbun: "I'm studying English so I can let people abroad know about the comfort women issue. To resolve the issue, I think we should join these demonstrations more often." The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates that it is the duty of a hosting country to protect the safety of embassies. According to South Korean law, assemblies and demonstrations are banned within 100 meters of a foreign diplomatic establishment. But local police simply stood by watching the demonstrations held in front of the Japanese Embassy, effectively giving tacit approval. In South Korea, there is a word that translates to "anti-Japan innocence," meaning anything is pardonable as long as it is anti-Japan. In this country, being labeled pro-Japan can even cost a person his or her life. In May, 2013, there were news reports that a 95-year-old man who spoke nostalgically of the days under Japan's colonial rule of Korea was beaten to death at a park in Seoul. There were a spate of writings on the Internet defending the perpetrator. Kim Wan Seop, a critic who wrote "A written plea in favor of Japan," in which he praised Japanese colonial rule in Korea, was fiercely criticized and even physically assaulted. The publication was later designated as "harmful to young people" and its sale was effectively banned. Startling remarks about Japan have been boldly carried by local newspapers. The Chosun Ilbo, the daily with the country's largest circulation, carried in early September an essay written by a contributor titled "How to conquer Japan through the use of feng shui." According to the article, a temple called Jissoji was built in South Korea to cut off the air flow from the continent to Japan. "Every time you strike a map of Japan carved on the temple bell, another blow is dealt to Mt. Fuji," the article said. The contributor was a professor at Woosuk University in Jeonju. South Korean history education is one of the factors behind what a source who is well versed in Japan-South Korean relations calls "senseless anti-Japan sentiment." In South Korea, government-designated textbooks were formulated under the administration of then President Park Chung Hee, promoting history education that is strongly tinged with nationalism. From fiscal 1974 to 2009, primary, middle and high schools each used only one government-designated history book. Currently, primary schools must use a designated history textbook, while a textbook screening system was adopted for middle and high schools in fiscal 2010, allowing them to select a history textbook from among several choices. "The History of South Korea," the government-designated textbook used until recently at middle schools, described Japan's prewar rule over Korea as "an oppressive and inhumane rule through military power," and one that "reduced [people in South Korea] to the state of slavery." Regarding the Takeshima islets in Shimane Prefecture, the textbook said, "Japan unilaterally placed it into its territory, but our nation recovered it when we liberated ourselves from Japan's rule." Such statements are used to justify South Korea's illegal occupation of the islands. People who underwent such an education now have pivotal roles in South Korean society. On the subject of education, President Park Geun-hye made a surprising proposal on Nov. 14, 2013. During her speech in Seoul, she proposed the "publication of a common history textbook to be used across Northeast Asia." Yet Japan and South Korea have been trying to conduct joint research by historians for more than 10 years since 2002. According to Hiroshi Furuta, a professor at University of Tsukuba who took part in the research, the two sides failed to reach any accommodation. When the Japanese side tried to use objective data, the South Korean side would get angry, refusing to accept Japan's arguments. Furuta, a scholar of East Asian politics, said South Korea will never create a history textbook based on objective historical facts. Attempts at joint research Joint studies on history between Japan and South Korea have been conducted twice in the past. The first, which began in 2002, started when Seoul was upset over descriptions in a history textbook in Japan, which later developed into a diplomatic issue. Eleven history scholars from each side took part and published a report in 2005. As seen in the report, both sides failed to narrow their differences over major issues of contention, including the legitimacy of the 1910 treaty on Japan's annexation of Korea and the handling of South Koreans' rights to seek wartime damages from Japan. The report documented the opinions of both sides. The second joint study was held from 2007 to 2010, while a subgroup was newly established to discuss the textbook issue. The South Korean side criticized a history book in Japan, saying it described Japan's aggression on the Korean Peninsula using weak language. Meanwhile, the Japanese side called it problematic that South Korea had mixed together the issues of the so-called comfort women and the wartime labor mobilization system in which women worked in factories. During summit talks in December 2011, then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak agreed to hold a third round of joint research, but it has not yet begun. Funds offered as atonement The Japanese and South Korean governments confirmed that the issue of war reparations between the two nations was settled by their 1965 accord on the right to claim war reparations and