Free screenings of “comfort women” documentary “The Apology” and discussion announced in Portland, Los Angeles, and Seattle

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) joins community groups in three cities to bring free screenings of the award-winning documentary “The Apology” directed by Tiffany Hsiung followed by discussion in Portland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in November and December 2018.

The film, which aired on PBS in October, follows the lives of three survivors–from Korea, China, and the Philippines–of the WWII-era Japanese military sexual slavery/enforced prostitution known as the “comfort women” system.

See http://fendnow.org/theapology2018 for full information about venues and dates.

Critic of Comfort Women memorial praises Confederate memorial in Georgia

In March 2018, far-right activist Yumiko Yamamoto of Nadeshiko Action traveled to Brookhaven, Georgia to stage a protest against the “comfort women” memorial installed in the City’s Blackburn Park, joined by another Nadeshiko Action member Shizuko Culpepper from Minnesota. They apparently took particular offense to the fact that the City celebrated annual cherry blossom festival in the same park that week, as the two felt that cherry blossoms was “the symbol of Japan” and should not be juxtaposed along the comfort women memorial.

During the same trip, Yamamoto visited the infamous Confederate memorial in Stone Mountain, Georgia and gave a speech to a conservative group after she returned to Japan, on April 19th (YouTube). The speech is in Japanese, but she repeats much of the same thing in an English advertisement published on the June 2, 2018 edition of Weekly NY Seikatsu, a mostly Japanese language publication for Japanese residents in the New York area (PDF version here).

In the opinion ad, Yamamoto praises the Stone Mountain Confederate Carving, one of the largest stone reliefs in the world depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Quoting Davis, Yamamoto writes: “In 1886, 21 years after the defeat of the Civil War in Mississippi [Jefferson Davis] stated, ‘the Southerners would not have to get revenge on the Yankees but would never tell their children that the South was wrong in the War Between the States: the South lost the battle, but the cause was right.'” In her Japanese speech, she adds: “likewise, Japan lost the battle, but our cause was right.”

Yamamoto further writes, “Although the Confederates lost the Civil War, they praise the courage and honor of those who fought and died for the confederacy. I thought Japanese should pass down our history just like their words to the next generation.” She contrasts the memorial praising Confederate soldiers with memorials dedicated to the victims and survivors of Japanese military comfort women system, arguing that comfort women memorials are “totally wrong and not facts.” “What a big difference from the Confederate Memorial!” exclaims Yamamoto.

Stone Mountain is the exact site of the 20th century revival of the Ku Klux Klan, who climbed up to the summit of the mountain on Thanksgiving Day, 1915 to give birth to a new generation of the Klan after the original Klan from the 19th century went dormant. The KKK held enormous annual cross burnings at the site for decades since then.

The Confederate carving was proposed by C. Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of Confederacy. The construction was delayed repeatedly until the segregationist Governor Marvin Griffin pushed the state to purchase Stone Mountain and complete the project. Even today, Stone Mountain continues to serve as a sacred spot for white supremacists, for example as the campaign launch location for former KKK leader and frequent political candidate David Duke, even as the criticisms toward memorials glorifying the Confederacy spread across the American South. It is for this symbolism Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia” in his famous “I have a dream” speech in 1963.

Yamamoto’s adoration for Confederate leaders and memorials is perhaps not an accident: until late 2011 she was the vice president and secretary-general of Zaitokukai, an extremist anti-Korean hate group that target Korean children, families, and businesses. She has never renounced or denounced Zaitokukai even after exiting the organization, explaining in her 2014 book that she only left the organization to focus on the comfort women issue. In fact, Nadeshiko Action continues to spread anti-Korean extremist rhetoric, for example by submitting a letter to the United Nations Commission on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) titled “Hate speech masquerading as Anti-Hate speech by privileged Korean Residents in Japan,” alleging that Koreans living in Japan enjoy special privileges over Japanese nationals, which is the core (and unfounded) talking point of Zaitokukai.

The 2018 short documentary Graven Image by Sierra Pettengill uses archival footages to tell the history of the Stone Mountain and its place in the continuation of white supremacy in America. Graven Image can be viewed online thanks to PBS’ POV series.

Alert: Right-wing groups use Japanese-language publications to “educate” Japanese residents in the U.S.

