Kuniko Inoguchi

Kuniko Inoguchi (猪口邦子) is a political scientist turned politician elected to the House of Representatives from 2005-2009 and House of Councillors from 2010-today. She is a member of Liberal Democratic Party.

In September 2015, Inoguchi sent a package containing copies of books glorifying or defending Japan’s past to over a hundred scholars and journalists specializing in researching and reporting on Japan. The accompanying letter signed by Inoguchi stated, “In East Asia, the regional history of the 20th century has been incorrectly distorted (sic) by some individuals due to their current domestic political ambitions […] I believe it is important for you, as a highly esteemed member of the academic and policy circles (sic), to look into the books which I am enclosing with this letter.” Included books were “History Wars” published by Sankei Shimbun and “Geting Over It! Why Korea Needs to Stop Bashing Japan” by Sonfa Oh, a naturalized Japanese citizen of Korean descent.

In interviews, Inoguchi stated that the books were sent on behalf of the Liberal Democratic Party’s project team, but did not identify the team. She also declined to clarify where the funding for the books and shipment came from. Inoguchi is a member of the LDP Committee on International Communications, which calls for “more aggressive external communications” against “false reports regarding comfort women.”

inoguchi_package

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Mio Sugita

Mio Sugita (杉田水脈) is a former member of Japanese House of Representative and a comfort women denier. As a three-member delegation of Japan Restoration Party (日本維新の会), which later became the Party for Japanese Kokoro (日本のこころを大切にする党), then-MP Sugita visited California in December 2013 to meet with local Japanese American leaders, who had endorsed the comfort women memorial in Glendale. Failing to convince them that the history of comfort women was fabricated, she later dismissed the Japanese Americans “typical left-wing extremists.”

Since losing re-election in December 2014, Sugita has traveled around the world to promote comfort women denial at the United Nations level, speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council (2015) and at the UN Commission on the Status of Women NGO Parallel Events (2016) along with people like Shunichi Fujiki, Koichi Mera, and Kiyoshi Hosoya. She also participated in Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women Geneva Delegation (June 2017).

In the book “Women Fight the History War” (Rekishisen ha onna no tatakai), co-authored with non-fiction writer Keiko Kawasoe, Sugita proposes bombing comfort women memorials in the U.S. When asked if she was encouraging terrorism, she responded that she would leave the interpretation to the readers.

Sugita joined the board of Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a historical revisionist organization in 2017.

In the October 2017 election, Sugita ran for Shugiin (House of Representatives) from the Liberal Democratic Party at the urging of Yoshiko Sakurai and won.

Party for Japanese Kokoro

Party for Japanese Kokoro (日本のこころを大切にする党) is a ultra-conservative political party representing constituency further to the right of the ruling (and conservative) Liberal Democratic Party. It was formed as the Party for Future Generations in 2014 by former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and others as they split from the Japan Restoration Party. The party changed its name to the Party or Japanese Kokoro in 2015.

In December 2013, members of Restoration Party visited California to urge local Japanese Americans to oppose the Comfort Women memorial in Glendale. The delegation consisted of Mio Sugita, Hiromu Nakamaru, and Yuzuru Nishida. Japanese American representatives rejected their historical revisionism.

The party was founded with 22 incumbents in the Parliament, but was decimated over the next two elections to only two members.

Shigeharu Aoyama

Shigeharu Aoyama (青山繁晴) is a conservative political commentator turned politician and a comfort women denier.

After visiting San Jose, California, Aoyama claimed to have heard first-hand testimonies about bullying experienced by Japanese children in the U.S. resulting from the construction of comfort women memorial in Glendale, California, which is over 300 miles away from San Jose. When the group of Japanese parents in San Jose who had sponsored Aoyama’s visit publicly contradicted his statement, he backtraced the comment, saying that the bullying stories were from elsewhere, even though he had not visited Glendale or anywhere near comfort women memorials in the U.S. by that time.

In June 2016, Aoyama ran for the House of Councillors and won a six-year term.

Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe (安倍晋三) is the 90th (2006-2007), 96th and 97th (2012-now) Prime Minister of Japan. Abe is recognized as one of Japan’s most nationalistic leaders in recent history. As a young legislator, Abe was the secretary general of the Young Diet Member Group for Considering Japan’s Future and History Textbooks (日本の前途と歴史教科書を考える若手議員の会, Nippon no zento to rekishi kyokasho wo kangaeru wakate giin no kai) made up of conservative members of his Liberal Democratic Party.

