Tetsuhide Yamaoka

Tetsuhide Yamaoka (山岡鉄秀), real name Hideyuki Okuda (also goes by “Hardi Odaka”), is the president of Australia-Japan Community Network, even though he actually live in Japan. In addition to leading AJCN’s effort to prevent the establishment of comfort women memorials in Australia, Yamaoka frequently contributes to conservative publications in Japan and speaks to the supporters of revisionists’ lawsuits against Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

In 2017 Yamaoka became a fellow at Historical Awareness Research Committee within the Institute of Moralogy, one of the core organizations comprising Japan Conference. He is also the author of “日本よ、もう謝るな! 歴史問題は事実に踏み込まずには解決しない” (2017) which he translates to “Make Apologies History: Letting the Facts Be Out Guide.”

Yamaoka was forced to resign from AJCN in late 2019 due to violations of internal ethics code. Around the same time, Yamaoka was accused of plagiarizing Ikuko Atsumi, a feminist turned nationalist writer and activist. In August 2020, AJCN announced that it was pressing charge against Yamaoka for embezzlement of its funds when he closed AJCN’s bank account in Japan.

Australia-Japan Community Network

Australia-Japan Community Network (AJCN) is a group formed by Japanese residents in Australia in opposition to an effort by Korean community to establish a comfort women memorial in Australia. The group was founded by Tetsuhide Yamaoka (山岡鉄秀), who was ousted from the organization in late 2019 and is currently led by Sumiyo Egawa (江川純世). It works closely with members of Happy Science including Tetsuya Sato (佐藤哲也), who was the director of Happy Science Oceania HQ during the anti-memorial campaign, but AJCN and HS have opted to obscure the involvement of HS, according to their right-wing allies in Japan.

Under the leadership of Yamaoka, AJCN pursued a two-faced strategy emphasizing in English the need for harmony among various ethnic communities in Australia, while in Japanese it boosted comfort women denial and anti-Korean racism. The two-faced strategy was apparent when AJCN criticized in English that Korean community’s effort to erect a comfort women memorial because it “threatens to undo” Japan-ROK Agreement (2015), while in Japanese it bashed the agreement and called for its nullification. Egawa even bragged about this “innovative” strategy in social media in Japanese. After Yamaoka returned to Japan, the group began publishing more transparently denialist and anti-Korean articles in English as well, such as “why do Korean children bully Japanese children?”.

In December 2016, Australia-Japan Community Network filed a complaint under Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 against the Uniting Church of Sydney, which has installed a memorial dedicated to the victims of Japanese military comfort women, claiming that the memorial “offends, insults, humiliates, or intimidates” Japanese Australians. Racial Discrimination Act however protects “artistic works, scientific debate and fair comment on matters of public interest” so long as they are expressed “reasonably and in good faith.”

AJCN’s complaint was dismissed in January 2017, but the organization filed yet another complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Website: http://jcnsydney.blogspot.com/