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May 23rd
Home Sections Womens Section Does the World Care About Japan’s Modern-day "Comfort Women"?
Does the World Care About Japan’s Modern-day "Comfort Women"? PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Women's Section
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 07:27

 

On Sept. 2, 1994, I wrote a nasty but respectful letter to then Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. I coursed it through channel (through the Japanese Consulate General in Los Angeles, California). I brought to Prime Minister Murayama’ attention the scandalous deal that Japan did with the administration of Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino. President Aquino agreed to the Japanese request that the loans would be paid in Japanese yen, rather than in U.S. currency that former President Ferdinand E. Marcos negotiated. The error, nay, simple-minded act of Mrs. Aquino and her financial advisers resulted in a $5-billion (spelled with a "B"), minimum, increase in the loan principal. It added insults to the financial injury that the poor people of the Philippines would shoulder as a result of the currency-exchange difference. I brought also to Mr. Murayama’s attention the plight of the so-called Japayukis (Filipino women workers in the Japanese night clubs, massage parlors and at the Ginza). I appealed also to the then Japanese Prime Minister to put an end to what I called "Japan’s modern-day ‘Comfort Women’." As expected, I did not get even the courtesy of an acknowledgment from the Japanese government (and much more a reply).

 

 

I have been using the power of the pen, oops, keyboard, to deal with the abuses of the Japanese government. Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao told me to go easy with the Japanese, least I be declared a persona non grata and barred from ever receiving a visitor’s visa to Japan.

But I never let up. Like when several American mainstream newspapers published in 2004 the generosity of a Japanese-American donor. I wrote the following essay that the www.pinoyonboard.com published.


QUOTE. The USA Today newspaper, Feb. 16, 2004, issue, published this particular account: "A Japanese American who was sent to an internment camp is donating $500,000 to study the World War II imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese Americans. UCLA is expected to announce this week that George Aratani's donation will establish the first endowed academic chair in the USA to study the internment and the decades that followed it. Aratani, 86, founded the Mikasa chinaware firm and the Kenwood electronics corporation."

With due respect to Mr. Aratani and the academic minds at UCLA, there is no need to study further the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. This is the belief of many Asian Americans. So much has been written about this sad incident in the Japanese-American relations and history. The United States Congress passed already legislation that became law. This law mandated the payment of $20,000 per Japanese-American man, woman or child that was incarcerated illegally during the last world war. The payments had already been made. There is nothing more to add by way of research to this ugly episode. The United States government has apologized and paid reparations for the mistake of some of its officials during the war.

 

 

Editor's Note: To read another article about Mr. Aratani, please go to this link, Is George Aratani A Racist?

This column wants to send a message Mr. Aratani and the UCLA officials. We think that the half-a-million-dollar donation should be used in lobbying the Japanese government to admit first that the Japanese military committed a lot of atrocities during WWII. Up to now Japan has evaded the issue of even issuing a formal apology to the families of the tens of millions of Asians, Americans and Europeans that were slaughtered by Japanese soldiers, airmen and naval personnel. Japan has refused to admit even the existence of the "comfort women" who were forced to become the sexual slaves of the Japanese military personnel. Japan has refused to address the need to apologize and compensate the tens of thousands of prisoners of war (POWs) and innocent civilians that it forced to become slaves in the mines, factories and other industrial sites in Japan and its conquered territories during WWII.

This writer belongs to the Alliance to Preserve the History of WWII in Asia-Los Angeles (ALPHA-LA). It is a not-for-profit association organized primarily to help persuade Japan to apologize for its atrocities during WWII. And to remind the world of the war's history, so that humanity may never forget and repeat the wartime brutality, barbarity and cruelty. To learn more about the ALPHA-LA, please visit www.alpha-la.org.

The ALPHA-LA has members from the Chinese-, Korean-, Filipino-, Black-, Caucasian- and yes, the Japanese-American communities. It counts as active members and officers a Japanese-American judge, a physician and other decent and well-meaning Nishi Americans. Perhaps Mr. Aratani may decide to join his compatriots who are seeking justice and due compensation for the victims of WWII Japanese atrocities.

And in regard to the comfort women, today Japan is tolerating the entry of young and economically- disadvantaged women from the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Indochina and other Southeast-Asian nations. These women are the 21st-century equivalent of the WWII comfort women and the Japanese government is blind to the immoral conduct of sex traffickers. These merchandisers of the flesh lure these Southeast-Asian women with offers of supposedly decent and well-paying jobs in Japan. They find, however, themselves working in Japanese bars and brothels under threat of violence if they would refuse to do so. We cannot comprehend how these young women in their late teens and early twenties arrive in Japanese airports, carrying tourist visas with hardly any money with them. We cannot understand how the Japanese immigration officials could allow these supposedly woman tourists to pass through them, knowing that it is very expensive to tour and much more live in Japan. This scandalous practice must end. And end it must with Japan's apology and compensation to the modern and WWII comfort women, the work slaves and the families of the tens of millions who perished at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces.

Japanese Americans like Mr. George Aratani should help the crusade of the ALPHA-LA. It they refuse to help, then perhaps the American people and all the good men and women all over the world should boycott the products and services of their businesses. And perhaps the UCLA should return the donation to Mr. Aratani. UNQUOTE. # # #



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