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Friday, June 26, 2009

More Than 8,000 Sue NHK for "Prejudiced Reporting" on Japanese Rule of Taiwan

Yomiuri and Yukan Fuji (by Fuji Sankei Group) reported this large-scale lawsuit against NHK's program on Taiwan under the Japanese colonial rule. Numerous right-wing organizations are involved with this,and spread the word to the general public to gather this many people as plaintiffs of the lawsuit. There has been lots of information going around, and while I am verifying their sources, I will first post translation of news by Yomiuri. I have a recorded DVD of this program on Taiwan, as part of the NHK's 3-year long project "Project Japan" When I first saw it, I was surprised to see how NHK bravely depicted the Japanese rule of Taiwan from the points of view from people of Taiwan. I had a similar reaction when I saw the Prologue of this series ”150 Years of Peace and Wars", in which the history of humanity's efforts to illegalize war was thoroughly illustrated with implication of Article 9 as its ultimate manifestation. So I am not surprised at all that these programs would be targets of right-wingers' attacks, but I did not expect them to take form of this massive lawsuit, and the censorship by members of LDP, which I reported in the previous post.

Here is the Yomiuri news.
Yomiuri Newspaper

More than 8,000 viewers sues NHK for "Prejudiced Reporting on Ruling of Taiwan"

8,300 viewers filed a lawsuit against NHK about their program that dealt with the Japanese rule of Taiwan, claiming "untruthful and prejudiced reporting" at the Tokyo District Court. Each plaintiff is asking for10,000 yen (approximately US$100) for compensation.

The program that was regarded problematic was "First-Class Country of Asia", the first of the series "Series Japan Debut". According to the complaint, the program depicted the oppression and discrimination against the people of Taiwan by the Japanese government, but when some of the plaintiffs checked with the people of Taiwan who were interviewed, the intention of the interviewees had been distorted. They claim that "NHK's approach is against the Broadcasting Law that stipulates fair reporting."

After this program was aired, some of the plaintiffs called for other viewers to join the lawsuit using the Internet and other media.

The Public Relations Department of NHK said, "We have not received the complaint yet, so we are unable to comment. We believe there was no problem with the content of the program."

(2009年6月25日22時05分 読売新聞)
(Yomiuri Newspaper, 22:05 PM, June 25, 2009)

In response to the viewers' feedback, NHK released further explanation on the contentious issues in the program on their website. I will try to post more detailed analysis of the content of the program as soon as possible.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Political Pressure on NHK Programs

From Mainichi Newspaper on June 12, 2009:

Liberal Democratic Party established "Association of MPs to Think About Public Broadcasting"

(Belowing is the English translation of the Mainichi News by Satoko)
On June 11, a group of LDP Members of Parliament launched "Association of MPs to Think About Public Broadcasting." The new group claim that the NHK Special "Series Debut of Japan Part I 'First-Class Country of Asia'" (aired on April 5, 2009) was biased. The chair is Keiji Furuya 古屋圭司 (House of Representatives), and the Executive Director is Tomomi Inada 稲田朋美(House of Representatives). The launching general meeting held within the Parliament Building were attended by 60 MPs including former Prime Ministers Yoshiro Mori 森喜朗, Shinzo Abe 安倍晋三, and former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa 中川昭一.

The program examined Japan's rule of Taiwan based on testimonies by the people involved, and the archival material "Governor-General of Taiwan Archivals" (台湾総督府文書). Some private organizations complained to NHK that this program "had an anti-Japan tone throughout," and another LDP's group "Group of MPs to Think About the Future of Japan and History Education" (chaired by Nariaki Nakayama) also submitted a letter of inquiries.