As Japanese right-wing groups accelerate their efforts to mobilize Japanese communities in the U.S. against what they perceive as “anti-Japan” historical awareness campaigns (especially on the topic of Japanese military “comfort women” system), Japanese-language free newspapers became a vehicle for their “educational” outreach. We have obtained recent copies of two such publications from New York, New York Biz and Weekly NY Seikatsu, both of which publish large opinion advertisements from far-right Japanese historical revisionist organizations including Nadeshiko Action, Global Alliance for Historical Truth, Himawari Japan, and New York Historical Issues Study Group as well as news articles detailing their activities.

New York Biz, published by Weekly Business News Corp. began featuring a regular column by New York Historical Issues Study Group in September 2016. The first installment was a report about the Study Group’s most recent meeting in which Tsutomu Nishioka, Shiro Takahashi, and Tetsuhide Yamaoka gave lectures. Himawari Japan began publishing ads a year later, in September 2017.

Himawari Japan and other groups including Nadeshiko Action frequently publish ads on New York Biz. For example, the latest (September 22, 2018) issue contains a full-page ad from Himawari Japan seeking readers to submit information about anti-Japanese bullying motivated by “historical issues” as well as “anti-Japanese” education at schools and any community activities about the “comfort women” issue or other topics on Japan’s history. The same issue also publishes the number 26 of New York Historical Issues Study Group’s regular column and a midwifery ad by Yoko Nagato, the leader of Himawari Japan.

Similarly, Weekly NY Seikatsu began publishing a series of opinion ads by Japanese right-wing groups every week since January 2017, starting with a column by Koichi Mera of the Global Alliance for Historical Truth published alongside a news story about the decision by the City of Fort Lee, New Jersey to enact a comfort women memorial (which cites oppositions from comfort women deniers including Himawari Japan’s Nagato and Kent Gilbert) and an opinion piece by Masaki Shirota, a dietary supplements company president who is identified as a “music producer” (whose musical experiences appear to consist of his glee days in college), on how the “comfort women issue is a blatant lie.”

While New York Biz is an all-Japanese publication, Weekly NY Seikatsu devotes one page from each issue to English-language news and opinions, many of which are English translations of articles from Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s leading conservative daily. Global Alliance for Historical Truth, Nadeshiko Action, and other right-wing Japanese organizations publish ads on each issue of Weekly NY Seikatsu, alternating between Japanese-language ads and their English translations. Contents of these ads mostly consists of recycled right-wing talking points that have been thoroughly debunked years ago, but there are some new commentaries including Nadeshiko Action president Yumiko Yamamoto’s glorification of Confederacy leaders and monuments in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Weekly NY Seikatsu even has a section on its website dedicated to archiving these right-wing opinion ads.

These advertisements threaten to blur the line between (highly dishonest) paid advertisements and news. For example, an opinion piece by the aforementioned self-identified “musical producer” Masaki Shirota was published as a Japanese commentary on the May 12, 2018 issue of Weekly NY Seikatsu, but when it was re-published in English in the June 16, 2018 issue it was labeled as “opinion advertisement.” The paper also regularly includes comments from members of Nadeshiko Action and Himawari Japan when reporting about anything related to the comfort women issue, even though the newspaper does not appear to be politically slanted to the hard right on any other subject.

As newspapers continue to lose revenue due to the shift of advertising dollars to the internet, regular advertisements may give well-funded far-right groups disproportionate influence on the content of Japanese-language publications that many Japanese people in New York and in the rest of the U.S. rely on. Propaganda ads that falsely portray Japan as the victim of massive anti-Japanese historical campaigns by Chinese and Korean communities may even lead Japanese people living in ethnic enclaves to feel fearful of their Asian and Asian American neighbors and further isolate themselves from the American mainstream. We need to increase outreach to Japanese-speaking communities to break their isolation and share our experiences of allyship with larger Asian American communities to help them integrate more fully with the surrounding communities.

Far-right Japanese nationalist’s theatrical assault on “comfort women” statue in Taiwan is part of the pattern

In September 2018, far-right Japanese nationalist Mitsuhiko Fujii made international headlines when he was caught on a surveillance camera appearing to kick a recently enacted statue dedicated to victims and survivors of Japanese military “comfort women” system in Tainan, Taiwan.

Fujii, who directs comfort women denialist organization Rompa Project (a front group for Happy Science) was visiting Tainan as a representative of the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women to demand Taiwanese officials to take down the memorial.

