Category Archives: NAGAO Hidemi



June 15, 2020

Hidemi Nagao ( Former Civil and Media Liaison Officer of the Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, Novelist and Non-fiction Writer )



  Lee Yong-soo, a self-proclaimed comfort woman, held a press conference in Tague, South Korea, on May 7.  She accused Seigiren by questioning its money management practices.  She added that she would not join the Wednesday demonstrations any longer.

    Seigiren (the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan) gets not only private funding from individual and corporate donors but also government subsidies.  What is surprising is it obtained 1.343 billion won (approximately 1.167 million yen) from the South Korean government from 2016 to 2019.[1]  Another surprise is that Kim Eun-Sung, the sculptor who made the 1.3-meter-tall girl statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, made more than 100 replicas and cashed in at least 3.1 billion won (approximately 277 million yen) so far.  Kim is believed to have sold close to ten thousand smaller statues (10 to 50 centimeters tall). [2]  The replicas, large or small, are copyrighted.  He is one of the directors of Seigiren.

    While the prosecutors are investigating Seigiren’s accounting irregularities, the intellectuals and media columnists are struggling to find out what the nation and the public can do or should do for the comfort women issue.

    Lee’s accusations have not only uncovered personal greed of certain human rights advocates but also brought about an unprecedented change in public perceptions of the issue.

2. Why?

    Why did Lee publicly criticize Seigiran at all?  I got intrigued to figure out what prompted her to do it.  Putting myself in her shoes, I try to make a guess below.

    (1) Lee has not been happy with results of her commitments for the past 30 years.

    (2) Though she has been one of the key players, she is getting afraid of being pulled out of center stage as things are going on now.

    (3) She has not been duly paid for her commitments in places both domestic and foreign.

    (4) Her act to give a hug at President Trump at a presidential banquet has not been properly recognized.

    (5) The public is no longer paying any attention to her bold statement that “Yong-soo is the Dokdo and the Dokdo is Yong-soo.”

    (6) Because she recently finds it hard to tell which is true, her personal experience of decades ago or what she has been narrating about it, she intended to divert the public attention to something else.

    (7) She has, at long last, begun to have qualms of conscience about having practiced hypocrisy.  Or,

    (8) She has lately been suffering from isolation.

3. Criticisms against Seigiren and its former leader Yoon Meehyang

    Most of Lee’s criticisms are related to money as shown below.

    Lee sobbingly said, “The fact that the Korean Council (Seigiren) has been making business of the former comfort women for the past 30 years came to light at last.  I will swear to construct a comfort women history museum.” [3]

    Lee appealed, “The Wednesday demonstrations should be terminated.”[4]

    Lee complained, “The bear trainer taught bears to do tricks and the trainer swindled all the money for the past 30 years.”[5]

    Lee fumingly said, “Yoon Meehyang became a congressperson for her personal greed.  It is unforgivable.”[6]

    Lee once asked Yoon to buy some food because she was hungry.  Yoon refused to do so by saying, “I don’t have money.”[7]

4. Proposal of exchanges of South Korean and Japanese students

    Lee understands what righteous history is.  She is well aware, at the same time, the authenticity of the hateful Seigiren as well as all self-proclaimed comfort women would be denied if there comes a day when both South Korea and Japan can share common historical perceptions.

    Lee preached, “Japan must apologize and pay reparations to the comfort women for the next one thousand years, even ten thousand years.  It is necessary, as a prerequisite, for the students both in South Korea and Japan to learn history from a proper perspective.  Both nations must become friendly to put the process on the right track.”[8]

5. Dilemma of the self-proclaimed former comfort woman

5.1.    Promotion of human rights activities

    The comfort women issue made a big wave in South Korea in early 1990s when Seigiren was established.  Seigiren launched a policy to restore honor and respect and to secure stability and freedom of the victims of the licensed prostitution system and began a variety of protest activities against Japan.

    Lee came forward as a former comfort woman in June 1992.  She became one of the victims of the system and took part in Seigiren activities.

    Seigiren’s purpose was to denounce Japan by appeal violations of the women’s rights to the world.  It required funds to promote and continue its campaigns.  Its leaders decided to collect donations from the public.  As donations came in from students and people and from businesses, so Seigiren expanded its campaigns overseas and to the United Nations.  Once it succeeded in obtaining subsidies from the government, Seigiren became a government-endorsed entity.

    Funds would never be sufficient.  So, Seigiren committed itself to raise money by selling girl statues and other comfort women related goods.

    It was only recently when Lee got concerned about three things.  One is a long-standing criticism against her personality, the image of which Seigiren created.  The second is a question of who should be at center stage as far as the comfort women issue is concerned.  The third one is Yoon is no longer a civic leader but a congressperson.

    Lee’s outcry derives from the three things above.

5.2.    Misgivings about stereotypical views

    Lee reflected on her life for the past 30 years.  Some recollections were embarrassing but others were elating and pleasant.  She always narrated her sufferings at seminars and media availabilities, meeting with a variety of people.  She took a witness stand at the U.S. Congress and at a Harvard University hall in 2007.  She cried loudly at Palisades Park in New Jersey in 2011 when a comfort women cenotaph was unveiled, an inscription of which stated that the Japanese military abducted 200,000 women to warfront.

    The knowledge of those people Lee met at various places is limited to the two years since 1944 when she was in China and Taiwan.  The timeframe—too short for anyone’s adolescent years—was, at best, a fragmentary phase of her long life.  And they regard her only as an accuser.

    One goes through a life being a child, an adolescent, and an adult before becoming an aged.  Lee did so, too.  Being born and raised in Taegu, she had painful days because she had to work for four younger brothers.[9] She still remembers voices of her father, mother, and an aunt.  When she was 14, 15, or 16, a Japanese who put on a military cap gave her a dress and a pair of shoes and took her away though her memories are not so clear today.

