April 11, 2017
I, Yumiko Yamamoto, am writing in response to the defamatory actions against me by some foreign journalists writing about “Comfort Women”. Their articles typically label me as a “comfort women denier” or “racist” which I find deeply insulting.
Let me first make it clear that I have never denied the existence of comfort women. I respect women’s rights, and I am deeply sympathetic to former comfort women for living through difficult time during the war.
I object to the use of words intended to unfairly target and humiliate other nations or races.
The journalists who believe that comfort women were sex-slaves enslaved by the Japanese Military and support the groups erecting comfort women statues, or sex-slave statues, should not resort to name calling or personal attack.
It seems that they care so much about the dignity of former comfort women, but do not mind defaming a woman like me who has a different opinion. It is unfair for professional journalists to stand with one side and humiliate the other side persistently.
An Australian journalist, Ben Hills, is one of them. In his article, he writes at length to paint an activist group based in Tokyo called “ZaitokuKai” racist. The group calls for removal of special benefits Korean residents in Japan receive considering them unfair. I used to be a member of the group but resigned six years ago.
Ben Hills writes:
Although Yamamoto resigned from the organization in 2011, she said in her resignation letter that she remained a supporter: “I pray from the bottom of my heart for the future development of the association and for the continued success of every branch, operation and member.”
I suppose someone gave him the English translation. If you read the original Japanese, you would see it is just a courteous farewell address, no more than a formality, separating in peace. It carries no tangible meaning.
In any case, our group, Japanese Women for Justice and Peace, is completely unrelated to Zaitokukai. Ben Hills tries to create a non-existent link between Zaitokukai and us in order to label us racist. It is a very shabby tactics.
In Australia, our group once ran a petition campaign against the comfort women statue erection plan in Strathfield at the beginning of April 2014. That is all we did in Australia. Since the local residents formed the Australia-Japan Community Network (AJCN), we have not conducted any further actions there. AJCN independently collected over 3400 petitions from local residents including Chinese and Koreans. We have no involvement in the AJCN’s complaint against the Uniting Church hosting a comfort woman statue. It appears that Ben Hills is trying to support Rev Bill Crews of the Uniting Church Ashfield by defaming AJCN and me by wrongly connecting us to the Zaitokukai which is completely outside the picture.
Since Ben Hills offers no meaningful argument, he proves himself to be no more than an anti-Japan propagandist.
In closing I would like to express that our goal is to dispel misunderstandings about comfort women issue, stop the hatred carried from the past, and have peaceful and friendly relations with all the people all over the world.
Japanese Women for Justice and Peace