When surveillance camera footage of Fujii kicking the statue surfaced, Fujii’s allies such as Shunichi Fujiki and Toshiko Hasumi took to the Facebook to claim that recordings were doctored by pro-Chinese operatives in Taiwan to drive a wedge between Japan and Taiwan. Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women initially posted a statement “protesting” the “doctored footages,” pledging to have the video analyzed by experts, but it quickly deleted the statement, replacing with an announcement that Fujii has resigned his post as a board member of the Alliance.

The surveillance footage also shows the presence of an apparent accomplice, who is seen holding a camera to capture Fujii’s feat as he repeatedly raised his foot against the statue. The identity of the accomplice is unknown, but is presumed to be another member of the Alliance.

This setup is reminiscent of how Fujii along with fellow history deniers Fujiki and Tony Marano staged a photo shoot at the site of another comfort women memorial in Glendale, California in 2014 with a paper bag covering the head of the statue, commenting that comfort women’s faces were too ugly to be shown. Later, Fujiki bragged that he had staged the photo to intentionally inflame Koreans and other Asians to blow it into international news, thereby attracting the attention of like-minded Japanese nationalists.

Similarly in 2017, Marano traveled to Brookhaven, Georgia for a photo op with a comfort women statue placed in the town’s public park with cash on the statue’s lap to make a point about comfort women being “highly paid, willing prostitutes” as history revisionists often say, instead of victims of military sexual slavery.

Fujii himself wrote the storyline for and produced a propaganda comic strip titled “The Facts,” which ended with a bear mascot surfing on a shark to the U.S. to demolish a comfort women memorial in Glendale. Please don’t ask us to explain why the bear is depicted crossing the Atlantic to travel from Japan to the U.S.: maybe they believe in geographical revisionism as well as historical revisionism.

The desire to physically attack and destroy statues representing and honoring the victims of Japanese military “comfort women” system appears widespread among far-right nationalist leaders. In 2016, parliamentary member (who was temporarily out of office at the time) Mio Sugita published a book in which she advocated for “bombing” comfort women memorials in the U.S. and beyond. Sugita wrote: “Once people realized that comfort women memorials would be bombed no matter how many they build, they will not think about building another one. We should bomb every single memorial as it is built.”

Sugita threatening to bomb U.S.

Sugita had lost her parliamentary seat in late 2014 and regained it in 2017. While she was out of office, she frequently joined Fujii and Fujiki to travel to various United Nations meetings in Geneva and in New York City as part of the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women. Her return to political office has apparently emboldened Fujii to continue to attack comfort women memorials, both literally and figuratively.

Fujii’s assault on the Taiwanese statue took place following the reports of repeated vandalism of another comfort women memorial in San Francisco ahead of its first anniversary. According to CGTN, “paint was splattered on the statue and the grandmother’s eyes were painted white, while the panel that bears the description of the statue was scratched up at least four times.”

It is not yet known who is responsible for the vandalism in San Francisco or even if it was politically motivated, but attacks on statues around the world–and on the dignity of victims and survivors and on historical memories–appear rampant at the moment. We need to understand Fujii’s behavior not as an isolated act of idiocy, but part of a larger ongoing pattern of assaults on and disrespect for women (and others, for that matter) who have spoken out and are speaking out about their experiences of sexual violence.

Stretching the Truth. Cartoon by Stallina Chen

Japanese government formally intervenes in the Japanese right-wing extremists’ lawsuit against a U.S. city

In recent months, the Japanese government has made increasingly aggressive moves challenging memorials dedicated to the victims of the Japanese military “comfort women” system not just in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul or the Japanese Consulate in Busan, South Korea, which Japanese officials argue violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations protecting the “dignity” of diplomatic missions, but anywhere in the world.

The latest development in this trend is the amicus curie brief the Government of Japan filed in the lawsuit Gingery et al. v. City of Glendale on behalf of the Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT), a Japanese far-right extremist group.

GAHT filed a lawsuit against the City of Glendale, California in 2013 after the city installed a memorial dedicated to the victims of Japanese military “comfort women” system. The suit was widely criticized by Asian American communities including local Japanese American groups, legal experts, and others, and resulted in a series of defeat by GAHT including penalties under California’s anti-SLAPP statute against frivolous lawsuits designed to stifle free speech.

On January 9, 2017, GAHT filed a request to the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the appeal court’s decision against them. For the Supreme Court to take up a case, four out of nine (currently eight due to the passing of the late Justice Antonin Scalia) justices must agree to hear the case, and they do so only in about 1-2% of the cases each year.