Here is the original Mainichi news.
 NHKスペシャル「シリーズ JAPANデビュー 第1回アジアの“一等国”」(4月5日放映)の内容が偏向していたなどとして、自民党の国会議員有志でつくる「公共放送のあり方について考える議員の会」が11日発足した。会長に古屋圭司氏(衆院議員)、事務局長に稲田朋美氏(同)が就任。国会内で開かれた設立総会には森喜朗、安倍晋三の両元首相、中川昭一前財務・金融相ら約60人が出席した。

This is a very dangerous move by right-wing politicians to intervene with NHK on the content of their programs. Shinzo Abe and Shoichi Nakagawa are known as having put political pressure on NHK and made them changed much of the content and the tone of their program that reported "Women's International War Crimes Tribunalon Japan's Military Sexual Slavery", held in 2000. Tomomi Inada is known as having attempted to make phone calls and to influence Naoji Kariya, the 90-year old sword master who appeared in "Film Yasukuni" (directed by Ying Li, 2007). We must be alert and be aware of these politicians' move to censor and change TV program and films that are inconvenient for their version of history, in which they often deny Japan's past wrongdoings like sex slavery and Nanjing Massacre, claim that the colonization of Korea and Taiwan were beneficial for those countries, and essentially believe the invasive 15-year wars of Japan against China and fellow Asian nations were just wars.

Such news is hardly reported in English so I feel it is my responsibility to get the word out, outside of Japan. I will follow up with more information.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chikako Nagayama's Article in Nikkei Voice June 2009

Constitutional Advocate of Peace:

Bridging Nikkei Generations and Beyong through the Transitional "Article 9" Movement

By Chikako Nagayama

TORONTO–The May 15th event entitled“Article 9 of Japanese Constitution: Bringing Peace into Today's World” was the first collective initiative that introduced Toronto to the peace clause of Japan's Constitution,
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes…”
However, the clause has been under constant pressure for change.

Over 80 people attended the gathering at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto to learn about the historical and current analysis about Japan's remilitarization.

Author Joy Kogawa's opening remarks illustrated a complexity of the Japanese Canadian's position on discussing the forced relocation of Japanese descendants by the Canadian government, on one hand, and the massacre, rape and biological experiments on Chinese civilians by the Japanese imperial army, on the other.

Vancouver-born Kogawa recollected that the notions of the 'Japanese' she learned through her upbringing-love for family, industriousness and humbleness-were denied when her family were conceived as 'Japs' during the war. The brutality,backwardness and deception of the 'Jap' race were no longer a fabricated myth when backed up by the actual military violence.

Kogawa concluded, “if we lose Article 9, we will lose what is most mature, most humane, decent and hopeful in a world of conflict.”

Subsequently, the 78-minute documentary, Japan's Peace Constitution (Director John Junkerman, 2005), presented diverse advocatory arguments. Because the 1946 constitution was composed under the Allied occupation, today's Japanese nationalists would criticize that Article 9 as merely imposed on Japan by the General Headquarters (GHQ).

Two draft constitutions were prepared by Japanese research groups and one by GHQ. In the documentary film, Beate Sirota-Gordon bluntly reveals that the GHQ draft was prepared in a week by researchers like her who were new to the task.

While referencing constitutions of Weimer Germany, the Soviet Union and Scandinavian countries, Sirota-Gordon was instrumental in implementing the welfare rights of women in Japan, which were not realized in the U.S.constitution.

Former American marine and now resident in Okinawa, C. Douglas Lummis maintains that the constitution is an order from the citizens to the government, not an order from above. Historian Rokuro Hidaka advances that the peace constitution is Japan's apology to Asian people.

Whereas filmmaker Ban Zhongyi and feminist activist Shin Heisoo testify that Japan's military atrocities are vividly remembered and not yet brought to justice, journalists Michel Kilo and Josef Samaha implicate that the expansion of Japan's Self Defense Force to support US military operations is not only exasperating to neighbouring nations but also to the Middle East.

The peace clause has been pressured to accommodate the de facto military alliance granted by the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan.

