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.