  After the war ended, Lee returned from Taiwan to Taegu.  Working as a waitress at taverns and grab-joints, she managed to live through such hard times as the Korean War.[10]  After her mother’s death, she worked as an insurance vender, too.[11]  She got married to an elderly man in 1989 but got divorced in two years as he was very suspicious and violent.[12]  In August

  1991 when she was sick and tired of the personal trouble, Kim Hak-sun came to the fore as a former comfort woman.  Quite a few women followed her suit in response to Seigiren’s encouragement.  Lee decided to join them.  She viewed it as a godsend.

    Those recollections did not help her overcome the three embarrassing questions.  Things are moving; Yoon would soon become a congress person.

Lee remains as a woman putting on a comfort woman mask, which is nothing but a symbol of depersonalization.

5.3.    Overcoming the depersonalization

    One grows being told not to tell a lie.  Reality is the world is full of lies, which Lee also personally experienced.  Lee allows her to tell a lie for the purpose of convenience.  It is unforgivable, however, for others to tell her a lie.  Likewise, she does not mind using others for personal benefit, but she does not want to let others use her.

    Lee gave a serious thought about the status quo for a while.  Her personality was a work-up of Seigiren and Yoon; an idolized creation for the two years since 1944.  It was a product intentionally defying her memory, reason, and conscience.

    Lee made up her mind that she should create a new personality.  What should she do?

    One way is to appeal to the public the Han of a thousand years against Japan more loudly than ever before.  She knows it has already become a

cliché.   A proposal of historical reviews by students of both South Korea

and Japan—which Lee talked about a few years back somewhere—is superficial at best.  For, she is aware of its limitations.

    There must be other means.  Lee wants to be a central player on stage again and leave the stage as one.  …  It dawned on Lee.  Exposing hidden malpractices would do.  The world would pay attention to her once again, which ushers in her new image.  Even if her exposure tactics fails, Seigiren and Yoon would not survive unscathed.

    Lee finally decided to cry out loud.  She or Seigiren or the government could care less about an academic criticism that Pavlovian anti-Japanese campaigns alone would not solve the issue.

6. What I wrote above is my guess of Lee’s flow of thoughts. It is quite unfortunate for no one to have mentioned her what Tomoko Yamazaki, a Japanese historian on women, wrote in her book about Osaki-san in 1972 and what Ham Seok-heon, an avid Quaker and a pro-democracy movement leader throughout his life (1901-1989), stated in his book in 1962.

6.1.    Yamazaki wrote the following about Osaki-san.[13]

    “Osaki-san was sold as ‘Karayuki-san’ by her brother Funazo for 300 yen when she was ten years old.  She was taken to Sandakan in Borneo, Indonesia and she became a prostitute at the age of 13 (*Karayuki-san are Japanese prostitutes who did business in foreign countries).  After the war, she fled from Manchuria with her husband and a son and lived in Kyoto; upon her husband’s passing, she alone came back to Kyushu; and she peacefully died there years later.”

    “Osaki-san, despite her having been exposed to the villagers’

prejudice in Kyushu, elevated her personality to a noble level, without becoming cynical or anti-social.  She had a big heart not only toward other people but also toward nine stray cats living around her house.  Osaki-san gave them food while having barely enough food for herself.  She said to me, ‘They also have a life to live through.’”

6.2.    Ham Seok-heon wrote as follows in his book.[14]

    “A human being is born to resist.  Resistance proves the existence of the human being.”

    “Life experience derives from a mental process of understanding, scrutinizing, and demonstrating one’s existence as a unique and valuable personality.”

7. Lee Yong-soo’s attempt seems to have achieved an objective. She would not feel lonely for a while.  But the authorities’ investigations to the allegations against Seigiren’s fund management are irrelevant to public appraisal of Lee’s personality.  People always face a harsh reality, but the reality also sees many people being saved by a person(s) of integrity.
Lee Yong-soo will earn her place in history though it has nothing to do with historical perceptions.



[1] The Japanese language edition of the JoongAng Ilbo dispatch at 1017 on May 26, 2020

[2] The Japanese language edition of the Chosun Ilbo dispatch at 1140 on June 3, 2020

[3] The Japanese language edition of Wow!Korea dispatch at 1311 on June 6,2020

[4] Ditto

[5] The Japanese language edition of the Chosun Ilbo dispatch at 0540 on May 31, 2020

[6] The Japanese language edition of the Chosun Ilbo dispatch at 1040 on May 26, 2020

[7] The Japanese language edition of the Chosun Ilbo dispatch at 1010 on May 26, 2020

[8] The Yonhap News dispatch at 1647 of May 25, 2020

[9] The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan and Teishintai Research Committee, Ed. (1993). Shogen–Kyosei Renko Sareta Chosenjin Ianfu Tachi [Testimonies – Korean Comfort Women Forcibly Recruited] (author translation). Tokyo. Akashi Shoten Publishing, pp. 131-132

[10] Ditto, p. 142

[11] Ditto, p. 143

[12] Lee Yong-soo and Michiko Takayanagi. (2009). Watashi wa Nihongun Ianfu Datta [I was a comfort woman for the Japanese military] (author translation). Tokyo. ShinNippon Shuppan Publishing, pp. 78-79

[13] Yamazaki, Tomoko. (1972). Sandakan Hachiban Shokan [Brothel Eight in Sandakan] (a/t). Tokyo. Chikuma-Shobo Publishing, p. 255

[14] Ham Seok-heon. (1980). Kunan no Kankoku Minshu-shi [History of hardships of the South Korean people] (a/t). (Kim Hak-hyon, Trans.) Tokyo. Shinkyosha Publishing, p. 399, p. 15



June 4, 2020

Hidemi Nagao ( Former Civil and Media Liaison Officer of the Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, Novelist and Non-fiction Writer )


Lee Yong-soo, a self-proclaimed comfort woman, accused Seigiren and its leader Yoon Meehyang in Tague, South Korea, on May 7.  Since then, her accusation has been rocking the entire South Korean society.  I would like to personally offer an observation about the situation which I call a clatter involving Seigiren (the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan).    Honorific titles are not used herein.