As the Prime Minister, Abe made a comment in March 2007 denying “forcible recruitment” of comfort women by the Japanese military. His remark was immediately criticized by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte and others, but Abe doubled down on the comment by stating that there is no evidence that point to the forcible recruitment by the Japanese military. His Deputy Cabinet Minister further stated on radio that the women were sold by their parents to become comfort women, insisting that the Japanese military had nothing to do with it.

Emboldened by Abe, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and other political leaders repeated similar or even more controversial statements throughout the spring, which along with the publication of the devastatingly counter-productive opinion ad The Facts (2007) led to the issuance of the U.S. Congressional Research Service report as well as the passage in July of the U.S. House of Representative resolution H.Res.121, both of which were critical of Japan’s handling of the comfort women issue. Soon after, Abe abruptly resigned his position.

Before becoming the Prime Minister again in December 2012, Abe was among the co-signers to the opinion ad Yes, we remember the facts. (2012), a follow-up to the earlier ad in 2007 that denied historical orthodoxy on comfort women.

Upon returning to power, Abe became more cautious in addressing the issue of comfort women, focusing instead of delegitimizing the historical processes that led to the contemporary understanding of the comfort women issue. For example in June 2014, Abe administration released a report on the process resulting in Kono Statement (1993) intended to cast doubts in the accuracies of the groundbreaking 1993 statement by then-Cabinet Minister Yohei Kono that acknowledged Japanese government’s responsibility in the treatment of comfort women during the WWII, which was seen as the first step to retracting or trivializing it.

In March 2015 Abe expressed “sympathies” toward former comfort women, describing them as the victims of human trafficking, while leaving ambiguous who was responsible for the trafficking of the women. In April of that year, he delivered a speech at the joint session of the U.S. Congress without mentioning comfort women despite demands from some U.S. politicians and civic groups. A week later, a group of 197 mostly American scholars published the “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan” demanding Abe to take more concrete actions to address the issue of comfort women.

In December 2015, foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea jointly announced an “agreement” between two countries [Japan-ROK Agreement (2015)] that “permanently resolved” the issue of comfort women with Japan’s payment of 1 billion yens to the foundation set up by South Korean government to provide direct payment to the surviving former comfort women. The agreement was widely criticized by advocates for the comfort women because it did not involve survivors’ voices nor formal acknowledgement of violence by the Japanese military and also by Japan’s far-right fringes that considered any concession as unnecessary.

Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan

Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan (日本の名誉を守る特命委員会) is a committee within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that was formed in October 2014 to refute criticisms toward postwar Japan’s handling of the Japanese military comfort women system during the WWII. It is headed by Hirofumi Nakasone (中曽根弘文), and Tomomi Inada (稲田朋美) spoke at the inaugural meeting along with him.

The committee me 13 times over the next year to discuss “false” depictions of the comfort women system in foreign media and textbooks, and issued a report in July 2015 calling on the Japanese government to more aggressively “correct the misperceptions regarding the comfort women issue.”

Members of the committee were:

  • Masahiko Takamura (高村正彦), advisor
  • Hirofumi Nakasone (中曽根弘文), chair
  • Takeshi Iwaya (岩屋毅)
  • Itsunori Onodera (小野寺五典)
  • Yoshiaki Harada (原田義昭)
  • Katsuei Hiarasawa (平沢勝栄)
  • Keiji Furuya (古屋圭司)
  • Kuniko Inoguchi (猪口邦子)
  • Kenji Kosaka (小坂憲次)
  • Keizo Takemi (武見敬三)
  • Taimei Yamaguchi (山口泰明)
  • Tsukasa Akimoto (秋元司)
  • Masahito Moriyama (盛山正仁)
  • Kenya Akiba (秋葉賢也)
  • Tsutomu Tomioka (冨岡勉)
  • Shuichi Takatori (高鳥修一)
  • Masahiko Shibayama (柴山昌彦)
  • Yoshitaka Ikeda (池田佳隆)
  • Tsuyoshi Hoshino (星野剛士)
  • Michiko Ueno (上野通子)
  • Yutaka Kumagai (熊谷大)

The Facts (2007)

“The Facts” is a paid advertisement published in the June 14, 2007 issue of The Washington Post by a group of Japanese conservatives calling themselves the Committee for Historical Facts in an attempt to dissuade the U.S. House of Representatives from adapting H.Res.121, a resolution urging Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces’ coercion of young women into sexual slavery.”