Satoko Norimatsu, the director of the Peace Philosophy Centre based in Vancouver, called attention to the “New Constitution” draft, released by the Liberal Democratic Party in October 2006. LDP proposes to remove the prohibition against the possession of armed forces and the denial of the nation's right of belligerency from the current constitution. (Photo by Yusuke Tanaka)

The draft intends to allow Japan's right to exercise collective self-defense, which means Japan would 'fight back' at any country that attacks the U.S. Norimatsu asserted that this would deprive Article 9 of the suppressing role that has been played so far. “It is true that the government did dispatch the Self Defense Forces to the Indian Ocean,” she said. “But the SDF's duties were limited to providing logistical support for activities not directly related to theuse of force, and within non-combatant areas.”

Following Norimatsu, Yusuke Tanaka, an immigrant journalist, recalled one of the peaks of the global peace movement in May 1972 in Tokyo. The key issues were the Vietnam War and the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. Tanaka emphasized that the U.S. military base in Okinawa is the largest in Asia, and Okinawans continue to be marginalized by Japanese mainlanders.

In 2007, the Ministry of Education ordered the modification of history textbooks' account of the battle of Okinawa at the end of the Asia Pacific war, so that Japanese army's enforcement of residents' mass suicide was ambiguated. Met by angry protests by political leaders and activists from Okinawa, the ministry acknowledged that the army was the cause of the mass suicide.

“Article 9 should not be treated as a national treasure,” stated Tanaka, alluding that the false notion of Japan as a peaceful country could further the neglect of discrimination issue against the Okinawans.

While the influence of the U.S. military was repeatedly highlighted throughout the panel,Peter Kuznick offered insights into how people's patriotic consciousness can be challenged. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial reinforces patriotism by commemorating 58,000 deaths of American soldiers while excluding nearly four million casualties of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians.

As professor of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington D.C., Kuznick has taken his students to annual study trips to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in collaboration with Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan,since 1995. He also complicated the impression of General Douglas McArthur, who tends to be depicted as a saviour to Japan. McArthur believed that the Atomic bomb was not needed to end the war.

However, Kuznick pointed out, he was at the same time responsible for maintaining the Emperor system, and later wanted to use the Abomb to attack China. Although it is commonly said that nuclear weapons were only used twice in history, Kuznick stressed, it is rather like a gun, which allows the control of others without pulling the trigger.

Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow followed to tell that the transition from restrictive, hierarchical imperialist society to post-1945democracy was liberating, but GHQ did not do justice to A-bomb survivors when they sent doctors only to investigate effects of the bomb but not to rescue the wounded. GHQ censored publications and confiscated personal correspondences on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As Norimatsu suggested, Article 9 associations are rapidly growing across Japan and overseas. The movement for preserving and realizing the peace clause now counts over 7000 groups in Japan. Norimatsu and David McIntosh of the Toronto Article 9 Event Committee are among the original members of the Vancouver Save Article 9 launched in May 2005.

From May 4 to 6, 2008, the first international Article 9 conference was held in Japan, and was attended by over 30,000 people from Japan and overseas. Four students from Canada were given the opportunity to attend the conference with the help of funds raised.

The May 15 event highlighted the unique capacity of urban metropolises such as Toronto and Vancouver to connect transnational movements and mediate Nikkei generations, given the large size of their communities and active pursuit of exchanges fostered therein.

Chikako Nagayama is completing her Ph.D. at the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE/UT in summer 2009.

(This is an article from the June Issue of Nikkei Voice, reporting the Article 9 Event in Toronto on May 15th. See also related articles - announcement, my report with photos, and Joy Kogawa's speech.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Family Event: Earth Brothers ~planting seeds of peace~

On the 7th of June, we had a family event entitled "Earth Brothers ~Let's Plant Seeds of Peace" at Audrey's house in North Vancouver.

It was a very meaningful and peaceful Sunday afternoon- the house was full of laughter, smiles, music, dances.....

For the story time, Sayuri and Noriko performed a very pretty doll play, "Stone Soup".

Joyfulness and happiness are something "we" create. They are not something just out there. They can be true only when we "share" with others.