  1. Limits of the clatter

1.1.        I set aside the definition of the comfort women here.  The comfort women cenotaphs and statues being built in South Korea and foreign countries symbolize the use of comfort women by the Japanese military in warfront.  Their significance will not be called into question by the South Koreans even if Seigiren gets denied and disestablished.

1.2.        Seigiren, established in South Korea in 1990, became the first civic entity to support the self-proclaimed comfort women.  The South Koreans consider the existence of similar groups important.  Accordingly, anti-Japan campaigns will not come to an end as far as the comfort women issue is concerned.

1.3.        Most of the expenses for Seigiren campaigns is said to have been borne by donated funds from the public at large.  The prosecutors will investigate the case for misappropriation and breach of trust in bookkeeping. Investigations would probably be completed by making its leader Yoon Meehyang and her accountant and family members face the fire.

1.4.        It is said to be Etsuro Totsuka who first began to call comfort women sexual slaves.  He used the phrase at a United Nations committee in 1992.  Sexual slavery is used with specific reference to comfort women in Seigiren’s English name.  It is unknown who first used the phrase.  Its usage—to refer to licensed prostitutes—began to prevail by mid-1990s.  Things have made an abrupt turn backward on May 25 when Lee Yong-soo said at the media availability she had detested the naming as abominable.  The South Korean Foreign Ministry, in its English homepage, favors sexual slavery to refer to comfort women.  It is, therefore, inconceivable for Seoul to bother to retract the naming at the U.N. committees.  It is because there is no substitute phrase that can carry as much social impact as sexual slavery does even if the premise of the victim-centered approaches is being upheld.

1.5.        As mentioned above, the environment regarding the comfort women issue would not drastically change.  I would like to make a proposal here, despite such an observation.  Seigiren has been accusing Japan by making the comfort women issue a case of women’s rights violation.  If it seriously intends to advance the women’s rights, its name should reflect the existence of comfort women for the South Korean military and the U.N. command during the Korean War and the South Korean comfort stations and Lai Dai Han during the Vietnam War, too.  I would recommend the following name if volunteers are to establish a new coalition after the Seigiren clatter, which requires courage of the South Koreans.

The Korean Council for the Women (and Lai Dai Han Mothers) Abused by the Japanese Military, the South Korean Military, the U.N. Command

  1. Establishment of a public comfort women support organ

2.1.        Trying to turn the challenge into to opportunity, the South Korean government is believed to establish and manage a new support agency for the comfort women as public trust for Seigiren has reached its nadir.  The new organ would belong to either the ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of health and welfare, or the ministry of gender equality and family, depending on what the Blue House prioritizes, i.e., diplomacy, social welfare, or promotion of women’s rights.

2.2.        This new organ must clearly understand what the comfort women want to accomplish.  If the women may merely ask for provision of consolation money, this organ would fulfill its role when it completes provision of the money to all comfort women and their bereaved families.

2.3.        If the women, on the other hand, calls on the government to negotiate with the Japanese government for the purpose of making the latter unequivocally acknowledge the national responsibility for having institutionalized the comfort women system in warfront.  Predicted at present are two situations below.

2.3.1.     The Japanese government would claim the issue to be settled domestically in South Korea by referencing the Kato statement, the Kono statement, the Asian Women’s Fund, and the recent bilateral agreement.  Because it is unrealistic for Japan to make concessions, the donation of one billion yen for the Foundation to Support Former Comfort Women would get out of hand now that the South Korean government already disestablished the foundation.  The comfort women issue would remain unresolved.

2.3.2.     The comfort women may propose a compromise.  They would accept the consolation money on condition that the South Korean government pledge to continue its efforts to call for Japan’s concession.

  1. South Korean “Han” against Japan

3.1.        The Japanese government should be aware of three things while observing events in South Korea.  All of them relate to “Han (see Note at the end)” the South Koreans have toward Japan as mentioned by Chun Yung-woo, former chief diplomatic adviser to President Lee Myung-bak.  He emphasized two points below in the Japanese language edition of the Chosun Ilbo of May 24.

“It is necessary for fellow citizens to continue to erect girl statues and reflect on the violence Japan inflicted upon us as a historical lesson, even after all comfort women pass away.

We would never be able to say enough is enough when it comes to revenge campaigns against Japan.  It is unwarranted, on the other hand, for our country to turn our attention solely to the past.  Our country has core values more important than the anti-Japan commitment.  We must remember that our goal of overtaking Japan shall slip away if we lose our moral superiority over Japan.”

3.2.        The Japanese government must also bear in mind the third point, which also relates to “Han” Chun narrated.  According to the Japanese language edition of the Chosun Ilbo of May 26, Yee Yong-soo said at the press conference of May 25 as follows.

“What I would like to say is not to quit the campaigns but to change the way they are carried out.  The pillar of our philosophy is Japan should continue to apologize for the comfort women issue for thousands of years to come.

Key players in our history are students of both South Korea and Japan who are to solve the comfort women issue.  We must strive to lead them to develop righteous historical perceptions and encourage them to mutually exchange.”

3.3.        A Japanese would clearly see in the background of the thoughts Yee and Chun mentioned is the annexation of the Korean Empire by Japan in 1910.  It is meaningless here to mention to the South Koreans the present relationships between the former colonial power and the former colonized territory in the days of imperialism; Britain and India, France and Indochina, the Netherlands and Indonesia, and the U.S. and the Philippines, for example.  When it comes to matters involving South Korea and Japan, they are irrelevant, period.  It is, therefore, meaningless what the yangban, the ruling class since the Yi Dynasty in the Korean Peninsula, did or did not do when their homeland was annexed to Japan.