Co-signed by dozens of political and public leaders in Japan, the ad is often said to have accelerated the passage of the house resolution by giving credence to the notion that Japan had not fully accepted historical responsibility, rather than preventing it. Nonetheless, the group published a similar ad, Yes, we remember the facts. (2012) five years later.

The ad features five “facts” regarding comfort women, which are the same old denier talking points debunked long ago.

Committee for Historical Facts is made up of:

  • Taro Yayama (屋山太郎), political commentator
  • Yoshiko Sakurai (櫻井よしこ), journalist
  • Nobuaki Hanaoka (花岡信昭), political commentator
  • Koichi Sugiyama (すぎやまこういち), musician
  • Kohyu Nishimura (西村幸祐), journalist

Below is the list of endorsements for the ad.

From Liberal Democratic Party:

  • Kazuo Aichi (愛知和男)
  • Masaaki Akaike (赤池誠章)
  • Tomomi Inada (稲田朋美)
  • Taku Etoh (江藤拓)
  • Takashi Otsuka (大塚高司)
  • Hideaki Okabe (岡部英明)
  • Yuichi Ogawa (小川友一)
  • Cyube Kagita (鍵田忠兵衛)
  • Yoshitami Kameoka (亀岡偉民)
  • Minoru Kihara (木原稔)
  • Tsukasa Kobiki (木挽司)
  • Manabu Sakai (坂井学)
  • Yoshinobu Shimamura (島村宜伸)
  • Motoshi Sugita (杉田元司)
  • Keisuke Suzuki (鈴木馨祐)
  • Kentarou Sonoura (薗浦健太郎)
  • Masaaki Taira (平将明)
  • Touru Toida (戸井田徹)
  • Touru Doi (土井亨)
  • Masaki Doi (土井真樹)
  • Katsuko Nishimoto (西本勝子)
  • Jun Hayashi (林潤)
  • Yoshihisa Furukawa (古川禎久)
  • Fumiaki Matsumoto (松本文明)
  • Youhei Matsumoto (松本洋平)
  • Youji Mutoh (武藤容治)
  • Tomohiro Yamamoto (山本朋広)
  • Atsushi Watanabe (渡部篤)
  • Yoshio Nakagawa (中川義雄)

From Democratic Party of Japan:

  • Kenko Matsuki (松木謙公)
  • Hirofumi Ryu (笠浩史)
  • Yoshio Maki (牧義夫)
  • Izumi Yoshida (吉田泉)
  • Takashi Kawamura (河村たかし)
  • Takashi Ishizeki (石関貴史)
  • Kenta Izumi (泉健太)
  • Hideo Jinpu (神風英男)
  • Kenji Tamura (田村謙治)
  • Eiichirou Washio (鷲尾英一郎)
  • Keirou Kitagami (北神圭朗)
  • Jin Matsubara (松原仁)
  • Sinpei Matsushita (松下新平)

Independents:

  • Shingo Nishimura (西村眞悟)
  • Takeo Hiranuma (平沼赳夫)

Professors:

  • Hayaru Fukuda (福田逸)
  • Kohichi Endoh (遠藤浩一)
  • Masahiro Miyazaki (宮崎正弘)
  • Shudo Higashinakano (東中野修道)
  • Kazuhiro Araki (荒木和博)
  • Youichi Shimada (島田洋一)
  • Tsutomu Nishioka (西岡力)
  • Nobukatsu Fujioka (藤岡信勝)

Political Commentators:

  • Hideaki Kase (加瀬英明)
  • Kanji Nishio (西尾幹二)
  • Kouichirou Tomioka (富岡幸一郎)
  • Hisahiko Okazaki (岡崎久彦)

Journalists:

The Facts 2007

Tomomi Inada

Tomomi Inada (稲田朋美) is a right-wing member of the parliament and the Minister of Defense under Abe administration (2016-). As a lawyer, Inada represented the families of Japanese soldiers executed as war criminals involved in Nanking atrocities against newspapers that reported the war crime. She was recruited by Shinzo Abe, then the acting secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, to run for the House of Representatives after Abe heard Inada give a talk on the topic at the headquarters of the party.

Recognized as among the most hard-line nationalists when it comes to the issue of Japan’s past, Inada signed on to both The Facts (2007) and Yes, we remember the facts. (2012), opinion ads published in U.S. media to dispute historical orthodoxy on comfort women. Her appointment to Defense Minister by Abe led to a widespread concern about the further militarization of Japan.