economic cooperation. The Japanese government nonetheless provided livelihood support to former comfort women through the Asian Women's Fund, established in July 1995 and disbanded in March 2007. The fund-with donations from the Japanese people and \4.8 billion from taxpayers' money-offered an atonement payment and supported groups that provide medical and welfare services to those women. The atonement money was delivered with a letter of apology from the incumbent prime minister to 285 former comfort women in South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. In South Korea, however, a campaign to reject the atonement money was launched, and a series of incidents was reported about former comfort women being harassed for receiving the money. As a result, only 60 of about 240 people who came forward as having served as comfort women filed an application to receive the money. After the fund was disbanded, the Japanese government covered medical checkup costs for the women and provided medicine through nonprofit organizations. According to the Foreign Ministry, Japan has secured a yearly budget of \10 million to support former comfort women since fiscal 2007. Concessions to South Korea 'led to nothing' Relations between Tokyo and Seoul were further strained in August 2012, when then South Korean President Lee Myung Bak visited the Takeshima islets in Shimane Prefecture. South Korea claims the islands. Noda regarded Lee's visit as a betrayal of Japan's desire to improve relations. In an interview carried in the morning edition of The Yomiuri Shimbun's Oct. 29, 2013 issue, Noda expressed frustration that Lee had taken such a step amid a decline in his approval rating. "I believed he had taken an apparently anti-Japanese action, calculating his behavior in connection with his [falling] support rate. I argued with myself why this extraordinary situation was going on," Noda said. Since the two nations normalized diplomatic ties in 1965, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has apparently sought to appeal to Seoul with logic and emotion-70 percent affection and 30 percent logical reasoning. This approach has been adopted in consideration of Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula before and during World War II. With that past in mind, the ministry has paid heartfelt attention to the stance taken by South Korea in dealing with bilateral issues, not just thinking about them logically. However, a senior ministry official has said he feels such lines of thinking may be outdated today. He said Japanese concessions to South Korea have led to nothing. This sentiment is shared by others. "We shouldn't compromise our principles when dealing with South Korea," a close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. Japan's efforts upended by 'moving goalposts' Some Japanese government officials are beginning to think of South Korea as "moving goalposts." The phrase suggests that Japan has been unable to "score a goal" because the target is always moving. The metaphor shows that Japanese efforts to improve bilateral relations will always be met by South Korea's moves to escalate its demand for an apology from Tokyo, leaving the situation with no resolution in sight. Over the years, Japan has repeatedly apologized for its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula before and during World War II. The Japan-South Korea joint communique issued prior to the normalization of bilateral ties in 1965 stated that "....there have been unfortunate times [in the two nations' historical relations], it is truly regrettable and we are deeply remorseful." On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war's end on Aug. 15, 1995, then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama expressed "feelings of deep remorse" for the suffering inflicted on other Asian nations by Japan's wartime conduct. Emperor Showa also expressed a similar sentiment. In 1984, he met then South Korean President Chun Doo Hwan during the latter's visit to Tokyo. In the meeting, the Emperor said it was "indeed regrettable" that there was an unfortunate past between the two countries. However, South Korea demanded a more explicitly worded apology from Japan. Tokyo and Seoul coordinated their opinions in negotiations over the issue. In 1990, the current Emperor expressed "the deepest remorse" in a meeting with Chun's successor, Roh Tae Woo. In August 2012, however, then South Korean President Lee Myung Bak said, "[The Emperor] does not need to visit [South Korea] if 'the deepest remorse' was the only phrase he could find after months of agonizing rumination." 4 Investigating Reports on 'Comfort Women' Delayed apology On Sept. 11, 2014, The Asahi Shimbun, Japan's second-largest newspaper expressed a formal apology for the delay in correcting the misreporting regarding the issue of so-called comfort women. In a news conference on the day, Tadakazu Kimura, president of the Asahi, said, "I apologize to our readers for carrying the erroneous articles and being too late in making the correction." In a special feature in its Aug. 5 morning edition, the Asahi carried the results of an in-house investigation into its past reports on comfort women. The newspaper admitted that the account given by Seiji Yoshida-who said comfort women had been forcibly gathered on South Korea's Jeju Island-was false and retracted at least 16 articles that were based on it. But it had not offered any apology for publishing the articles, drawing a barrage of harsh criticism. The Asahi said it would establish a third-party panel consisting of lawyers, historians and journalists to conduct a thorough review of the impact of its comfort women coverage on Japan-South Korea relations and the international community. Yoshida's account was quoted in the report that Radhika Coomaraswamy submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 1996. The Asahi had argued that it is important that there was coercion in a broad sense, but it was criticized as simply switching the point of contention. