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.
Committee for Historical Facts (歴史事実委員会) is the group behind paid advertisements The Facts (2007) and Yes, we remember the facts. (2012) that deny the history of comfort women. It appears to be closely connected to the Society for Dissemination of Historical Fact, but it is unclear whether or not it is the same entity.
Committee members at the time of the 2007 ad were:
Committee members at the time of the 2012 ad were:
The Institute of Moralogy (モラロジー研究所) is a quasi-religious conservative think tank that “advances studies of ethics and morals and promotes social education” based on its belief in “supreme morality,” according to its website.
As one of the core organizations comprising the nationalist Japan Conference, the Institute and its Reitaku University employ a number of conservative commentators and collaborates with organizations that deny history of Japanese military atrocities and publish revisionist history textbooks.
Historical Awareness Research Committee is housed within the Historical Research Laboratory within the Institute of Moralogy.
Affiliated individuals include:
Faculty of Reitaku University include:
Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi, 日本会議) is a powerful conservative organization described by New York Times as “largest nationalist organization, which rejects postwar pacifism, embraces the imperial system and defends Japan’s past wars in Asia.” In addition, Japan Conference opposes policies aimed at promoting gender equality as the organization views them as a threat against traditional Japanese families. Many leaders of Japan Conference, including Shiro Takahashi, Hideaki Kase, and Yoshiko Sakurai are also active in comfort women denial.
Japan Conference has an affiliated parliamentary caucus within the parliament (Nippon Kaigi Kokkai Giin Kondan Kai, 日本会議国会議員懇談会) with hundreds of members, mostly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In 2014, 15 out of 19 members of the administration of Shinzo Abe were members of the Japan Conference caucus including Deputy Prime Minister (and former Prime Minister) Taro Aso (麻生太郎), Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication Sanae Takaichi (高市早苗), and Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga (菅義偉) in addition to Abe himself.
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.
Japan Forum for Strategic Studies (日本戦略研究フォーラム) is a Japanese conservative think tank founded in 1999 to promote “comprehensive research on national strategy encompassing politics, economy, military, and science and technology.” Board of directors of JFSS is composed of leading conservative figures in politics, businesses, and academy with close ties to Japan Conference.
In addition to Japanese conservative leaders like Taro Yayama (屋山太郎), JFSS boasts a number of American “special advisors” and research fellows including former U.S. Department of State officer Kevin Maher (who was forced to resign after accusing Okinawan movement against U.S. bases of extortion), director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation James Auer, former U.S. Marine officer Grant Newsham (also Auer’s colleague at the USJC at Vanderbilt), and former U.S. Marine foreign policy officer in Okinawa Robert Eldridge (who was fired after leaking video recordings of anti-base activists). These American mouthpieces for Japan’s conservative movement frequently contribute their views in English media, for example Newsham publishing regular opinion pieces in Hong Kong/Thailand-based Asia Times.
Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (国家基本問題研究所) is a conservative think tank founded and led by Yoshiko Sakurai. The Institute has close ties to Japan Conference, and many of its board members, advisors, and fellows are members come from Japan Conference and/or textbook reform movement. Its priorities include a revision of the pacifist clauses of Japan’s constitution, continued use of nuclear power, and comfort women denial.
Affiliated individuals include, in addition to Sakurai:
- Tadae Takubo (田久保忠衛), Japan Conference
- Shintaro Ishihara (石原慎太郎), fmr Tokyo governor
- Takashi Ito (伊藤隆), Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
- Taro Yayama (屋山太郎), Nippon Foundation, Society to Improve Textbooks
- Kazuo Ijiri (井尻千男), Japan Conference, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
- Shohei Umezawa (梅澤昇平)
- Masato Ushio (潮匡人), Japan Education Rebirth Institute
- Koichi Sugiyama (すぎやまこういち), Committee for Historical Facts, Society to Improve Textbooks
- Tsutomu Nishioka (西岡力)
- Akira Momochi (百地章), Japan Conference
- Yuzou Kabashima (椛島有三), Japan Conference
Japan Policy Institute (日本政策研究センター) is a nationalist think tank founded by Tetsuo Ito, a board member of Japan Conference. It is described in Japanese media as a right-wing “brain” of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. JPI’s focus areas include comfort women denial, history, and anti-feminism.
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.
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.”