Akiko Okamoto

Akiko Okamoto (岡本明子) is a conservative writer and activist previously affiliated with Japan Conference who served as the founding secretary general of Japan Family Value Society. As a writer, she was influential in the anti-feminist (or anti- so-called “gender free” movement) backlash in the mid-2000s. She was one of the first Japanese conservative activists to lobby at various United Nations committees, and assisted other conservative activists and groups including comfort women deniers to do the same.

Okamoto was also among the first to call attention to the establishment of comfort women memorials in the U.S. as a threat to Japan’s national pride. In the May 2012 issue of Seiron, a conservative opinion magazine, Okamoto warned how Japan was losing ground in the U.S. and in the United Nations on the issue of comfort women as evidenced by the establishment of a comfort women memorial in Palisades Park, New Jersey, even as the Japanese conservatives consolidated their dominance over domestic discourse over comfort women. Her article served as a rallying cry for Japanese conservatives and comfort women deniers to begin propagating “Japan’s position” regarding comfort women at the United Nations and in foreign media.

Okamoto herself appears to be largely retired from public involvement in conservative politics, but her successor Kiyoshi Hosoya of FAVS and other conservative activists continue to lobby against comfort women at the United Nations level.

Japan Family Value Society

Japan Family Value Society (FAVS, 家族の絆を守る会) is a conservative Japanese group dedicated to preserving “traditional Japanese families” through opposition to legislations aimed at improving the status of women such as anti-discrimination policies and legalized abortion. The organization also calls on Japan to withdraw from the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

At the founding in 2007, FAVS was part of the network of Japan Conference with Japan Conference’s Akiko Okamoto (岡本明子) as the Secretary General, although the organization appears to be less prominent under the leadership of Kiyoshi Hosoya today.

Under Okamoto, FAVS was one of the first Japanese right-wing groups to participate in the United Nations processes as an NGO along with “family values” and anti-abortion groups from around the world as a member of the World Congress of Families. More recently under Hosoya, FAVS focuses on comfort women denial at the United Nations level in collaboration with Global Alliance for Historical Truth, of which Hosoya is a board member, Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women, and Nadeshiko Action. It is unclear how much ties the organization maintains with the Japan Conference now.

Kiyoshi Hosoya

Kiyoshi Hosoya (細谷清) is a comfort women denier and self-styled “researcher” of modern Japanese history, even though his background is in business development and management. Hosoya is the secretary general of the Researchers of History on Modern Japan (HMJR, 日本近現代史研究会) and a board member of Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT), both denier groups. He is also affiliated with the Japan Family Value Society (FAVS, 家族の絆を守る会), part of Japan Conference’s anti-feminist network.

Hosoya co-authored the booklet “Comfort Women Issue: From Misunderstandings to Solution” with Yumiko Yamamoto of Nadeshiko Action.

Shiro Takahashi

Shiro Takahashi (高橋史朗) is a conservative education scholar and one of the most prominent intellectual leaders of Japan Conference, a powerful conservative establishment group. Despite the fact Takahashi has been a lifelong critic of policies aimed at promoting gender equality, which he views as a threat against traditional families, he was appointed to the Council on Gender Equality by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013 shortly after Abe’s return to power.

In the past few years, Takahashi has focused his efforts on challenging historical orthodoxies regarding crimes committed by the Japanese military during the WWII, especially the comfort women system and the Nanking atrocities. He is also actively working to stop the establishment of comfort women memorials in the U.S. and elsewhere, traveling abroad frequently and organizing conservative Japanese expats.

As an operative of Japan’s conservative establishment (that supports LDP and Abe), Takahashi tends to keep himself at a distance from the more extremist elements of the conservative movements (which view LDP and Abe as too soft), but he sometimes shares the stage with members of the latter group including Koichi Mera, Yumiko Yamamoto, and Mio Sugita.

Takahashi is the founder and president of Historical Awareness Research Committee, a founder of Channel Sakura, and a board member of Japan Education Rebirth Institute.