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blamed the Asahi shortly after the press conference, saying on a radio program that the newspaper's reporting on the issue of comfort women tarnished Japan's honor. "It's true that many people have suffered, and Japan's honor has been stained in the international community because of [the Asahi Shimbun's] erroneous reporting," Abe said on the radio program. 3 decades of debate It was thirty-two years ago when The Asahi Shimbun first reported unverified remarks that Korean women were "forcibly taken away" to serve as so-called comfort women during World War II. The Asahi's stories on the comfort women issue over the decades have been a significant factor in the entrenchment of the distorted view that "the Japanese military systematically and forcibly took away women to serve as comfort women" for its soldiers. Even today, this fabrication about the comfort women is being dispersed around the world, and there is little likelihood it will be rectified anytime soon. The Japanese government "should ensure that all allegations of sexual slavery perpetrated by Japanese military during wartime against the 'comfort women' are effectively, independently and impartially investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished." On July 23, 2014, the U.N. Human Rights Committee made this recommendation during a session in Geneva. Although this is not legally binding, the panel also urged Tokyo to pay reparations to former comfort women and disclose "all evidence available." During discussions on the UNHRC report on Japan held on July 15-16, Osamu Yamanaka, the director of the Foreign Ministry's Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Division, had twice insisted that the term "sexual slaves" was not appropriate. However, his assertions were not accepted. Critical views of Japan are not limited to just the United Nations. According to the Foreign Ministry, two comfort women statues and six stone monuments dedicated to these women have been erected in the United States. More such statues have been built in South Korea. Most have been erected at the behest of groups of citizens with Korean ethnicity, and appear to be aimed at tightening the net of international opinion around Japan. One of the reasons why fierce scorn continues to be heaped on Japan almost 70 years after World War II ended is the belief that the Japanese government forcibly recruited and rounded up Korean women to serve as comfort women. The government has pored through its documents and other relevant materials but has not found one shred of evidence that the women were "forcibly taken away." Tracing the path back to where this fabrication started leads to an article in the Asahi's morning edition published by its Osaka Head Office on Sept. 2, 1982. Carried in the city news section, the article's Japanese headlines blared: "I also forcibly took Korean women" and "Violence inflicted as women taken against their will." Yoshida frequently quoted The detailed report was about remarks by Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to be the former head of the mobilization department of the Shimonoseki branch of Romu Hokoku-kai. The Asahi reported Yoshida's remarks during a speech in Osaka before he in July 1983 published a book on this topic, titled, "My war crimes: Forced transportation of Koreans." The Asahi reported on Yoshida's comments at least 16 times, including the original story. Researchers and other people began to raise doubts about the credibility of Yoshida's remarks from about 1992. Despite this, the Asahi ran a special report on Jan. 25, 1994, to mark the 115th anniversary of the newspaper's establishment in which it even boasted that its series of articles had helped make comfort women an international issue. On Aug. 5, 2014, the Asahi at last published a special review on its comfort women coverage, and finally admitted that Yoshida's remarks were false. It retracted some of the articles' contents. The most significant piece of evidence behind the claim that women had been "forcibly taken away" had crumbled. Suspicions over Yoshida statements ignored The remarks by Seiji Yoshida that spawned the fabrication that "comfort women had been forcibly taken away" were oddly vivid. An article in the Sept. 2, 1982, morning edition printed by The Asahi Shimbun's Osaka Head Office reported claims by Yoshida that he had rounded up and forcibly taken away 200 young women from Jeju Island, South Korea. The article said: "Ten fully armed Japanese soldiers took part in this. When we found a settlement, the soldiers would first surround it. Then, the nine subordinates of Yoshida would storm the settlement together. Young women were dragged out to the lane with their arms twisted behind their backs. These women were then shoved into the back of a truck covered with a canopy." The article also claimed Yoshida had