  1. What Japan is supposed to do?

4.1.        Pyon Jinil, editor-in-chief of the Korea Report, contributed on May 27 an opinion piece titled “Five reasons why a bombshell statement by a former comfort woman is good news for the Abe administration.”  The gist is as follows.

Merit 1:  Seigiren’s legitimacy is denied.

Merit 2:  The published comfort women statements are questioned.

Merit 3:  The Wednesday demonstrations are not encouraged.

Merit 4:  The phrase of sexual slaves is detested.

Merit 5:  Congressperson Yoon Meehyang’s political voice will decline.

4.2.        I hate to reiterate this, but the Japanese government issued the Kato statement in 1992, the Kono statement in 1993, established the Asian Women’s Fund in 1994, issued the Murayama statement in 1995, and reached an agreement with South Korea in 2015, regarding the comfort women issue.  Whatever the U.N. committees presented as conclusive observations/recommendations in the past and whatever they will issue in future, what Japan did in earnest has been carved in stone.

4.3.        On the other hand, what South Korea and the U.N. committees have done so far is to merely link the comfort women issue with women’s rights violation in today’s ethical standards.  They have never attempted to scrutinize the comfort women system—which the Japanese military used from 1932 to 1945—from the sociological or legal viewpoints.  They have not paid any attention to the geopolitical situations of the Far East up until the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910, either.  Any discussion without reviewing the how and why of the past events are irresponsible per se.  The mission of each U.N. committee is to issue a recommendation to the state party concerned in response to a presented claim.  It is, therefore, not appropriate to question the committee members’ wisdom.  They happen to be there for talking as writers till the day is done.  No one can expect more from them because they are no more than bystanders.

4.4.        Lastly, what Yee Yong-soo recommended must be reviewed.  She encouraged students of South Korea and Japan to be given righteous history education and to engage in cross-pollination of ideas.  Presenting historical materials to students of both countries would not usher in any solution to the comfort women issue.  For, it is not possible to ask them to reduce into writing contentious and divisive issues, to examine each, and to come up with a reasonable judgement.  It is, however, possible for such an interaction to become a means to inspire hope.  This hope will become realistic only on condition that no decisive conclusion is to be made by both students.  In other words, they are supposed to accept pros and cons of the issue as a result of historical consideration.

4.5.        The Japanese government has nothing to do but to wait and see till the clatter subsides.

Note:  Han in Japanese is an emotion of rage and hate against others.  Han is a concept of an emotion, variously described as some form of grief or resentment, among others, that has been said to be a characteristic of Korean culture.  Han is a modern phenomenon that did not exist in premodern Korea.  Han is not found in the first Korean–English dictionary, published by James S. Gale in 1897, according to Michael D. Shin of Robinson College.  Shin says almost any negative emotion can be called Han and argues that the central aspect of Han is loss of identity, in that the complex of emotions that result from the traumatic loss of collective identity, according to Wikipedia (browsed on May 30)  One seasoned journalist who is well-versed in Korean language and has years of professional experience in South Korea said, “Han is an emotion to be generated when one’s pursuit of an ideal gets undermined by a person or an organization, which, therefore, never goes away.”



Date:    April 15, 2020

From:  Hidemi Nagao, Chairman of the Association to Boost Credibility of United Nations Committees (ABC-UNC)

To:   Honorable Members of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)


Ref:  List of issues and questions prior to the submission of the ninth periodic report of Japan (CEDAW/C/JPN/QPR/9 of March 9, 2020, ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION)

Dear Sirs and Madams,

  1. Request

I, as Chairman of the Association to Boost Credibility of the United Nations Committees (ABC-UNC), request that your committee (CEDAW) to retract and rescind the following statement in paragraph 2 (Definition of discrimination and legislative framework) of the reference.

“Regarding the Imperial House Act, the provisions of which currently excludes women from succeeding to the royal throne, please provide details on the steps envisaged to enable female succession to the throne.”

  1. Reasons to call for retraction of the statement

I suspect some misunderstandings had contributed to the committee’s formulation of the statement above.  Please allow me to explain key matters related to the Imperial Household so that they can be duly allayed.  Brevity is essential and, therefore, I will try “not to keep you long” as British King Henry VIII said to his six wives.

2.1.  History about the Imperial Household

2.1.1.  The early days of the Imperial Household are written in both Kojiki (the Records of Ancient Matters, compiled in 712) and Nihonshoki (the Chronicle of Japan, compiled in 720).  Historians regard those days as belonging to myths; there is no argument among them.  According to the myths, three important deities came into existence after the islands of Japan were created.  They were allotted the heaven, the night, and the seas respectively.  Of note is two of them were women and one is a man.  In the myths is no sexual discrimination among the deities.

2.1.2.  There are, however, controversies about since when the Imperial Household (emperors) existed.  The first Emperor Jinmu ascended the throne in 660 BC, which makes Emperor Naruhito of today the 126th Emperor of Japan.  The 16th Emperor Nintoku who reigned in the 4th century is known to have existed.  In other words, the Imperial Household is blessed with more than 1800 years of history at least.

2.1.3.  The Imperial Household maintains until today the male succession policy.  History saw there were eight empresses in Japan, the first one being Empress Suiko from 592 to 628 and the last one being Empress Gosakuramachi from 1762-1770.  The empresses reigned for ten eras because two of them were enthroned twice.  They were exceptions.  For, eight empresses ascended the throne for the purpose of maintaining the imperial lineage.  Each of them reigned for a certain period till a male descendant got enthroned.

2.1.4.  There was a serious search to locate imperial descendants for the male succession policy.  Senator Hiroshi Yamada of the House of Councilors said at his speaking engagement on December 1, 2019 as follows.

“Before the 26th Emperor Keitai ascended the throne, the imperial court did an all-out search of ascendants up to several generations and found a descendant in Fukui (in the north of Kyoto).”

