San Francisco to Vote on “Comfort Women” Memorial

On Tuesday, July 21st, the Board of Supervisors (city council) of the City and County of San Francisco will vote on a resolution establishing a memorial for the victims and survivors of Japanese military’s WWII-era “comfort women” system. (Click for the text of the resolution.)

Japanese right-wing activists are waging a mass email campaign in opposition to the resolution. They are also seeking their supporters in the area to show up and voice their opposition at the meeting. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to include Mayor Lee’s contact information when they circulated a list of email addresses to email bomb.

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) applauds and supports San Francisco’s leadership in acknowledging and remembering the victims and survivors of “comfort women” system. We sent a letter to the Supervisors and the Mayor in support of the resolution, and are working with our friends in the Bay Area to spread the word about the meeting on Tuesday.

If you are planning to attend the Board meeting, please read Debunking the Japanese “Comfort Women” Denier Talking Points so you know how the right-wing protesters are going to lie… and play the denier bingo! (Seriously, we’d like to hear what happens at the meeting, so if you attend it, do let us know!)

7 thoughts on “San Francisco to Vote on “Comfort Women” Memorial”

  1. This is just going to worsen an already tense situation. Not all the facts are in on whatever happened during World War II, and for a city in an uninvolved country (this issue is between Japan and Korea) to deliberately provoke an ally in such a way is heinous. This statue should not be standing, nor should any others. By the way, not all “comfort women deniers” are right-wing. I’m to the left of the left, and I think all of this is silly. Also, you made a big production out of your Bingo card without actually refuting any if the Japanese arguments! What kind of intellectual debate is that?

    1. “This issue” is not between Japan and Korea, but between some Japanese right-wing extremists and the rest of the world. And yes there are some non-Japanese non-right-wing folks in there too, but they are few and far between. Finally, did you follow the link before the bingo link, or read other parts of this website before commenting?

      1. I will admit, you did answer many of the questions. I was mistaken on that count. However, a crucial bingo point – that in which it is alleged that the comfort women are sponsored by China – remains unrefuted. The fact is that any tension between the Japanese and South Korean governments (and let’s the honest, the two governments do bash each other about it) only serves China’s purpose by driving a wedge between two U.S. allies. Did you read my other comment on your “About” page?

        1. There was no “wedge” until 2007 when the first Abe administration began making public statements backtracking on Kono Statement. Resolutions condemning Japan’s handling of the “comfort women” issue were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, the European Union, The Netherlands, Taiwan, The Philippines, and others in 2007 and 2008 in direct response to Abe’s actions. Perhaps you should be questioning if China is sponsoring Abe and his far-right Japanese extremist buddies in order to divide major U.S. allies in East Asia.

  2. Thank you for proving that (at least some) opponents of “comfort women” memorials are just racists. We approved this post just to show readers what sort of people are on his/her/its side, but in the future racist comments and links will be deleted.

  3. The issue goes back long before 2007. The Kono Statement itself was the product of heated negotiations between Japan and Korea, and the treatment of each country by the other’s nationalists wasn’t very nice. A review panel set up by the Japanese Parliament last summer determined that South Korea in some cases blackmailed Japan into including certain wording in the Statement: for instance, it tried to force Japan to remove “in many cases” from a statement about coercion; it also forced Japan to say “apologies and remorse” instead of merely “apology.” South Korea should not have been meddling with the writing of a document of the Japanese government, and should not have been surprised by the furious reaction from Japanese patriots. If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.

    As for the relationship between the Korea-Japan disputes and the rise of China, I suggest some reading from the New York Times (which I think we will both agree is a reputable source).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/world/asia/chinas-president-to-visit-south-korea.html?_r=0

    By the way, did you follow the brouhaha over the An Jung-geun memorial in Harbin? Like a John Wilkes Booth memorial in London…absolutely tactless. China and South Korea cooperated on that one; Seoul did not wait to see what Washington would think.

  4. These women have been through atrocities that none of us can truly ever understand or even imagine. They have been shunned from their families, traumatized for life, and looked at as a blemish on Japanese history (when their voices are not being completely IGNORED and HIDDEN by the Japanese government). On top of all of this, they have had their pain and suffering denied for over 50 years. This memorial is not meant to shame all Japanese people or create tensions. It is a necessary step in acknowledging the wrong done to these women and making one TINY step towards healing and reparations. To not only deny them this memorial, but to shamelessly call them liars and prostitutes is abhorrent and despicable.

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