forcibly rounded up as many as 950 Korean women to serve as comfort women over three years. With the apparent seal of approval from the Asahi, in July 1983 Yoshida published a book that expounded on his claims. Titled "My war crimes: Forced transportation of Koreans," the book was later translated into Korean. In 1992, Yoshida visited South Korea and even apologized to former comfort women. In time, the expression "forcibly taken away" became more widely used when referring to the treatment of these women. The Asahi continued to put wind in Yoshida's sails. In a column on Page 1 of the evening edition on Jan. 23, 1992, the Asahi lauded Yoshida for "having the guts" to step forward and speak about his involvement in the comfort women issue. Some readers apparently contacted the Asahi to voice their doubts over the veracity of Yoshida's claims. However, the March 3, 1992, version of the same column admonished these readers with a pointed comment: "There are things we don't want to know or believe. But we cannot properly record history without fighting such sentiments." Asahi changes the topic Even in South Korea, Yoshida's comments soon met with skepticism. Japanese historian Ikuhiko Hata conducted a research survey on Jeju Island and published a paper in the June 1992 issue of the Seiron monthly magazine in which he "confirmed that Yoshida's remarks appear to be fabricated." The findings of Hata's survey also were carried in the April 30 morning edition of The Sankei Shimbun. Jeju Island should have been home to many people who had lived through the war and knew what had happened during those years. However, not one of them offered any statement that women had been hunted and forcibly taken away on the island. Hata also confirmed that in August 1989, a reporter from a Jeju local newspaper wrote in a review of Yoshida's book that "there are hardly any people whose testimony backs up his claims" about women being forcibly rounded up. Despite this, the Asahi has never properly addressed suggestions that Yoshida's remarks were untrue until recently. On March 31, 1997, The Asahi Shimbun's morning edition carried a special article on its coverage of the comfort women issue. However, the daily only said it was "unable to confirm the authenticity" of Yoshida's comments. Furthermore, the Asahi said "there is no reason to limit" the issue to one of women being "forcibly taken away." This time it argued that greater importance should be attached to the fact that those women were caught in a situation marked by a "coercive nature." Nobukatsu Fujioka, a visiting professor at Takushoku University and an expert on the comfort women issue, has derided the Asahi for adding this new concept to the mix at this late stage. "The Asahi wrote all these articles about women 'being forcibly taken away,' and then it comes out with the assertion that 'a coercive nature' is the heart of the problem," Fujioka said. "It has completely changed the subject." Mystery shrouds Yoshida According to Yoshida's eldest son, who is in his 60s, Yoshida adopted the name Seiji during an exchange of messages with the publisher of his 1977 book about Korean comfort women and Japanese people. The publisher, Shinjinbutsuoraisha, and Yoshida decided to use the penname Seiji, rather than his real name, Yuto. The names of real people who appeared in the book were all changed to fake names, and Yoshida reportedly mentioned that dates and places were also changed. Yoshida's eldest son remembers his father saying when the book was published, "This will make our family better off." Hata telephoned the publisher after Yoshida's book was released. The person in charge of the book told Hata, "That's a novel." In 1996, Hata phoned Yoshida to ask him whether his remarks about the comfort women were true. Yoshida allegedly told him, "The section about hunting for comfort women on Jeju was interspersed with fiction." Hata has labeled Yoshida a "professional con artist." Almost nothing is known about Yoshida's personal history before and during World War II. According to his eldest son, Yoshida spent some time after the war as the owner of a fertilizer company. After years of staying tight-lipped about the many questions surrounding the truthfulness of his remarks on comfort women, Yoshida died in Chiba Prefecture on July 30, 2000. He was 86. Yomiuri reported comments as false On the national news page of its evening edition on Aug. 15, 1992, The Yomiuri Shimbun carried an article with a headline "Meeting over comfort women issue held to reflect on 'war victims.'" The article reported on testimony made by Seiji Yoshida at the meeting, saying that he was involved in forcibly taking away Korean women. But since then, the Yomiuri has neither carried Yoshida's remarks nor run articles that could be construed as saying, on the basis of his testimony, that the women were forcibly taken away. 