Okamoto Yuka Voicres Her Opinion in Spite of Threats
She pointed out that the Japanese government is turning away from the historical fact, the existence of the forced sexual slavery.She also said that the Japanese news media are accountable for "not digging enough into the historial truth about the comfort women." "Japanese press only dealt with the monetary issues of donation of 1 billion yen for the welfare of the comfort women, failing to reveal the truth of the matter," she stressed. "Japanese media rarely run stories about UN's recommendations on the comfort women issue"She said that Japanese internet sites are full of distorted or fabricated stories about the comfort women issue. "Major Japanese media are only impartial, reporting only the sides welcoming the agreement," she pointed out. "It is a serious problem""There are a number of civic groups in Japan objecting the agreement, and issuing their statements criticizing the agreement," she emphasized. "But there has been almost no report about this"Her criticism about Japanese press went on. "It looks like there is no Japanese intellectuals or citizens objecting the agreement.""With the agreement the Japanese government wanted to resolve the problem of comfort women once and for all," she argued. "Both Japanese government and major press are avoiding the historial truth"She pinpointed that behind this Japanese attitude are conservative Japanese rightists who are denying the war-time crimes of Imperial Japan. She explained that the Japanese rightists are strongly opposed to the comfort women issue becoming an international issue. The Japanese rightists have been consolidating themselves since 1993 when the "Kono Statement" was announced.On August 4, 1993, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yōhei Kōno made the statement, recognizing the forcefulness of mobilizing the comfort women and running sexual slavery.But, on the strength of Japanese rightists and the press the current Prime Minister Abe completely denied the existence of the sexual slavery, saying that there is no evidence."The Japanese rightists are trying to turn back the historical clock," she said. "They should stop their anachronistic behavior"She said that the description of the comfort women disappeared from the textbooks of Japanese middle schools.One school recently, which tried to use the text book containing comfort women issue, were threatened with a deluge of postcards blaming the school as anti-Japanese ultra-leftist, according to Okamoto.Okamoto herself were threatened by the ultra-leftist Japanese for her social activities about the comfort women issue."Everytime we host a meeting, I had to ask police for protection," she said. "Volunteers served as my body guards" Each time we raise questions about the issues of comfort women, Nanjing Rape, and the responsibility of the emperor, the rightists threatened us," she said. "Also we are worried about the rightists operating on the internet"
She emphasized the importance of history education for the new generation Japanese."Installing the symbolic memorials like Comfort Women Statue are also meaningful so as not to repeat the same historical mistakes," she said. "We have to face the history right. And remembering it is important""The comfort women thing should never be repeated in any history," she added.On Nov. 17, 2017 Okamoto authored a comfort women book titled "Facing the Korea-Japan Agreement: Comfort Women Issue and Future Responsibility." A number of professors, scholars, activists, and other experts from Japan and South Korea took part in the publication of the book. The book will soon be translated into Korean language."Liberals or progressives within Japan should face up the stark reality that the Japanese government never changes itself about its past wrongdoings," she said. "That is why we are fighting to change that reality"
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