In the amicus curie brief filed on February 22, 2017, the Government of Japan criticizes not just the constitutionality of Glendale’s installment of the memorial that, in their view, “disrupt[s] the United States’ foreign policy” and “presents a significant impediment to Japan’s diplomatic efforts” as “the monument is not inline with the spirit of” the Japan-ROK Agreement (2015), but also “the inscription on the Glendale monument” itself. “Japan strongly disagrees that the inscription on the Glendale monument accurately describes the historical record, which Japan has studied at length,” the amicus states.

Attorney Jessica Ellsworth, a registered foreign lobbyist at the law firm Hogan Lovells which the Japanese government uses, served as the counsel of record for the Japanese government. In October 2015, Hogan Lovells set up an apparent astroturf (i.e. a public relations campaign disguising itself as a “grass-roots” civic group) Voices of Vietnam, which appeared out of nowhere, purchased a full-page color ad on the Wall Street Journal and held a press conference at the National Press Club to coincide with the visit of the President of South Korea criticizing the Korean military sexual violence against Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War. The press conference featured the former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, also a lobbyist working for Hogan Lovells. Voices of Vietnam has been inactive ever since.

Former Japanese MP threatens to bomb Comfort Women memorials in the U.S.

In a recently published book, former Japanese member of parliament Mio Sugita threatens to bomb “comfort women” memorials in the U.S. as they are built. The book, “Women Fight the History War” (Rekishisen ha onna no tatakai), is a dialogue between Sugita and Keiko Kawasoe, a non-fiction writer.

On p.141, Kawasoe opens the conversation by criticizing how the Japanese government has been docile in relying on the Korean government to remove the “comfort women” memorial standing in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Says Kawasoe: “Russian President Putin would without a flinch order the removal of the memorial. Then one day, without a warning, someone would bulldoze it away.”

To this, former MP Sugita responds: “Maybe I should do that! (laughter). In America too, once people realized that comfort women memorials would be bombed no matter how many they build, they will not think about building another one. We should bomb every single memorial as it is built.”

Sugita threatening to bomb U.S.

Sugita has very recently (June 21, 2016) visited the sites of “comfort women” memorials in Palisades Park and Hackensack, both in New Jersey, just as the book calling for the bombing of these memorials went to press (June 22, 2016).

In 2013, Sugita visited Glendale, California to meet with representatives of local Japanese American groups, which have endorsed the “comfort women” memorial in the city. After the meeting, she lambasted Japanese Americans for being “typical leftists” who made no sense.

Sugita has participated in far-right Japanese lobbying efforts at the United Nations in the last few years, giving speeches at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) NGO Parallel Events in which she denied the Japanese military sexual slavery during the WWII.

Former MP Sugita with Happy Science's Taguchi

Has the establishment of “comfort women” memorials in the U.S. led to widespread bullying against Japanese children?

Conservative media in Japan have repeatedly claimed that the bullying and harassment against Japanese and Japanese American children have become rampant after a memorial dedicated to the victims and survivors of Japanese military “comfort women” system was enacted in Glendale, California in 2013. But there is no basis for this claim.

Since the stories about the supposed “bullying” of Japanese children began appearing in conservative publications in Japan, many local, national, and international media outlets have tried to substantiate the claim but to no avail: schools, law enforcement agencies, Japanese American community groups, and others could not identify a single report of such bullying. Even conservative Japanese politicians who visited Glendale in hope of meeting with the victim or their families could not find any.

Tokyo-based journalist Mark Schreiber wrote in “Tracking Southern California’s elusive ‘bullies’” (Number 1 Shimbun, October 2014):

My inquiries to individuals in Glendale who should have some information or insight continued to come up blank. “This is not true,” Sebastian Puccio, coordinator for the Glendale Unified School District, wrote me. “We are not aware of any incidents of students of Korean ethnicity confronting students of Japanese ancestry in this district, nor would this be tolerated.”

David Monkawa, a Glendale resident and member of the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress organization, wrote that he had also made inquiries, but with no success. “Sgt. Thomas R. Lorenz, Public Information Officer of the Glendale Police Dept., stated these statements are ‘100 percent fabricated,'” said Monkawa, who ended up believing that Glendale “should have the Human Rights Commission issue a stern statement exposing these lies.”

A Japanese residing in Los Angeles made a number of telephone calls on my behalf. A teacher at a school for Japanese children told him that the school had heard about the bullying story and had sent out a note asking for parents to report any incidents, but no one did.