'Scoop' sheds light on victims On Aug. 11, 1991, The Asahi Shimbun morning edition published by its Osaka Head Office carried a major scoop on its city news page. Under the headline "Tears still well up when I remember," the article featured the statements of Kim Hak Sun, a former comfort woman living in Seoul. An almost identical article was printed in the Asahi's Tokyo edition the next day. The story was an exclusive that not even local South Korean media had covered. With its 1991 exclusive, the Asahi became the first media outlet in the world to share the human voice of a "victim" in this matter-a former comfort woman. With a comfort woman coming forward, the fabrications embedded in Asahi's coverage of this issue-that comfort women were forcibly rounded up and taken away-began to take on a touch of reality. Riddled with problems Penned by Takashi Uemura, the opening paragraph of the article began: "A 'Korean military comfort woman' forced to provide sexual services for Japanese military personnel after being taken to the combat zone under the name of the female volunteer corps during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II has been found living in Seoul..." From the beginning, the article gave the impression that the woman had been forcibly taken away by the Japanese military and forced to be a comfort woman. However, parts of the story are inconsistent. In the article, Kim explains that "when I was 17 [under the Korean way of counting ages; she was actually 16], I was tricked and made to serve as a comfort woman." Although the beginning of the Asahi story implied Kim was taken away as a member of the female volunteer corps, she herself said that was not the case. In the first place, comfort women and the volunteer corps who were mobilized to work in factories and elsewhere were completely different. Uemura wrote the article after listening to a tape recording of Kim's statements made by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, a support group for former comfort women. Key elements omitted On Dec. 25, 1991, another article written by Uemura on the struggles Kim had experienced in her life was carried on Page 5 of the Asahi's Osaka morning edition. Remarkably, Uemura did not mention in his stories about Kim that Kim's mother had sold her to a family that ran a school for kisaeng-a kind of female entertainer-for \40. Kisaeng learn traditional arts to perform at banquets and other events, and some reportedly became comfort women. Furthermore, Kim has stated that her adoptive father took her to Beijing after telling her, "If you go to China, you can make money." Uemura's articles describe the person who tricked Kim as someone "doing work in the district." It is not made clear that it was, in fact, her adoptive father. In December 1991, Kim filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court seeking compensation from the Japanese government. Kenichi Takagi, the lawyer who led the team for plaintiffs Kim and others, told The Yomiuri Shimbun in an interview in August 2014: "We and Ms. Kim are not saying she was forcibly taken away as a member of the volunteer corps. She was sold after she went to the kisaeng school." The implications and nuances of "a comfort woman forcibly taken away by the Japanese military" and an "unfortunate comfort woman sold off by her parents" are strikingly different. Uemura's ties to plaintiffs Another glaring oversight in the Asahi's coverage cannot be simply brushed off. In its special report, The Asahi Shimbun clarified that Uemura had married the daughter of Yang Sun Im, a senior official of Kankoku Taiheiyo Senso Giseisha Izoku Kai. The organization, an association of families of people killed in the Pacific War, was involved in organizing a lawsuit brought by Kim and others. This means Uemura was a close relative of someone involved in the lawsuit. Tokyo Christian University Prof. Tsutomu Nishioka, an expert in South Korean and North Korean regional studies, believes Uemura has left himself open to criticism. "There's not much Mr. Uemura can do to prevent people from assuming that he tried to use his story to benefit a court case involving a relative," Nishioka said. Uemura was a reporter in the city news section at the Asahi's Osaka Head Office when he wrote the original article about Kim. The Asahi's special report tried to dispel suggestions that Uemura used his family connections for his articles, and insisted "he did not obtain any special information through his relationship with his mother-in-law." The Asahi report concluded by stating, "There was no intentional twisting of the facts in the article by Uemura." Report's timing complicated PM's S. Korea visit The Asahi Shimbun's morning edition on Jan. 11, 1992, carried another "scoop" at the top of its front page. The main headline read: "Comfort stations; records show military involvement." The story was carried in the paper only five days before then Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's scheduled trip to South Korea. In its special report on the comfort women issue published on Aug. 5, 2014, the Asahi said it did not time the story's publication with the prime minister's visit to South Korea. However, the 1992 story included the sentence: "[The findings] placed a very serious burden on the shoulders of Prime Minister Miyazawa, who is scheduled to visit South Korea from Jan. 16." It seems certain that the Asahi had Miyazawa's visit in mind. The story in question reported that documents showing the Japanese military's involvement in the establishment of comfort stations and the recruitment of comfort women during World War II were found in the library of the then Defense Agency's National Institute for Defense Studies. However, historian Ikuhiko Hata pointed out in his book "Ianfu to senjo no sei" (Comfort women and sex on the battlefield) that the documents reported on by the Asahi had been open to the public for 30 years before the newspaper printed the story. "It was common knowledge among researchers that the Japanese military was involved" in