As one of the activities for the event, each of us were asked to list " 9 things that make you feel "peace"" ( The reason for choosing the number "9" is that this event was sponsored by Vancouver Save Article 9 Association :-))

Each of us chose different things, but still, I could see there are sort of "common" image for "what is peace". Five super lucky people were picked up, and what they wrote were introduced to everyone. Those were such as Pigeon, Flowers, Nature, Laughter, Children's smiles, The Sun, and so on, and they were the same or similar ones to what I chose.

I, personally, listed these; Family, Friends, Children, Smile, The Sun, The Moon, Winds, Clear Blue Sky, Music. I talk about "Love and Peace" and I believe in "Love and Peace"; but contradictorily, I am not sure what exactly the definition of "Love and Peace" is....How do YOU define "peace"/ "love and peace"?

This song, "The Earth Brothers" composed by Kyogo Kawaguchi, seems to be giving us some hints to it. It might be to see yourself and others as "one", the "oneness".....We sang this song along with Taro's guitar and people's claps. We made Korean, Chinese, and English version for the main part of this song, and it made our singing much more fun!;-)

You can listen to the original full version of this song, sang by Kyogo Kawaguchi and other musicians here-->

The lyrics we edited for this event is following;




同じ人として愛をもって さあ共に歩こう


You and me, You and me
We are born on this beautiful star
We are one, all together
Watch the seeds of peace bloom for you.




푸르게 빛나는 아름다운  별에 태어난
모두가 하나되어 살아가는 우리는 형제

好兄弟 好姐妹


You and me, You and me
We are born on this beautiful star
We are one, all together
Watch the seeds of peace bloom for you.

I really hope that I have other chances to sing this song with you again, and spread the words and music to more people.

Thank you very much everyone who were there!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joy Kogawa's Speech for Article 9 Event in Toronto

(This original English version will be followed by the Chinese version.)

Article 9
(for May 15, 09, OISE/University of Toronto)

I'm a Canadian of Japanese descent. Every night as a small girl, my issei mother told me Japanese folk stories of love between parent and child. On the piano stood a green and gold statue of Ninomiya Kinjiro, a book open in his hands, twigs on his back, teaching himself to read as he worked. All this was the Japanese way. Love of family, love of learning, love of labour. To be Japanese was to be like my mother, yasashi, gentle, quiet, dignified, bending to the will of others.

But during World War II, to be Japanese meant something else altogether. Suddenly I was no longer Canadian and no longer Japanese. I was a Jap. According to the new reality, I was part of the most despised race on earth. What they were capable of, what they in fact did during the war defied description and defied belief. Beheadings, mass killings, rape, biological warfare, live burials, burning whole villages to the ground, tossing bodies into ten thousand people pits, unimaginable tortures, unimaginable medical experiments, unimaginable barbarity and cruelty.

Kill all burn all loot all.

Japan's complete loss of its moral compass was undergirded by a lie. The Yamato race was not superior.

Germany's children, unlike Japan's, have faced and acknowledged their horrific past. They learned the truths of the Holocaust, not from their parents, but from survivors. Germany, by enacting a law that it is a crime to deny the Holocaust, by compensating victims, by keeping the past in the consciousness of the country, has taken the necessary moral steps of a civilized society. Where in Japan, in the country of my ancestors, are the museums and the monuments, the movies, the books, the school projects, the special commemorations and the national outpouring of grief for its past atrocities?

In a time of fear and nuclear threat, the best defense I can think of for Japan is for its government and its people to fully express its collective sorrow and shame for its military actions during World War II. With deep and genuine apologies from the entire country, one could hope for relationships with neighbouring countries based on an enduring foundation of reconciliation and bonds of human affection that would be far deeper than one of mere convenience and commerce. If Japan continues to diminish or attempt to forget its atrocities, it will fail to develop the ways of peace, or to be a country of moral leadership.

As the horror of the militaristic spirit rises again in Japan, so too must the horror of its warring past. The children of Japan must know the truths of World War II and assume its burden.

