International War Against Japan:
In Search of Winning Strategies
Ms. Sharon Isac
This is a message intended mostly for people in Japan.
There is war waged against Japan. It is an ideological, information and history war: An ideological war because it is a push towards collectivism and the breakdown of national identity; an information war because the enemy seeks to control public discourse through media, cyber space, and educational institutions as well as to monitor and viciously attack politically incorrect speeches; and a history war as the enemy, posing as victors, seeks to impose their narrative to replace real history.
In history we see that bloody war with killing machines is often preceded by a propaganda campaign against a target. Japan has been a target of such an unfair, false, and relentless campaign. Coupled with the large military buildup in the South China Sea, this propaganda war, which is now orchestrated worldwide, can be seen as a prelude to real war.
The question is: Is Japan able and willing to defend itself? Whatever the answer, one thing is certain. If Japan does not defend Japan, no one else can or will without a big price. Why should anyone else care? Everyone has problems, some existential ones that are equally if not more, serious. After all, Japan is still officially the world’s third largest economy, a mature and robust democracy with more than 126 million people including a healthy middle class, a unique culture and distinct national identity nurtured and developed over 2,676 years of its history. Japan is not a tiny pacific island nation floating in the Far East.
Japan must fight another defensive war. This is not the first time Japan has faced such a threat. The sooner we start better chance we have of ending the war while it is bloodless. A winning strategy starts with the clear recognition of the threat.
Once we accept the responsibility for self-defense, we need to clearly define and evaluate our enemies. This means understanding our enemies as they are – their history, value system, motivations and methods of attack, rather than operating under our own cultural assumptions or wishful thinking.
Let me give you snap shots of the situation in Canada with a focus on Toronto JUST to give you some ideas as to how successful our enemies have been so far.
One popular Toronto blogger repeats the comment: “DID WE NUKE THEM TOO MUCH OR NOT ENOUGH?” I wonder if anyone is shocked to hear this in 2016. Contempt and hatred seem to come to the surface in him and perhaps in others like him whose family members may have served in the WW2 on the side of the Allied forces. People are naturally prejudiced. Prejudice and discrimination are not necessarily bad things when it serves healthy self preservation. However, misinformation or deliberate disinformation might be also at play.
I am a Canadian citizen born in Japan. I finished my compulsory education there before immigrating to Canada in 1971. I grew up conscious of the fact that I was born ten years after the end of WW2 and that war was history, the past. I have lived in Toronto with my family since 1984, but it was not until around 2012 I began hearing alarm bells when I heard for the first time about the so-called “comfort women” issue through a chance meeting with a person from Japan who is now a good friend of mine. From her I learned that in 2007 the Canadian parliament passed a Resolution against Japan concerning the military sex slavery.
In 2013, the city of Toronto made a proclamation to commemorate the so-called Nanking massacre. There was a photo exhibit at Toronto City Hall. There is a very active, apparently well funded group in Toronto called ALPHA, an acronym for Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WW2 in Asia, whose influence had changed the Ontario high school history and social studies curriculum to include the “Nanking massacre” and the “Comfort Women”. They provide teaching materials and guides for the teachers and organize workshops for both teachers and students from all over the city. More than twenty teachers were invited to all expenses paid education tour in China in 2004 and 2005. Judging from their website, the same programme seems to be still in place. It wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to bring it down to Junior High Schools, or even elementary schools.
The same organization most recently wrote to Canada’s new Prime Minister and Foreign Minister urging them to withdraw Canada’s support for the “unconstitutional peace and security legislation of Japan.” They are big supporters of the Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, naturally. (Common sense tells us if it’s something our enemy wants us to have, it must be BAD for us.)
The twin subject of “Comfort Women = Sex Slavery” and “Nanking Massacre, the Forgotten Asian Holocaust” are brought up together as all part of Japan’s aggression and atrocity against its Asian neighbours during WW2.
Just last week I came across a 10 minute you tube clip called “10 Most Evil Empires in History” with Japan appearing at the top. It was almost comically grotesque, but I was not laughing.
Comfort girl statues are popping up in cities around the world. In Barnaby, British Columbia, the Japanese Canadian group successfully blocked the City Council from erecting one pending further talks between the two communities, and now the project has been permanently shelved. In Toronto, the public project did not materialize due to internal division within the Korean community. However, a statue and plaque were unveiled last year at the Korean community centre, a private property. The ceremony was attended by many officials from all federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. They gave speeches, without expressing a shred of doubt about its historical authenticity. No wonder because Japan has “already apologized” and expressed remorse. It cannot be emphasized enough that each and every time a Japanese government official issues a typically vague expression of remorse or regret about its past, Japan’s guilt increases further, enforcing the lie in people’s mind. Who can blame our enemies for having a field day with that?