the establishment of comfort stations, Hata said in the book. Even the Asahi itself admitted in an editorial published on Jan. 12, 1992, the day after the initial article, that it was common knowledge that such stations were established under the administration of the Japanese military, and in that sense, the discovery of the documents by the newspaper was not surprising in itself. However, reporting this common knowledge again and on a larger scale ignited anti-Japan sentiment in South Korea. Miyazawa visited the country amid a highly charged atmosphere, with South Korean demonstrators throwing eggs at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. In response to the Asahi's reporting, South Korean newspapers unleashed a hostile campaign against Japan. The Hankyoreh, a leading daily, said in its Jan. 12, 1992, edition that Japan's savagery had finally been revealed. During a summit meeting on the second day of his visit, Miyazawa apologized to South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, who called on the Japanese prime minister to bring to light the whole truth about the comfort women issue and take "appropriate measures." Miyazawa reportedly told Roh, "I apologize and express remorse [over comfort women] from the bottom of my heart." "Prime Minister Miyazawa used eight different expressions to apologize," a South Korean government official told local media, revealing the number of times the prime minister had expressed apologies. Yukio Takeuchi, who accompanied Miyazawa to South Korea as his secretary, recalled the summit meeting. "It was completely unexpected that [the South Korean] president stuck to the comfort women issue and spoke in such a tone of reproach," said Takeuchi, a former administrative vice minister of the Foreign Ministry who later became a Supreme Court justice. "As his secretary, I apologized to the prime minister for failing to anticipate this situation." Anti-Japan sentiments ignited The documents in question only showed the Japanese military's involvement in controlling private operators of comfort stations. But the Asahi's article was interpreted in South Korea and other countries as saying that documents had at last been discovered proving that the Japanese military forcibly took women away to make them comfort women. The Asahi also carried a story explaining the meaning of "comfort women" that included the phrase "forcibly taken away" on the front page. This apparently led to the mistaken impression that the military was involved in forcibly taking women away. In an effort to stop Japan-South Korea relations over the comfort women issue from deteriorating further, the Japanese government on Aug. 4, 1993, issued a statement through then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono (the Kono statement). However, since Kono made remarks at a press conference implying that the Japanese military had actually taken women away forcibly, it has spread the misunderstanding that the Japanese government had officially admitted its former military had done so. That has made the problem even more complicated. Roh recalled the comfort women issue in an interview carried in the March 1993 edition of Bungei Shunju magazine. "The Japanese mass media have stirred up this problem," Roh said in the interview. "It has kindled anti-Japan sentiment among the people of my country and infuriated them." '200,000 comfort women' The Asahi also confused comfort women with female volunteer corps, who were recruited to work at factories and do other jobs unrelated to sex services, in its article in the Jan. 11, 1992, edition. The article said the military forcibly took away 80,000 to 200,000 Korean women and others under the name of female volunteer corps. South Korean media also addressed the issue. The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean daily, reported on the Asahi's article the following day. It said in its editorial on Jan. 13, 1992, that there were 80,000 to 200,000 comfort women, the same figures the Asahi used, and said 80 percent of them were Koreans. A group of former comfort women said in a lawsuit against the Japanese government that there were 100,000 to 200,000 comfort women. It is undeniable that the Asahi's article made the "200,000 comfort women" theory more credible and helped disseminate it. Based on the number of Japanese soldiers, Hata estimated there were about 20,000 comfort women. He also said Koreans were estimated to account for 20 percent of that number. The Yomiuri Shimbun itself wrote in articles published in the early 1990s that there were said to have been over 200,000 comfort women. Asahi and South Korean media shared sympathy Since the latter half of the 1990s, repercussions of The Asahi Shimbun's factually inaccurate coverage of the so-called comfort women issue have manifested themselves in South Korea, the United Nations, the United States and elsewhere. The Asahi stories fueled the misperception that these women had been systematically and forcibly rounded up and taken away by the Japanese military. As the issue mutated into an international matter, South Korean media quoted these Asahi articles, which fanned anti-Japan sentiment among the public in South Korea. The Asahi would then report on these consequences, and the cycle would be repeated. There emerged a type of shared sympathy among the Asahi, South Korean media and that country's public opinion. The headline for the front page's top story in the Asahi's morning