The one thing that I find admirable in Japan, as a person of Japanese ancestry, is the existence of Article 9. It is Japan's primary and, I believe, its most effective acknowledgment of its culpability. If we lose Article 9, we will lose what is most mature, most humane, decent and hopeful in a world of conflict. We will lose what is best in today's Japan. I echo this last line from Tama Copithorne from whom I heard it first. Article 9 is the best of Japan.

Joy Kogawa

(This speech was given as an opening address of the Article 9 Event on May 15, 2009 held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.)

以下是Joy Kogawa女士演讲的中文全文翻译,由Arc Han翻译:








Joy Kogawa 女士在2005年5月15日与多伦多大学教育系的宪法九条集会上作上述演讲。

Friday, June 05, 2009

The President of Japanese Defence University apoligized for aggresive war and suggested a constructive relationship for the future in Beijing

On June 1st, Makoto Iokibe, President of Japanese National Defence University, gave a speech in Beijing, China. He stated that we should build a new Japan-China-America triple-win relationship. He also apologized for the aggressive war of the imperial Japan. Here is the report from ChinaNews.Com and a full English translation of the report.

The original text of the ChinaNews.Com report:

The President of National Defence university gives an speech in China: the Aggressive War Damaged Japanese National Interests

On one hand, Japan maintains a good relation with the U.S.; on the other hand, Japan needs to adjust its relationship with the developing China. We shall not have military competition. We hope we can build a new relationship in the Asia-Pacific region.

On June 1st, invited by Mr. Zheng Bijian, the chairman of Chinese National Science and Humanities Forum, Mr. Iokibe Makoto, the president of Japanese National Defence University and a renowned expert in politics, diplomacy and security studies, gives this speech in the “Chinese National Science and Humanities Forum”.

Mr. Iokibe says, after Meiji Restoration, Japan anxiously studied western civilization, and adopted some useful parts from them. However, Japan also committed some aggressive invasions, which deeply hurt the feeling of Asian countries. These aggressions ultimately damaged Japanese national interests and brought bitter defeats to Japan. “As a Japanese, I feel sorry for Asian people since Japan initiated the aggressive war.”

China suffered 150 years of hard time since the mid-19th century. Now it has become a powerful country, Mr. Iokibe says. Japan is an island country, not a super power-like China or the U.S.. However, it is possible and necessary to build a Japan-China-America conversation mechanism, and establish a new Asia-Pacific relationship. “Thus we can achieve a triple-win.”

In the process of establishing a new Asia-Pacific relation, brilliant youth are precious resources. Mr. Iokibe wishes Chinese and Japanese university students overcome cultural bias and history burden. Young students should become the new propelling force of a Japanese-Chinese friendship. “I hope students can look forward and have more cultural exchange activities.”

Mr. Iokibe’s speech is entitled “Hanshin-Awaji earthquake and the history meaning of the recovery efforts”. He first recalled his personal experience in the Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. He believes that the relationship between history and our life experience was cut at the time when earthquake happened. Earthquake accidentally created the reality of a separation of the living and the dead. The re-building after the earthquake does not just imply a physical re-construction. It is also a meaningful psychological recovery for the future. He wishes Japan and China establish a deep and comprehensive cooperation in fields such as earthquake prediction, rescue, and re-building.

The Japanese National Defence University is directly under the administration of the Ministry of Defence. It provides training and education to the SDF lieutenants and young officers. It is known as the cradle of Japanese military officers.

(The English translation by Arc Han)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

平顶山惨案受害者及亲属对相原参议院的回复 A Survivor of Pingdingshan Massacre replies to PM Aihara's apology

Peace Philosophy Centre reported that the Japanese House of Counciors' member Aihara, on behalf of twenty-four members of the Japanese National Congress, visited Pingdingshan massacre museum on May 5th, 2009. Please see our article for details:
In response, Ms. Wang Zhimei, the survivor of the massacre, and her son Zhang Yingfu write a reply to the twenty-four members of the Congress. Here are the original texts of their replies, in Chinese, and Japanese translation. A brief English translation is attached.