2.2.  A woman on the throne and the matrilineal imperial system

2.2.1.  As mentioned earlier, several empresses were in the Imperial Household history.  But they were exceptions.  The policy is to maintain the authentic imperial lineage, the emperor’s bloodline.  The bloodline which relates to DNA is briefly explained here.

“DNA is a chemical molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions.  It forms a chemical union with protein to produce chromosomes.  In a human cell are 23 pairs of chromosomes in which 22 pairs are autosomes and one pair are sex chromosomes.  A female has X+X chromosomes while a male has X+Y chromosomes.”

2.2.2.  The introduction of the matrilineal imperial system to the Imperial Household would mean, for example, the emperor’s daughters get married to males outside the imperial lineage, which translates to discontinuance of the imperial Y-chromosomes.  This system is not acceptable.

2.2.3.  If the Imperial Household happens to have no male descendants for the throne, it is possible for the Japanese parliament to pass a special law to ascend a daughter to the throne as a temporary measure.  CEDAW’s recommendation mentioned in paragraph 1 above does not clarify the issue of the authentic imperial lineage.

2.3.  Unwarranted intervention

2.3.1.  The recommendation to revise the Imperial Household Law to accommodate empresses seems to be without problem at first glance.  it would, however, be a case of “ultra vires” (beyond the powers).

2.3.2.  For, as mentioned in subparagraphs 2.1-2.2 above, the recommendation would deny the bloodline the Imperial Household has kept for a long time; it would amount to denying its history.  Once its history is denied, the Shinto rituals conducted by the household gets denied, too.

2.3.3.  There are many countries in the world that embrace Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, each of which has semi-mythical or mythical elements and conducts rituals in some form or another.  Even if some teachings in those religions are contrary to historical facts, would international organs and foreign governments call for correction of them?  Would they intervene those religions sovereign states embrace?  Such an act would become a case of “ultra vires.”

2.3.4.  Section 2 of the Additional Clause of the Imperial Household Law enacted in 1947 states “the present imperial family shall be the imperial family under this law.”  The clause is said to have seriously regarded the opinion of the General Headquarters, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.  That is, the Allied Powers intended to make the Imperial Family eventually become extinct.  Because of section 2, the imperial family was limited to the emperor, his two sons, his brother, the brother’s three sons, and his nephew’s son.  The act was nothing but an unwarranted intervention.  In October 1947, 11 former imperial families—according to the section and due partly to economic hardships anticipated—voluntarily separated from the imperial family.

  1. Conclusion

3.1.  No international organs or foreign governments have any vested right to call on Japan for discontinuing the Imperial Family.

3.2.  Such an intervention would be an act to retroactively deny rich cultural heritage the Imperial Household has nurtured until today.  Were it not for the Imperial Family, such great works as the Tale of Genji (the oldest and longest novel in the world, written by a woman) and the Pillow Talks (a collection of essays authored by another women) would not have been created at the turn of the 11th century.

3.3.  Based on my background explanations, I humbly request the honorable CEDAW members to retract and rescind the recommendation concerning the Imperial Household, by making a philosophical judgement.

  1. Supplementary note

On April 6, 2020, British Queen Elizabeth II made a televised address to her people as follows amid corona virus pandemic (COVID 19).

“The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.”

The queen’s intention is not to deny the past.  Observing tradition will make the Britons proud of their nation.  They and their nation, with the pride, can tackle with their present and their future.  The same is equally true of Japan, not to mention the continuity of the Imperial Household.

Very respectfully yours,

Hidemi Nagao

Chairman, the Association to Boost Credibility of United Nations Committees (ABC-UNC)

Did CED give serious thought to its recommendations to Japan?


April, 2020
Hidemi Nagao ( Former Civil and Media Liaison Officer of the Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, Novelist and Non-fiction Writer )

Did CED give serious thought to its recommendations to Japan?

1. Do the readers still remember conclusive observations the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) presented to Japan on November 19, 2018? It is documented as CED/C/JPN/CO/1.

2.  Nadeshiko Action homepage posted them on November 21, 2018 with the following additional information.

“It is the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), the Women’s Active Museum of War and Peace (WAM), and the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan that tabled the comfort women issue to the committee. CED is believed to have made conclusive observations in response to an opinion brief the three organizations jointly submitted.”

3.  The brief dated July 12, 2018 contained the following recommendations regarding the comfort women issue.

“(1) The State party (*Japan) should ensure that public officials and leaders will desist from making thoughtless remarks regarding responsibility of the Government of Japan for violations committed against ‘comfort women.

(2) The State party should humbly face the conclusive observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in which the Committee regrets that the announcement of the bilateral agreement with the Republic of Korea in December 2015 ‘did not fully adopt a victim-centered approach’ and urges to recognize ‘the right of the victims to a remedy, and accordingly provide full and effective redress and reparation, including compensation, satisfaction, official apologies and rehabilitative services,’ and work on this issue faithfully with consideration given to the feelings of the victims.”

4.  The finalized CED recommendations to Japan deal with the comfort women issue in paragraphs 25- 26. Paragraph 26 states, in part, as follows.

“(b) Ensure that all cases of so-called “comfort women” who may have been subjected to enforced disappearance, including removal of children born to these women, are investigated thoroughly and impartially without delay, regardless of the time that has elapsed since they took place and even if there has been no formal complaints;

(c) Ensure that the alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished in accordance with the gravity of their acts;”

5.  The recommendations are based on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which was adopted at the 61st United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2006. The convention took effect from December 23, 2010. Japan acceded to the convention since its onset. The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand as well as China, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, or Iran has not.

6.  It is unreasonable, in the first place, for the Korean Council to be cited as one of the report originators, isn’t it?  For, South Korea is not yet a signatory country to the convention. It is like saying, “We are not bound by the convention. But you must execute what the committee recommends because you are supposed to uphold it.”