edition on Jan. 11, 1992, said documents found in the archives of the then Defense Agency "showed military involvement" in running wartime comfort stations. In its evening edition that day, the Asahi bragged that its article had been "quoted and extensively reported" by South Korean TV stations and radio since that morning. The following day, The Chosun Ilbo newspaper's morning edition cited the Asahi story. On Jan. 13, its editorial demanded the Japanese government issue an apology to and pay appropriate compensation to surviving comfort women. When then Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa visited South Korea and issued a formal apology to the comfort women on Jan. 16, the Asahi's coverage was widely praised in that country. An article in The Dong-A Ilbo on Jan. 16 said this apology was forthcoming "because of The Asahi Shimbun's extensive coverage about military involvement on Jan. 11. Without this, the Japanese government might still be trying to escape responsibility by claiming the 'women were taken by private operators.'" Fabrications appear in U.N. reports In April 1996, the U.N. Human Rights Commission (now the U.N. Human Rights Council) adopted a report compiled by Radhika Coomaraswamy that recommended the Japanese government pay compensation to former comfort women. In its evening edition on Feb. 6, 1996, two months before Coomaraswamy's report was adopted, the Asahi ran a frontpage story headlined, "Give compensation to former comfort women." The story outlined the content of the report. An article on the city news page in the same edition said the United Nations' special rapporteur on violence against women had given a clear rebuke to the Japanese government, which had "avoided paying state compensation to individual war victims." A commentary piece, whose headline suggested the debate on compensation to individuals might be rekindled, also emphasized the Asahi's view that "the Japanese government should pay compensation" to former comfort women. Ever since the 1992 Asahi report about "military involvement" in so-called comfort stations, demanding that Japan's government pay compensation has become a clear trend among South Korean media. The tone of the Asahi's articles has matched that of the media in South Korea. In August 1998, the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights adopted the McDougall Report that, among other things, called for the prosecution of "all those responsible" for the comfort stations, and a "compensation scheme to provide official, monetary compensation" to former comfort women. A person who was on the commission when both reports were adopted has revealed that outside forces had been pushing for these developments. "South Korean support groups for former comfort women and Japanese nongovernmental organizations had been stepping up their lobbying at the United Nations to ensure these reports were adopted," the source said. Since about 1992, lawyer Etsuro Totsuka has been a central figure in the drive to press the United Nations to take up the comfort women issue. Totsuka, who is the head of an NGO, is known as the first person to have described comfort women as "sex slaves" at the United Nations. "I believed the compensation problem probably couldn't be resolved through lawsuits in Japanese courts," Totsuka said. "The military's involvement had become clear [because of the Asahi's stories], so I thought it was about time to give an account on this issue to the United Nations." Lawsuits by plaintiffs including comfort women were going through Japan's courts. However, given their slim chances of a legal victory, it appears turning to the United Nations was an attempt to apply "outside pressure" via the international body. Repercussions rumble on The 1996 Coomaraswamy Report was based partly on the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, who claimed he had forcibly taken away Koreans to work as comfort women. Although suggestions that Yoshida's comments were untrue had been raised since 1992, the report's acceptance of them as if they were "historical fact" also raises doubts about its credibility. In August 2014, Yang Sun Im, who heads an association of Pacific War victims and their families that has organized plaintiff groups for lawsuits by former comfort women, told The Yomiuri Shimbun that she believes not all of Yoshida's claims can be dismissed. "The content of his remarks was extremely detailed, and would have been impossible unless he had actually experienced what he was talking about," Yang said. "Nobody can say that his entire story was fabricated." Yang is the mother-in-law of Takashi Uemura, the then Asahi reporter who scooped the testimony of former comfort woman Kim Hak Sun in 1991. On July 30, 2007, the United States - Japan's ally - joined the fray as the House of Representatives passed a resolution demanding the Japanese government issue a formal apology over the comfort women issue. Movements to establish statues and other memorials dedicated to these women are continuing. In March 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said about comfort women, "It breaks my heart to think about those who went through indescribable hardships." And in his remarks at a House of Councillors Budget Committee session, he clearly denied that his Cabinet will review the Kono statement. Still, the criticism of Japan knows no bounds and seems certain to continue. 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