Of course, lack of reports does not necessarily indicate that there is no bullying at all, but the conservative media’s claim of rampant or pervasive bullying against many Japanese or Japanese American children is demonstrably false.

Was the average age of “comfort women” around 25? No, at least not according to the purported source of the claim

Japanese “Comfort women” deniers often cite “Comfort Women of the Empire,” a book written by Yuha Park of Sejong University, South Korea, to claim that the average age of “comfort women” was “around 25,” and therefore memorials that depict teenage victims (such as the one in Glendale, California) are misleading. Definitive data is unavailable, but Park’s claim is not supported by the evidentiary source material that she invokes.

“Comfort Women of the Empire” was published in Korea in 2013 and then in Japan in 2014. Since the publication of the original version in Korea, Park has been the target of civil and criminal cases in court for allegedly libelous statements toward survivors of the Japanese military “comfort women” system, which forced her to redact portions of the book in Korea. The controversy over the state intervention on an academic publication is ongoing, distinct from the controversy over the content of the publication itself.

The English version of “Comfort Women of the Empire” is reportedly in the works. There are third party “summaries” of the book available for download at various (right-wing Japanese) websites, but the author has specifically stated that many of them distort her work.

On pages 64-65 of the Japanese edition of “Comfort Women of the Empire,” Park cites a 1944 U.S. military prisoner of war interrogation report (which is itself often misused by the right-wing camp) as an evidence that the typical age of “comfort women” was “around 25,” challenging the historical consensus that a large number of “comfort women” were minors at the time of their recruitment.

This is an important point for those who are concerned about the potential violation of international law by the Imperial Japan because the 1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children required signatories including Japan to prohibit the transportation of women and children under age 21 across national borders for the purpose of prostitution, even with their consent.

Park’s estimate of “around 25” is supposedly calculated by averaging the ages of 20 Korean “comfort women” listed in the 1944 report, but the actual average turns out to be 23.15, not “around 25.” The median and mode of the 20 women, which is more illustrative of the cohort than a simple average, are both 21. (See below for the appendix of the 1944 report that lists 20 women interviewed.)

POW Report #49

Further, because the women were recruited and forced to become “comfort women” two years before they were interviewed by the U.S. military according to the report, the real median age at which they were recruited is 19. In fact, 12 out of the 20 women listed were under 21 at the time of recruitment.

What about other women? Again, comprehensive data is non-existent, but historian Puja Kim of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies examined six volumes of Korean “comfort women” survivor testimonies published between 1993 and 2004 by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. Of the 78 women who shared their stories, 73 were underage at the time of recruitment; mode and median are both 16. (“Chosenjin ‘Ianfu’ wa naze shoujo ga ookatta noka?”, in Heiwa no shoujo zou wa naze suwari tsuzukeru noka, 2016.)

While these numbers cannot be generalized to all “comfort women” or perhaps even to all Korean “comfort women,” they do suggest that it was not uncommon for Korean “comfort women” to be trafficked while they were underage, in clear violation of the international law at the time.

What is “comfort women” denialism? Holocaust denial and “comfort women” denial

When confronted, “comfort women” deniers like Tony Marano often attempt to deflect the label “denier” by arguing that they do not “deny the existence of comfort women.”

But like “Holocaust denial,” the phrase “comfort women denial” refers not just to the complete denial of the existence of “comfort women” altogether, but also to the denial of important aspects of the historical events that are established as facts. A casual look at the claims made by known Holocaust deniers reveal eerie similarities between Holocaust denial and “comfort women” denial (and this comparison between denialisms stands even if, as some contend, two atrocities themselves should not be compared to each other).

Mark Weber, the long-time director of the Holocaust denial organization Institute for Historical Review has said in a 1992 interview:

If by “holocaust” you mean the political persecution of Jews, some scattered killings, if yo mean a cruel thing that happened, no one denies that. But if one says that the “holocaust” means the systematic extermination of six to eight million Jews in concentration camps, that’s what we think there’s no evidence for.”

The IHR also posted on its website the following until at least 2009:

The Institute does not “deny the Holocaust.” Every responsible scholar of twentieth century history acknowledges the great catastrophe that befell European Jewry during World War II. All the same, the IHR has published detailed books and numerous probing essays that call into question aspects of the orthodox Holocaust extermination story, and highlight specific Holocaust exaggerations and falsehoods. IHR publications have devoted considerable attention to this issue because it plays an enormously significant role in the cultural and political life of America and much of the world. As a number of Jewish scholars have acknowledged, the “Holocaust” campaign is a major weapon in the Jewish-Zionist arsenal. It is used to justify otherwise unjustifiable Israeli policies, and to extort enormous sums of money, especially from European countries and companies.