王 质 梅
张 英 夫

尊敬する相原久美子議員、24人の衆参議員の皆様 はじめに、平頂山事件の生存者として、皆様に心からの感謝を申し上げます。皆様の誠意と無私のご支援に感謝申し上げます。このたび皆様が平頂山を訪れてくださったことに、私は深く感銘いたしました。夜遅く来訪され、朝早く帰国されるという旅の疲れがありましたでしょう。それにもかかわらず、苦労をいとわず私たちのために正義を広め、公正な道理を求めるという皆様の精神は私を深く感動させました。幸存者として皆様に深く深くお礼を申し上げます。 ありがとうございます。
平頂山事件は消し去ることのできない歴史の事実であり、日本軍国主義が中国で犯した人間性を喪失した罪業です。彼らは、まったく武器を持たない一般の人々を虐殺して何らはばかるところがありません。彼らは完璧な死刑執行人です。今、その時のことを思い起こすと胸がどきどきして恐怖が収まりません。胸の内は憎しみと恨みでいっぱいになります。 彼らは私の家族全員を殺しました。この憎しみと恨みは私の胸の奥深いところにあるのです。すでに77年が過ぎました。私は、日本政府に公正な道理を求めます。 

今回、平頂山に来られた相原久美子議員の真実の涙を目の当たりにし、議員の方々のお詫びの意を表す手紙も読みました。大変感銘を受け感動しました。私は、小さい時から平頂山事件について、いつも母から話を聞いていました。そして、私の幼い心の中に激しい憎しみが深く埋め込まれていきました。日本人を非常に憎みました。彼らは私の家族を殺したのですから。 心の中には復讐の気持がありました。その後、歳をとるにつれて、また、中国政府による友好教育により、恨みは少し薄れていきました。戦争がいかに残酷かということも知りました。日本軍国主義者たちが犯した罪業、私たちの故郷を占領し同胞を殺害した平頂山事件、残忍な三光作戦を行なったこと、中華民族に甚大な被害をもたらしたことを知りました。現在、日本政府は、口では日中友好を何度も言っています。それなのに、なぜ彼らはこの歴史の事実を認める勇気がないのでしょうか。指導者に人間性はあるのでしょうか。
昨年、私と母は、国際シンポジウムに参加するために東京に行きました。 そして、たくさんの日本の方々に会い、友好の気持を感じ取りました。とりわけ平頂山事件の罪状を問いただす弁護団は十数年にわたって正義を広めるために苦労を重ねて来ました。弁護団の方々の誠意や私心のなさに私は深く感動しました。侵略した国の国民として、被害を与えた国の被害者のために正義を広める苦労をいとわないその精神は崇高なものです。良識ある人々が示す模範です。その行為は、私達の心を慰めてくれました。幸存者の子どもとして深く感謝いたします。 尊敬する議員の皆様私は、東京に滞在している間、多くの日本の方々とマスコミが平頂山事件に関心を持ち共感を寄せる様子を見ました。そして、人々の涙に心を打たれました。日本人は友好的です。そして、平和であることは幸せであると思いました。中日両国民は友好的に付き合うことが出来ると思いました。

2009年5月10日王  質 梅張  英 夫

In her reply, Ms. Wang expressed her gratitude to PM Aihara and the twenty-four congress members. She emphasized that Pingdingshan Massacre is a war crime committed by Japanese Imperial Army. The victims and survivors of the massacre deserve an apology from Japanese government. Ms. Wang wishes the tragedy would never be repeated by the next generations and justice will come after seventy-seven years of denial.

Mr. Zhang also appreciates the efforts of the twenty-four congress members. He recalls the hatred and grief he had when he was young. Such a negative feeling towards Japan was relieved a little, thanks to the some Chinese and Japanese people’s efforts for building a friendship between these two countries. He urges the Japanese Government to respond to the cries of the victims. He recalls the efforts of the Japanese lawyers' group who have dedicated themselves to the fight for the victims’ right since ten years ago. Because of the help from the Japanese groups, he has been able to have an optimistic hope that the peace and friendship between these two countries will overcome the difficulties.