7.  If the Japanese government sincerely commits itself to execute the recommendations above, i.e., to reveal facts and prosecute and punish the perpetrators, something extremely troublesome would come to the fore between South Korea and Japan; more so for the former than for the latter.

7.1.  Lt. Col. Archie Miyamoto (U.S. Army Retired) published in 2017 “Wartime Military Records on Comfort Women,” 2d Edition, from Amazon Fulfillment. After having read Japanese Foreign Ministry documents (consul general reports), he gives the following comments (pp. 37-39).

“(1) These reports provide concrete evidence many comfort stations were operated by Koreans, a fact not widely known outside Korea and Japan.

(2) They (*comfort stations) were not operated by the military or by military employees. Prostitution was legal and operating a brothel was not considered an illegal activity. Types of business operated by Koreans, in addition to comfort stations, include photo shops, retails stores, restaurants, transportation business, trading companies, …, and hotels.

(3) Korean operators of special comfort stations in many cases had women and children, in other words, families. This is evidence that they were not single men who were part of the Japanese Army. The same applied to Japanese operated comfort stations.

(4) In all reports, special comfort stations operated by Japanese had Japanese comfort women, and those operated by Koreans had Korean comfort women. There is not a single report that lists any Korean comfort women in a Japanese operated comfort station. There were many reports on the same city at different time but showed no significant changes.”

7.2.  Miyamoto cited three reports dispatched to the ministry from consul generals stationed in China as examples of the Japanese comfort women employed by the Japanese and the Korean comfort women employed by the Koreans:

(1) Jiujiang, Central China, Consulate Report No. 561, 11/8/38.
Japanese Operated Businesses:

Special Comfort Stations      15
Japanese operators               42 men, 25 women, 1 child
Japanese Comfort Women   107

Korean Operated Businesses:

Special Comfort Stations      9
Korean Operators                   26 men, 8 women, 3 children
Korean Comfort Women       143

(2) Nanchang, Central China, Consulate Report No. 217, dated August 9, 1929.
Japanese Operated Businesses:

Japanese Comfort Stations  3
Japanese Operators               5 men, 3 women
Japanese Comfort Women   8

Korean Operated Businesses:

Korean Comfort Stations      8
Korean Operators                   19 men, 9 women
Korean Comfort Women       94

(3) Chiaohu, Central China, Consulate Report No. 170, dated August 2, 1939.
Japanese Operated Businesses:

Japanese Comfort Stations  4
Japanese Operators and Japanese Comfort Women 10 men, 31 women, 2 Children

Korean Operated Businesses:

Korean Comfort Stations      2
Korean Operators/comfort    2 men, 30 women, 1 child

7.3.  The records above show 64 or so Korean operators and their families ran 19 Korean comfort stations with more than 260 Korean comfort women in three cities. If some of the Korean women were victims of the enforced disappearance, who should be the perpetrators of it? Can the Japanese government duly prosecute and punish them? Can South Korea cooperate with Japan to bring justice?

8. The McDougall Report of 1998 states, “Between 1932 and the end of the Second World War, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial Army forced over 200,000 women into sexual slavery in rape centres throughout Asia. … The majority of those ‘comfort women’ were from Korea, …. It is now clear that both the Japanese Government and military were directly involved in the establishment of rape centres throughout Asia during the Second World War. The women who were enslaved by the Japanese military in these centres – many of whom were between the ages of 11 and 20 – were housed in locations throughout Japanese-controlled Asia, where they were forcibly raped multiple times on a daily basis and subjected to severe physical abuse and exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. Only about 25 per cent of these women are said to have survived these daily abuses. To obtain these “comfort women,” the Japanese military employed physical violence, kidnapping, coercion and deception.”

9.  Had there been 200,000 Korean women who were forced to become comfort women, and had only 50,000 women, 25% of them, survived the ordeal until the end of the war as South Korea alleges, 150,000 of them would have disappeared in the meantime. Whatever the causes of their disappearance may have been, i.e., fatal illness, murder by torture, running away from the house, it was the Korean house masters who employed the Korean comfort women. Professor Park Yu-ha who authored “Comfort Women of the Empire” says, “The psychological and physical scar those women have borne is not solely attributable to the violence the troops inflicted upon them. It was the house masters who were also to be blamed for confinement, forced labor, and violence imposed upon the women (p. 113).”

10. This is a supplemental note. Professor Hiroshi Hashiya who authored “Teikoku Nihon to Shokuminchi Toshi” [Imperial Japan and colonized cities] (author translation) in 2004 mentioned brothels in Taipei as follows (p. 95). It is hard to believe Japanese or Taiwanese house masters ran the three Korean brothels mentioned below.

“When Taiwan was ceded to Japan by China, there were no brothels inside the Taipei City Walls. The Japanese began to arrive in Taipei and went to the Wanhua District where local brothels were. Since then, Wanhua became a center of brothels in the region. 1940 saw 25 brothels with 220 Shogi. Among them were 42 Koreans, 20% of the prostitutes in the district. Though its background is unknown, their names were Joseon (*Korean) House, New Joseon House, and Peninsula House.”

11.  I loudly wonder if the CED committee that received an opinion brief seriously wanted to make Japan commit herself to punish the perpetrators. I also wonder if the committee adopted the conclusive observations, being fully aware that South Korea was not yet a member state to the convention.

12.  I will not mention herein the propriety of the conclusive observations regarding the statute of limitation because it requires more space. A layman would understand Article 35 of the convention as it states. Then, you may reasonably conclude that the conclusive observations seem like a stretch because the article states as follows.

“Paragraph 1. The Committee shall have competence solely in respect of enforced disappearances which commenced after the entry into force of this Convention.

Paragraph 2. If a State becomes a party to this Convention after its entry into force, the obligations of that State vis-à-vis the Committee shall relate only to enforced disappearances which commenced after the entry into force of this Convention for the State concerned.”