In 2013 the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened amidst some controversy. It is located in Winnipeg Manitoba and houses among other things a “Comfort women” exhibit titled “Breaking the Silence”. In August of last year, two of my friends and I visited the museum to see it for ourselves. No surprise to any of us, the Japanese Imperial Army was the only one featured and condemned in the exhibit.
There are thirty six copies of “The Rape of Nanking” the infamous book of forgery by Iris Chang, in circulation in the Toronto Public Library branches, but none that offers a countervailing view. Our enemies’ efforts to equate Nanking to the Holocaust have produced some results as they inserted themselves into the Holocaust education month that takes place every November.
How does this kind of environment affect Japanese residents and Japanese Canadians? From conversations and interactions that I’ve had so far, the majority of Japanese Canadians seem either to have bought into the lie or simply wish to stay away from the controversy. Many of them avoid the topic like the plague for practical reasons, as the size of the Japanese community is miniscule compared to the Chinese and Koreans.
For me it was a matter of knowing the truth. With trepidation, I approached the subject too important to ignore.
I put an inquiry to a family member in Japan and initially received nine books on the subject of comfort women and Nanking and found all of them supported the allegation. However, since most of the books were rather thin volumes and were more like study guides, I dug further and found there was already a wealth of more reliable information available. I also watched the old heated debates online. Contrary to the charge that militant right wing revisionists are flexing their muscles to stifle free speech in Japan, I found that academic freedom, freedom of expression and of the press are alive and well in Japan, unlike in the enemy territories.
Knowing the exact nature of the war crimes of which Japan was accused, indicted, tried, found guilty, and executed is a difficult but necessary task. To know real Holocaust is to experience Hell on earth and the impulse that made it happen is making a comeback. Sex slavery is being practiced right now as I wrote in my letter to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights: “Repeated use of the term ‘sex slave’ is not only grossly inaccurate but particularly disingenuous considering today’s context when human trafficking is still rampant and the real sex slave market actually exists, as seen in the so-called Islamic State where young captured Yezidi girls are treated as war booty and bought and sold in the open market with girls, as young as six, fetching a higher price.” Toronto has a small community of Yezidi refugees and I had an opportunity to hear their first hand stories. Next time when a Japanese person feels compelled to apologize he should remember the plight of the Yezidis.
Isn’t it ironic while slavery was a common practice throughout most of the world and was only abolished, at least officially, in Mauritania for example in the 1980’s, this institution never existed in Japanese history? The same goes for the “Asian Holocaust” label. While real Holocaust was the culmination of centuries of anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere based on lies, Japan called for racial equality while still a member in the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The Japanese Imperial Army explicitly rejected NAZI Germany’s anti-Semitic measures that led to the “Final Solution” and was instrumental in saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives during the war.
In the enemies’ deception, lies become truth and the reality is inverted; our enemies accuse us of the crimes they themselves commit. Some people have observed that we live in the world turned upside down.
In such a world, if we give our enemies what they want, thinking perhaps this is a small compromise, part of a negotiation for the final and “irreversible” solution, in the end we will realize that appeasement only whets the enemies’ appetite for more. Don’t feed the crocodile, he will devour you.
Lies do not disappear on their own accord. They grow if left alone. They need to be stopped. The enemy loves our silence because they can fill it with more lies, and bigger lies. Curiously, history shows the bigger the lies the more they are believed.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave a historic speech in May of last year at the joint congress of the United States. It was very well received with many standing ovations, an outpouring of genuine good will, and some real tears. It was heartwarming.
I sincerely hope that his government will stay true to the promise that they will not burden the next generation with having to repeat the apology. Will Japan not only stop apologizing but also speak up the truth? Silence is acquiescence. Silence is cowardice. Silence is the 5th Amendment of the United States’ Constitution. “Not guilty” is not “innocent”. For people outside one’s own culture, the message needs to be clear and simple, sometimes applied with a sledgehammer and repeated as many times as necessary until it is heard.
Mr. Abe reached his hand out to Americans towards the “alliance of hope”. Isn’t it time to fill the chasm that still exists between our two nations? True friendship is built on shared values and mutual respect. History shows peace is just a brief rest between bloody conflicts, so Japan is unique in this respect. If we did honest and serious soul searching we could perhaps find something liberating.
Would real historians from both countries look at our shared history to re-vision our past in order to envision the future? The rest of the world would benefit greatly from such efforts, including Canada.
In conclusion I applaud and salute the people who gave me the opportunity to speak here today. I believe we are here to forge an alliance worldwide with truth seekers and truth tellers. As long as we keep the truth on our side when we fight, we will win this war.
The UN Commission on the Status of Women( CSW60 ) Parallel Event
Women’s Rights under Armed Conflict – Japan’s Approach to Respect Women －
The Church Center for the United Nations, NY
12:30pm to 14:00pm, 24th of March, 2016