Another denier, Christian pastor Herman Otten wrote in an IHR publication:

There is no dispute over the fact that large numbers of Jews were deported to concentration camps and ghettos, or that many Jews died or were killed during World War II. Revisionist scholars have presented evidence, which “exterminationists” have not been able to refute, showing that there was no German program to exterminate Europe’s Jews, and that the estimate of six million Jewish wartime dead is an irresponsible exaggeration.

“Comfort women” deniers frequently make similar arguments denying important aspects of the historical consensus.

The author does not deny the occurrence of isolated cases such as the Semarang Incident in the Dutch East Indies in which Ms. Jan Ruff O’Herne was involved. It was an apparent “war crime” in Indonesia committed by military personnel. […] However, this was an isolated case and should not be used to characterize or to generalize the state-managed Comfort Women System.
Hiromichi Moteki, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact (Source)

It is more than funny how some strident activists in the US are depicting me as “Comfort girls denier”. That’s hilarious. Nobody in Japan denies them OMG! (((o(*゚▽゚*)o))) Neither do I.
Yujiro Taniyama, film producer of Scottsboro Girls (Source)

These guys on the photo are saying “there was no “military” comfort women forced by Japanese army but not denying the existence of the comfort women.
Shunichi Fujiki, Texas Daddy Japan Secretariat (using pseudonym, Source)

I am labeled “comfort women denier,” but it should be “comfort women = sex slaves” denier to be accurate. Language must be used precisely. False premises lead to confused arguments.
Kiyoshi Hosoya, Japan Family Values Society (translated from Japanese, Source)

Similarities between Holocaust denial and “comfort women” denial do not end here. For example, they both often promote conspiracy theories that those who are preserving historical memory are operating under nefarious geopolitical or financial motives:

As a number of Jewish scholars have acknowledged, the “Holocaust” campaign is a major weapon in the Jewish-Zionist arsenal. It is used to justify otherwise unjustifiable Israeli policies, and to extort enormous sums of money, especially from European countries and companies.
– Institute for Historical Review (Source)

It’s important to note that the countries that are making a big fuss over this are China and South Korea […] This is not about human rights or sex-slavery. This is about politics, money, and racism towards Japanese. In other words, this issue is a geopolitical tool that China uses to attack Japan.
Michael Yon, “journalist” (Source)

The Comfort Women Mafia has been successful in placing plaques and a statue memorializing their version of the Comfort Women story in communities all across the United States. Why? […] Very simple: The Comfort Women Mafia’s one area of motivation is to bash Japan. Their goal is to tarnish the image of Japan among the populace in the USA.
Tony Marano, video blogger (Source)

There are many other similarities, but that is not really the point here. The point we are trying to make is that “comfort women” deniers are those who deny important aspects of established historical facts about the Japanese military “comfort women” system, just like Holocaust deniers are those who deny important aspects of established historical facts about the Holocaust, whether or not they concede that the Holocaust may have taen place in some form.

Timeline of “Comfort Women” denialism during the First and Second Abe administrations (with a focus on U.S.-related incidents)

Part 1: 2006-2007 (The first Abe administration)

