Resurrection of Justice
Ms. Kaoli Koyasu
Good afternoon, everyone.
I am very glad to be here in the company of my friends, some came from Japan, some from the other countries and from New York as well.
I have been living in New York for long time and always loving this city since I came here. Let me talk a bit of my personal memory.
I remember two days after arrived in New York, I took a walk over miles to Battery Park in order to recover from jet lag. When I came to the southern end of the park, I noticed a blurry blue shadow over the gentle sea waves. It took me a while to recognize the Statue of Liberty, which was so familiar on pictures or TV since I was very young. That was a bit funny but so exciting feeling.
The Statue of Liberty was established in 1886. This year is 2016, so she has been standing there and watching over the city for 130 years. As everyone knows, the Goddess is holding the torch light with her right arm and tabula ansata of the American Declaration of Independence with her left arm. But do you know how it looks at her feet?
However, surprisingly, it is not well known there is a broken chain at the goddess’s feet. I leant that the broken chain expresses Freedom, freedom to all the people who were to be freed from the binds of injustice.
To me, America has been a country of freedom, liberty and justice. Those words are proudly claimed in the Preamble of Constitution of the United States, such as “establish Justice” or “Blessing of Liberty”. I have been greatly respecting the commitment to freedom and Justice that were the ideas forming the founding of the country of the United States of America.
Japan and the US have a history of fighting each other during the war. War is always painful and merciless. My grandparents and parents lived in the years of the war, but they rarely talked about it. I felt that the US-Japan war was something that happened in the distant past.
But even someone like me, this picture of war was so graphic and shocking. I was a high school student when I saw it. The caption of the picture said, this was in Okinawa in 1945, the Japanese man was shot to death by an American soldier, his little child was left alone.
As you see, he was bearing no weapons. He was obviously a civilian. No matter it was in war time, how dared American soldiers kill an unarmed civilian accompanied by infant? I thought it was no wonder the people in Okinawa felt antipathy against the US army base if they witnessed such cruel scenes. This image was printed at the back of my mind.
Many years later, I saw this picture again. It was in the different book from an archive. The caption of this book said,
“In Saipan Island in 1945, the man refused the surrender persuaded by the US soldiers and he was shot to death just as he was about to throw his child into the sea”
This had happened not in Okinawa, but in Saipan of Japanese possessions. The man was driven into a corner and attempting suicide along with his child. The American soldier shot him so as to save the life of the infant.
However I wouldn’t blame the father, because he fell in the desperate situation and thought all was over. It was impossible for him to leave his little child alone in the hands of enemies. It is so sad and painful but that is war.
But another thing, now I know what the American soldier did was either not evil or not wrong. He had a reason to save the child. The unknown American soldier, probably he’s no longer alive, after many years he got back his justice in my mind.
Today, we Japanese are confronted with the comfort women issue here in the US. In the first place, this is the matter between Japan and Korea, but unfortunately, the US has been involved in it by allowing the erection of comfort women statues or monuments in the country. Not a few American people believe the abductions or coercions of Korean women and sex slavery organized by Japanese authorities as true without question. I asked them what were the reasons to believe and they say, because former comfort women say so, if the victims say so, it must be true. I would want to ask you “Is it justice?”
I don’t have much to say about the comfort women issue because the speakers before me already displayed enough evidences and facts which demonstrate that comfort women were no sex slaves. I would ask you to think about just a few things I am going to say now. You don’t need scholarly knowledge, but just use your common sense.
1. Despite 200,000 women in Korean Peninsula were allegedly abducted or coerced to be sex slaves working in Japanese military comfort stations, there was no single document found among 140,000 pages of IWG Report of the US research team. 200,000 women victims, 140,000 documents, and no single proof… It was not the incident in ancient time, it was in the 20th century. Do you think it is really possible? Think with your common sense.
2. The statements of former comfort women have never been done with cross examinations. Do you think it is correct method to judge and evaluate factual recognitions?
3. Despite the period of Japanese rule of Taiwan which is much longer than Japanese rule of Korea, the comfort women issue was never raised between Japan and Taiwan. How come?
If there is even one aspect you think doesn’t make sense, then please be open to listen to our claims. Listen to the Japan side as much as you did to the other side. We are always open to talk to those who will seek the truth of history, my friends.
The torch light the statue of liberty holds is to widely illuminate the vision to see the truth. Try to get the bigger picture. To obtain true justice and freedom, we must know the truth. The answer can be found in the mind of each of you.
People are celebrating Easter this weekend. Easter is the day Jesus Christ resurrected. Like the resurrection of Christ, like the resurrection of justice to the American soldier in Saipan in 1945, I wish for the resurrection of truth, the resurrection of truth of History, the resurrection of the spirit of the goddess of liberty and the resurrection of the commitment in this United States of America, which people cherish, that demands true justice and freedom for all.
Thank you very much for listening.
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