13. Lastly, I hope no Korean comfort women—who were called the fifth logistic items or western princesses—had gone missing during the Korean War and no Vietnamese comfort women—who worked at South Korean comfort stations—had gone missing during the Vietnam War. By the way, Professor Choe Kilsung, who authored “Chosen Senso de Umareta Beigun Ianfu no Shinjitsu” [Truth on the birth of comfort women for the U.S. military during the Korean War] (author translation) in 2018, wrote that he had personally experienced the Korean War in his village and that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops had not raped local women whereas the United Nations Command troops had raped women till the comfort stations were established in the village (pp. 47-86).

“The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future,” said Queen Elizabeth II on April 6, 2020 when she addressed the nation.

Shusenjo— The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue (film)


March, 2020
Hidemi Nagao ( Former Civil and Media Liaison Officer of the Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, Novelist and Non-fiction Writer )

Shusenjo— The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue (film)

1.  Shusenjo is a documentary film which has three versions with subtitles in English, Japanese, and Korean. Miki Dezaki directed and produced it and publicly released it on April 20, 2019.1  As the English subtitle indicates, so the film does deal with the comfort women issue.  But it presents other matters as important issues, too.

2.   The audience of this film is divided into three categories: (1) Those people who have been sympathetic to the self-proclaimed comfort women will be happy because it presents what they want to see; (2) Those people who have been suspicious of their claims (allegations) will be disappointed because it ignores facts; and (3) Those people who have not been interested in the issue will become convinced of Japan’s threat to the world because of its political messages.

3.  The film focuses on the intellectuals who stand against the South Korean allegations. Dezaki maliciously labels them as denialists, revisionists, or rightists (*the neutrals hereinafter) and criticize them.  Then he highlights Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an unforgiven politician.

4. Methods Dezaki employed for filmmaking are questionable because he chose,

4.1.  To interview the neutrals for the purpose of criticizing their views.

4.2.  Not to reasonably and seriously scrutinize the propriety of the South Korean allegations below.

(1) Forcible/coercive recruitment of the comfort women by the military and the Japanese government is argued without citing too much about Seiji Yoshida and none about Kako Senda. What they said and wrote is treated in the film as a very small portion of the big picture.  It is very hard to understand why Dezaki presented a video clip image of Yoshida.  For, it is Yoshida who set a fire on the comfort women issue.  This is no laughing matter.

(2) The existence of 200,000 Korean comfort women in warfront is handled as one of the views because it is the human rights violation that counts most.

(3) The fact that the comfort women—who provided sexual services for troops—were in a slavery condition in the broadest sense of the term is emphasized without defining the difference between sexual slaves and prostitutes.

(4) Whatever liberty the comfort women enjoyed in warfront is marginalized because it jeopardizes the understanding that they were victims of sexual slavery.

4.3. To impress the audience that the Kono Statement is proof that the Japanese government has acknowledged its wrongdoings in the past, without carefully analyzing the entire statement.

4.4. To bash Japan and Premier Abe for its/his orientation to slight the comfort women issue and to promote militarism, nationalism, and Shintoism, so that Japan’s prestige in the international community continues to be damaged.

4.5. Not to mention how Dezaki obtained videotape interviews with the neutrals. He partially hinted it during an after-the-show interview he gave to a journalist in London.2

4.6.  Not to properly appraise the book Professor Park Yu-ha wrote, “The Comfort Women of the Empire.”

4.7.  Not to mention the claim of Professor Su Zhiliang of the Shanghai Normal University that the number of comfort women to have been more than 400,000, including 200,000 Chinese women because Dezaki wants to emphasize the aspect of the human rights infringement for the issue.

4.8.  To believe what Yoshimi said about the Semarang Incident, without carefully reviewing the Batavia trial transcriptions.  There have been wrongful convictions not only in Japan but also in the U.S.

4.9.  To keep topics, to a minimum, of the Korean comfort women during the Korean War and the Vietnamese comfort women during the Vietnam War so that the audience cannot pay too much attention to the South Korean military use of comfort women.

5. A few aberrations noted in the film are as follows.

5.1.  Etsuro Totsuka says, “The government did not investigate illegal cases of recruiting women by some crooked agents.  It did not punish them.”  Conventional wisdom has it that Korean agents recruited Korean women while Japanese agents did Japanese women.  Quite a few Japanese consulate reports suggest that Korean house masters ran their comfort stations by employing Korean comfort women.3  Japan’s punishing those Korean agents would add fuel to the fire if it is what Totsuka meant.

5.2. Yun Mi-hyang of the Korean Council says, “South Korea is responsible for the issue to some extent.  That is why we, the Korean Council, has been blaming the patriarchy in Korea.  But the Japanese government exercised the gigantic rape system, which overrides the patriarchy in Korea.”  She does not consider it necessary to blame the Korean patriarchy.

5.3. Mina Watanabe of the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace (WAM) says, “The number of comfort stations is more than 140,” after the WAM made a map of comfort stations.  If more than 140 comfort stations housed 200,000 comfort women (or 30,000 or more than 50,000 comfort women as Yoshimi mentioned in two occasions), at most 1,400 (or 200, or 350) women worked at each comfort station.  Those numbers are nowhere close to what Japanese consulate reports mentioned.  Those reports indicate running a comfort station was a family business.3  The management of a Korean comfort station was a Korean family business.

6. Dezaki said during an interview session after the film showing in London, “99.99% of historians consider the women were sexual slaves.”2 What he meant is the neutrals are not historians.  But his film does not support those historians weigh facts.  Professor Park wrote that the system of comforting was certainly ‘criminally chargeable’ but it was not a crime under law at the time.4

7.  Conclusion
Shusenjo is a superficial game Dezaki wanted to play.  He merely skimmed the cream of the comfort women issue.  That is why he did not heed to the importance of facts in history, which unequivocally proves he is a pseudo reformist.