2006-09-26 Shinzo Abe becomes the 90th Prime Minister of Japan
2007-01-16 U.S. declassifies documents and releases expert essays on upcoming IWG report
2007-01-31 H.Res.121 introduced with six co-sponsors, led by Rep. Mike Honda
2007-03-01 PM Abe denies forced recruitment of CW by Japanese military
2007-03-02 Deputy Sec. of State Negroponte criticizes Abe’s statement
2007-03-05 PM Abe once again denies Japanese military responsibility
2007-03-09 Opponents of H.Res.121 change their position, number of co-sponsors grows
2007-03-16 Abe administration formally state that no evidence exists that points to forced recruitment of CW by Japanese military
2007-03-24 Washington Post criticizes Abe in editorial
2007-03-25 Abe’s Deputy Cabinet Minister states on radio that CW were sold by their parents, and that Japanese military was not involved
2007-03-26 Deputy Spokesman for Department of State urges Japan to continue to address CW issue
2007-04 IWG report finalized and made available to public
2007-04-03 U.S. Congressional Research Service releases the report “Japanese Military’s ‘Comfort Women’ System” by Larry Niksch
2007-04-03 PM Abe calls Pres. Bush to ask for “understanding”
2007-04-17 PM Abe justifies his statements in interviews with Newsweek and Wall Street Journal, promise to uphold Kono Statement
2007-04-20 Former Minister of Education and Science Nariaki Nakayama criticizes H.Res.121, arguing that prostitution was legal and profitable at the time
2007-04-27 PM Abe visits Pres. Bush, issues a vague apology for CW
2007-05-17 Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara denies Japanese military’s involvement in the recruitment of CW
2007-05-25 MP Jin Matsubara denies the CW issue
2007-06-14 Dozens of conservative politicians and prominent opinion leaders in Japan place a full-page ad (“The Facts”) on Washington Post
2007-06 Many members of U.S. House of Representatives join as co-sponsors of H.Res.121 including House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chair Rep. Tom Lantos
2007-07-30 U.S. House of Representatives passes H.Res.121
2007-09-12 PM Abe abruptly resigns
2007-11-08 Dutch parliament passes resolution urging Japan to confront CW denialism and make further efforts to address the issue
2007-11-28 Canada’s House of Commons passes resolution urging Japan to confront CW denialism and make further efforts to address the issue
2007-12-13 European Parliament passes resolution urging Japan to confront CW denialism and make further efforts to address the issue

Part 2: 2012-Ongoing (The second Abe administration)