Interestingly, Inada is surprisingly pro-LGBT, having proposed a legislation to combat discrimination against the LGBT community. In 2016, Inada claimed that LGBT groups in San Francisco supported Japanese Consulate’s campaign to prevent the establishment of a comfort women memorial in the city as a reason to support LGBT rights, but there is no evidence that any LGBT group took a position on the issue, let alone an opposition to the memorial. On the contrary, prominent Asian American LGBT leaders endorsed the memorial along with other Asian American community members.

Inada is a member of the parliamentary Japan Conference caucus.

Toru Hashimoto

Toru Hashimoto (橋下徹) is a former Mayor of the City of Osaka, Governor of the Prefecture of Osaka, and the leader of Osaka Ishin movement (Japan Innovation Party, Innovation from Osaka, etc.). Hashimoto announced retirement from politics in December 2015 after his term as the Osaka Mayor expired, but continues to serve as the legal and policy advisor to the Nippon Ishin no Kai (日本維新の会).

In May 2013, while he was the Osaka Mayor, Hashimoto argued that “in the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives… if you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary: anyone can understand that.” He further suggested that the U.S. military should utilize legalized sexual services to reduce sexual violence committed by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Okinawa. In response, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki immediately criticized Hashimoto’s statement “outrageous and offensive,” and the City and County of San Francisco asked Hashimoto to cancel his planned sister city visit.

Two weeks later, Hashimoto retracts his comment about U.S. service members while insisting that the comfort women system was similar to legalized prostitution at the time and that the Japanese military was not involved at all in the trafficking of comfort women during the WWII. The City and County of San Francisco adapted a resolution condemning Hashimoto’s statement in June.

In July 2015, as the City and County of San Francisco considered a resolution establishing a comfort women memorial in a city’s public park, Mayor Hashimoto criticized the resolution as “unfair” and sent a letter opposing the memorial.

Yes, we remember the facts. (2012)

“Yes, we remember the facts.” is a paid advertisement published in the November 6, 2012 edition of The Star-Ledger, a daily newspaper in New Jersey, by a group of Japanese comfort women deniers calling itself the Committee for Historical Facts. It is a revised version of The Facts (2007) ad, published in the June 14, 2007 issue of The Washington Post.

The ad recycles the same old comfort women denier arguments. The publication took place six months after Palisades Park, New Jersey turned down Japanese officials’ offer of one hundred cherry blossom trees in exchange for removing a small plaque memorializing comfort women.

Committee for Historical Facts is made up of:

The ad also included a long list of endorsements.

From Democratic Party of Japan (民主党)

  • Nobuyuki Fukushima (福島伸享)
  • Hiroki Hanasaki (花崎宏基)
  • Yoichi Kaneko (金子洋一)
  • Jin Matsubara (松原仁)
  • Noboru Miura (三浦昇)
  • Koichi Mukoyama (向山好一)
  • Takashi Nagao (長尾敬)
  • Masanao Shibahashi (柴崎正直)
  • Kenji Tamura (田村謙治)
  • Shu Watanabe (渡辺周)
  • Izumi Yoshida (吉田泉)

From Liberal Democratic Party (自由民主党)

  • Shinzo Abe (安倍晋三)
  • Haruko Arimura (有村有子)
  • Seiichi Eto (江藤晟一)
  • Keiji Furuya (古屋圭司)
  • Tomomi Inada (稲田朋美)
  • Yoshihiko Isozaki (磯崎仁彦)
  • Yoshitaka Ito (伊東良孝)
  • Yasushi Kaneko (金子恭之)
  • Kouichi Kishi (岸宏一)
  • Nobuo Kishi (岸信夫)
  • Seigo Kitamura (北村誠吾)
  • Yutaka Kumagai (熊谷大)
  • Hirokazu Matsuno (松野博一)
  • Shoji Nishida (西田昌司)
  • Hiroshige Seko (世耕弘成)
  • Hakubun Shimomura (下村博文)
  • Yoshitaka Shindo (進藤義孝)
  • Sanae Takaichi (高市早苗)
  • Naokazu Takemoto (竹本直一)
  • Ichiro Tsukada (塚田一郎)
  • Michiko Ueno (上野通子)
  • Junzo Yamamoto (山本順三)
  • Yuji Yamamoto (山本有二)
  • Eriko Yamatani (山谷えり子)
  • Hiroyuki Yoshiie (義家弘介)

From the Sunrise Party of Japan (たちあがれ日本)

  • Takeo Hiranuma (平沼赳夫)
  • Kyoko Nakayama (中山恭子)

Professors:

Political commentators:

Journalists:

Movie & TV Producer:

Yes, we remember the facts.