The message Dezaki intended to deliver to the audience is to damage the prestige of Japan though he did not disclose any reason for his animosity against Japan.

The film pictures Dezaki not as a researcher who spares no effort to solve the issue but as a representative of the Internet generation with a capitalist mindset.  He sought quick returns to enter the spotlight.

It is unfortunate for Dezaki to have committed himself to the filmmaking.  The longer he continues the film tour, the more damage it would inflict upon his personality development.  He is repeating the history of the self-proclaimed comfort women in South Korea since 1990s: They have kept parroting a seemingly reasonable social cause to become the media icons and they lost personality and opportunities to enjoy real life the world has for them.

There may come a day when Dezaki enlightens himself to become one of the neutrals.

8. Supplementary notes

8.1. A misleading e-mail request for interview
Dezaki sent an e-mail request to eight claimants in 2016. He first explained them what he was doing was an academic research or a graduation work, or a graduation project as he was studying at the Jochi Graduate School (Sophia University). Then he asked for a videotaped interview. One of the e-mail sent to Yumiko Yamamoto was as follows (*translated from Japanese into English by Yamamoto).5

“In May 2016, I received an email “Subject: Interview request for a documentary from Mikine Dezaki, a Sophia University graduate student.”

< The mail was written in polite Japanese as follows:

I am a Japanese American. I am now a graduate student of Sophia University. Through my research on the comfort women issue, I have come to understand that the issue is much more complex than what I read in the western liberal media. I know that there is a severe lack of authenticated documentary evidence regarding forced recruitment of comfort women and that the conditions for the comfort women may not have been as bad as some activists and academics claim. I must admit that I did believe the western media at one point, but now, I have my doubts. As a graduate student, I have an ethical obligation to present the people I interview with respect and fairness. This is an academic research. It must meet certain academic standards and expectations, which would prevent it from becoming a biased journalistic piece. So, I will produce it with equitability and neutrality. I am going to submit it to the University as a graduation project.>

8.2. A lawsuit filed against Dezaki
Dezaki interviewed Yoshiko Sakurai, Kent Gilbert, Mio Sugita, Tony Marano, Hideaki Kase, Yumiko Yamamoto, Nobukatsu Fujioka, and Toshikazu Fujiki. All of them believed his documentary was a graduate study till the film was commercially released in April 2019. They issued a joint protest statement on May 30, 2019 and requested him not to show the film to the public because they did not explicitly agree to Dezaki’s intention of making the interviews as part of a commercial film. He refused it. Five of them filed a suit in the Tokyo District court on June 19, 2019 to terminate the film’s public showing and to claim for damages of 14.6 million yen.

8.3. Dezaki’s graduate school instructor, Professor Nakano

8.3.1. The five plaintiffs of the lawsuit questioned the administrative propriety of Dezaki’s graduate work and his instructor Professor Koichi Nakano’s supervision. They mailed a contents-certified mail to the Jochi University on August 28, 2019.6 They requested the university (1) to investigate the graduate work and (2) to admonish both Dezaki and Professor Nakano. The claimants cited the university’s guideline on researches which pertains to people who become subjects of a study/discussion. Its subparagraph 5(2)ka stipulates, “A researcher must expeditiously destroy information and data of a subject person when he/she withdraws his/her earlier consent to the research at issue.”

8.3.2. In response, the university established a five-member investigation panel. After the claimants questioned the impropriety of the panel composition and Nakano’s exclusion as one of the accused, the university changed two of the five members and included Nakano as the accused.

8.3.3. On January 15, 2020, the university mailed a letter of request to Fujioka. President Yoshiaki Terumichi requested Fujioka to refrain from disclosing to other people any matter related to the panel investigation. Terumichi was concerned about Fujioka’s use of Facebook as a venue to discuss the request and university responses. He said such an act would jeopardize the investigation proceedings.

8.3.4. The president’s letter of request seems to be reasonable under a normal circumstance. Problem is a fact that Dezaki has been promoting the film’s public showing in foreign countries while the panel investigation is in progress. In fact, he toured 34 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe since September to December 2019, and additional 19 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada from February to March 2020. The president’s warning to Fujioka and his allowing Dezaki’s tours are inconsistent.

8.3.5. For information, Nakano held talks with Chairman Kazuo Shii of the Japan Communist Party, which were printed in the Akahata, official daily of the party, on January 1, 2016, January 1 and February 22, 2020.6

9. As for the lawsuit filed against him, Dezaki said that it might take one year or even ten years before a judgment is given. He also said the lawsuit like that was called a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) to suppress freedom of speech.2


< Bibliography >

1. Shusenjo. Retrieved from on December 13, 2019.

2. Kobayashi, Ginko. (2019/11/19 (Tue) 23:48) Ianfu Mondai ni Semaru Eiga Shusenjo, Ei Essex Daigaku no Joeikai de Dezaki Kantoku ga Katatta Koto ha [What film director Dezaki said on his film Shusenjo to scrutinize the comfort women issue at a film screening at the University of Essex] (a/t). Retrieved from YAHOO News Japan on March 3, 2020

3. Miyammoto, Archie. (2017). Wartime Military Records on Comfort Women. 2d Edition. Amazon Fulfillment, pp. 37-39

4. Park Yu-ha. (2014). Teikoku no Ianfu [Comfort Women of the Empire]. Asahi Shimbun Publishing, pp. 201-202

5. Nadeshiko Action Homepage, Eiga Shusenjo Daigakuinsei no Shotai wa Saha no propaganda Eiga [Film Shusenjo, the film is a propaganda made by an undergraduate of the left wing] (a/t). Posted on September 16, 2019

6. The Second Symposium to Accuse the Deceitful Movie Shusenjo at Kensei Kinen-kan, Tokyo, on February 27, 2020.