2011-12 Yumiko Yamamoto of Zaitokukai forms CW denialist group Nadeshiko Action
2012-05 Japanese diplomats offer cherry blossom trees in return for removing Palisades Park, New Jersey CW memorial; the city rejects
2012-05-24 Nikon Corp. cancels photo exhibits about CW under right-wing pressure
2012-12-26 Shinzo Abe becomes the 96th Prime Minister of Japan
2013-01-10 PM Abe appoints Shiro Takahashi to the Council for Gender Equality
2013-05-13 Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto argues that organized prostitution was necessary at the time, and suggests that the U.S. military should utilize legal sexual services to reduce sexual violence committed by the U.S. servicemen in Okinawa
2013-05-16 U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki calls Hashimoto’s statement “outrageous and offensive”
2013-05-22 San Francisco asks Hashimoto to cancel sister city visit due to the furor caused by his remarks
2013-05-27 Hashimoto retracts his comment about the U.S. servicemen while insisting that the Japanese military was not involved in the trafficking of CW
2013-06-18 City and County of San Francisco passes resolution condemning CW system in response to Hashimoto’s statements
2013-07-09 Glendale, California approves the establishment of CW statue in its Central Park after heated discussions
2013-07-30 Glendale unveils the CW statue; Japanese American leaders from Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress and the San Fernando Valley chapter of Japanese American Citizens League attend in support
2013-09 Yumiko Yamamoto and others form Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women
2013-12-16 Koichi Mera, Tomoyuki Sumori (True Japan Network, Voluteer Group for Fight Against Comfort Women), and three Japanese MPs (Mio Sugita, Yuzuru Nishida, and Hiromu Nakamaru) meet with representatives of NCRR and JACL-SFV; Sugita dismisses Japanese American representatives as “left-wing”
2014-01-08 JACL-SFV chapter formally adopts a statement supporting CW statue in Glendale
2014-01-16 Members of (Japanese) National Association of Municipal Legislators Against Comfort Women Statue visit Glendale to protest the CW memorial; they hold a sign that reads “Children Need Heart-Warming Memorials”
2014-02-20 Koichi Mera founds Global Alliance for Historical Truth and files a lawsuit against the City of Glendale
2014-05-05 Japanese American Bar Association of California and Korean American Bar Association along with dozens of other law associations issue a statement supporting the CW memorial and opposing GAHT’s lawsuit
2014-06-06 Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) formed
2014-06-20 Abe administration releases a report on the “process resulting in Kono Statement,” widely seen as a first step to retracting or trivializing it
2014-07-06 Mera and Nobukatsu Fujioka of GAHT hold an event in Los Angeles; read a letter from Yamamoto
2014-07-14 Yamamoto, Mera, Mitsuhiko Fujii, Shunichi Fujiki, Tony Marano, and other members of ATCW visit Geneva to lobby the U.N. Commission on Human Rights
2014-08-04 GAHT’s federal lawsuit against the City of Glendale is dismissed
2014-08-05 Asahi Shimbun retracts decades-old articles about forcible CW recruitment by the Japanese military in Jeju Island, Korea
2014-08-13 Fullerton, California passes resolution recognizing CW
2014-09-03 GAHT files a state suit against the City of Glendale
2014-09-04 GAHT appeals the decision of the federal case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
2014-10-15 The Historical Science Society of Japan issues a statement criticizing Abe administration’s denial of historical facts of CW
2014-10-30 Japanese MPs form the Special Committee to Restore Japan’s Honor and Trust in order to refute allegations on CW
2014-12-13 Yamamoto, Mitsuhiko Fujii, and other revisionists hold an event in Redwood City, California near SFO; coalition of peace and human rights activists holds a protest
2014-12-14 Yamamoto, Mera, Fujii, and other revisionists hold a panel in Torrance, California
2015-01 Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs demands American publisher and historian to alter the description of CW in college-level world history textbook
2015-02-18 Japanese residents in Los Angeles area join in a lawsuit in Japan against Asahi Shimbun
2015-03 20 U.S. historians publish a letter in support of Japanese historians in response to MOFA’s attempt to censor textbooks
2015-03-09 Yamamoto, Fujii, Shunichi Fujiki, Shiro Takahashi, and other revisionists hold an event in New York City; original venue, Japanese American Association of New York, cancels their reservation due to a protest by peace and women’s groups
2015-03-10 GAHT and ATCW members Mera, Takahashi, and others hold a press conference in NYC to counter the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women sessions
2015-03-17 Group of conservative scholars led by Ikuhiko Hata holds press conference to demand “corrections” to an American history textbook over CW
2015-03-27 PM Abe refers to CW as victims of human trafficking in an interview with Washington Post without admitting Japanese military’s role in it
2015-04-28 Mariko Okada-Collins organizes a screening of Yujiro Taniyama’s film, “Scottsboro Girls” at Central Washington University; Mera, Jason Morgan, and others join Taniyama
2015-04-29 PM Abe delivers a speech at the joint session of U.S. Congress without mentioning CW
2015-05-04 GAHT’s state lawsuit against the City of Glendale is dismissed; City files for attorney’s fees under anti-SLAPP statute
2015-05-07 “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan” released with 187 signatures by historians, Japan scholars, and others (mostly in the U.S.); the number of signatories grows to 464 within a week
2015-05-25 16 associations of historians and history educators in Japan issue a joint statement criticizing CW revisionism
2015-07-21 City and County of San Francisco considers a resolution establishing CW memorial; Mera, Okada-Collins, Terumi Imamura, and others speak in opposition
2015-07-23 Osaka Mayor Hashimoto criticizes SF resolution as “unfair,” sends a letter
2015-07-27 Nadeshiko Action and ATCW members visit Geneva to lobby the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
2015-09-22 City of San Francisco unanimously passes a resolution establishing CW memorial
2015-10-02 MP Yoshiaki Harada, chairman of LDP’s Committee on International Communications, states “our country denies the existence of Nanking Massacre and comfort women”
2015-09 MP Kuniko Inoguchi of LDP mails revisionist books to scholars in the U.S., Australia etc., and foreign correspondents based in Japan
2015-11 LDP forms new group to review history, particularly war crimes verdicts and GHQ policies
2015-12-18 California Department of Education releases a draft of the Social Sciences framework that includes the teaching of CW issues at 10th grade level; historical revisionists start multiple petitions against it
2015-12-28 Foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan reach an agreement on CW issue; CW survivors denounce the agreement, while the right-wing is split between those who oppose the agreement and those who support Abe’s decision
2016-01-18 PM Abe states that CW were “not sex slaves” in the parliament
2016-02-16 Japanese official denies “forcible recruitment of CW by the Japanese military” and sexual slavery at the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in Geneva; about 30 right-wing activists including Yamamoto, Sugita, Fujiki, Fujii, Hosoya, and others also lobby the CEDAW
2016-03-16 Mera,Hosoya, and Sugita hold a panel titled “Misunderstood Comfort Women” at the NGO Parallel Event coinciding with the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.
2016-03-17 Mera, Hosoya, and Sugita hold a version of the above panel in Japanese for Japanese audience in New York City.
2016-03-23 Yamamoto, Fujiki, Fujii, and Norimasa Suzuki (Seiron-no-Kai) hold an event featuring Marano at an Armenian Church.
2016-03-24 Yamamoto, Mera, andothers hold another panel at the NGO Parallel Event titled “Women’s Rights Under Armed Conflict: Japan’s Approach to Respect Women.”