日本政府の“ごまかし”が大問題に

安倍内閣が、答弁書で、あらためて従軍慰安婦の「強制はなかった」としたことで、あらためて海外での批判が高まっています。とくに、ワシントンポスト紙が、論説で、日本政府の態度を「ダブル・トーク」(二枚舌)だと批判したことから、産経新聞が大あわてしています。

産経新聞が大あわてしているというのは、「慰安婦問題 異常な反応 日米離間あおる」と題した今日の論説。これは、ネットには公開されていませんが、以下のようなものです。

慰安婦問題 異常な反応 日米離間あおる
[産経新聞 2007年3月27日]

 慰安婦問題について「強制性はなかった」と述べた安倍晋三首相の発言に対し、以上とも言える反応が海外メディアから相次いでいる。
 《安倍首相はいったい「日本軍の性奴隷」のどの部分が理解できず謝罪を渋るのか。背景となる事実は論争の余地のないものだ。第二次大戦中、日本軍は朝鮮をはじめとする日本の植民地から女性を募集し、日本の兵士に性的サービスを提供する場所を設置した。これらは商業的な売春宿ではなかった。明示的であれ暗黙であれ、これら女性を集める上で力が用いられた。そこで行われたことは、レイプの連続であり、売春ではなかった》(6日付の米紙、ニューヨーク・タイムズ) 《前線における日本兵の不満を沈めるために性的奴隷が参謀本部により許可された。日本軍の野戦場の売春宿に送り込まれるために、数万人(歴史家によると約20万人、大半が韓国女性)が強制連行され、売られた。多くの慰安婦が劣悪な取り扱いに耐えきれず死亡し、多くが自殺した》(5日付のフランス紙、リベラシオン)――。
 まるで旧日本軍が強制的な「慰安婦狩り」を大々的に行ったかのような報道ぶりだ。
 安倍首相に対する非難も激しい。
 《人間は子供のころから、小さなことでもうそをつかないように…育てられる。しかし、明らかに証明され、明白になっている犯罪について、かたくなにうそをつき続けることをいとわない大人がいる》(6日付のオーストラリアの主要日刊紙、プレッセ) 《安倍首相の発言にアジアはもちろん、西欧メディアまで批判する理由は何か、首相自身がよく省察せよ。歴史を恣意で裁いてはならない》(7日付の韓国紙、中央日報)。……(中略)……
 安倍首相は11日、国内メディアで「心の傷を負い、大変な苦労をされた方々に心からおわびを申し上げている」と語ったが、《慰安婦たちにとって最終的な慰めというものはないかもしれないが、正義は実現されるべきだ》(16日付の米紙、ボストン・グローブ)と、日本批判はやむ気配がない。
 ロサンゼルス・タイムズ(前出〔7日付〕)は《第2次世界大戦中の残虐行為を過小評価する人々を抑えられなかった自民党の失態は…日本の国際的評価まで損ねてしまった。…戦時中の行為を全面的に認めようとしない日本の態度は、日米同盟の潜在力の足かせともなっている》とまで言い切っている。

こういうふうに、海外メディアの「反応」を紹介した産経新聞は、「こうした歪曲された決議案や根拠のない報道こそいたずらに日米離間をあおるものであり、あまりに危険である」と非難。しかし、こうした反論しかできないことこそ、「強制」否定論者たちの破綻を示していると思います。

ということで、あらためてアメリカ主要紙の記事を集めてみました。

↓まず、これがLos Angels Times紙3/18付の記事。

Japan’s Abe sticks to comments on ‘comfort women’
Premier denies coercion in World War-II era brothels, even as he berates North Korea over kidnappings of Japanese citizens.
By Bruce Wallace, Times Staff Writer
[March 18, 2007 Los Angels Times]

TOKYO ? Anyone struggling to understand the Japanese government’s position on the morality of kidnapping people, taking them to another country and forcing them to work against their will can be excused for being confused by the declarations coming out of Tokyo these days.

On one hand, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems prepared to risk his country’s reputation by saying that the Japanese military did not coerce the tens of thousands of women from other Asian countries cast into sexual slavery during World War II.

Yet his government cannot contain its fury over North Korea’s failure to “sincerely” face up to its role in kidnapping a handful of Japanese civilians during the Cold War and forcing them to teach Japanese customs and language to North Korean spies.

There is no hint here of any awareness of the irony.

There has been almost no outcry in Japan against Abe’s assertion that there is no evidence to implicate the Japanese military in the well-documented system of organized brothels in areas under its control. Major media organizations support Abe’s position and have encouraged him to stick by it.

In a sign that it feels no heat at home, the Abe Cabinet issued a statement Friday reiterating that government archives contain no evidence of official military involvement in recruiting what the Japanese euphemistically call “comfort women.”

Contrast that with the national anguish over the 17 Japanese allegedly kidnapped by North Korea and who Tokyo says may still be alive. One of the abductees, Megumi Yokota, who was kidnapped at age 13 three decades ago, has become an icon of Japanese victimhood, and Abe has never missed a chance to affix his career to her tragedy. Last week, his government launched a $1-million TV ad campaign extolling its determination to free her and the other abductees.

“The Japanese people have little awareness about human rights,” says Yoshimi Yoshiaki, a Chuo University professor and co-chairman of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility. He has received many requests about the center’s scholarship since the controversy broke ? all form abroad. “There was no interest in Japan,” he says.

“The Japanese become very emotional about the abductees because the victims are Japanese, but they don’t feel so close to other Asian women, whose suffering they see as something in the past,” Yoshiaki says. “What Abe is demanding from North Korea, an apology and punishment for the people who did it, should be the same standard he applies on comfort women.”

No documentation

But Abe has opted to play the lawyer rather than the moralist on the so-called comfort women. Despite the testimony of women who were victims of the brothels, Abe says there is no paper trail showing coercion in the narrow sense of soldiers breaking into homes and abducting women into forced prostitution. Any such suggestion is a “complete fabrication,” he told parliament.

How, critics ask, could a prime minister who came to office vowing to create a “beautiful Japan” that spoke with credibility on global affairs, end up squabbling over details with now-octogenarian women about the degree of coercion that was used to conscript them into a network of serial rape?

Some say it is rooted in his government’s falling poll numbers, which has left him vulnerable to attack from the nationalist wing of his party. These conservatives once saw Abe as their champion but accuse him of going soft since becoming prime minister.

Others argue he was merely speaking his mind, noting his record of criticizing what he described as Japan’s masochistic culture of endlessly apologizing for World War II and its related crimes.

It’s unclear whether Abe knows, or worries, about the damage his obfuscation has done to Japan’s image abroad. He has dismissed criticism as Japan-bashing spawned by a misrepresentation of his position by foreign media.

But the sex slavery issue comes at what was supposed to be a shining period of breakthroughs for Japanese diplomacy: a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to repair Japan’s shaky relations with its Asian rival, and a trip to Washington at the end of April to draw attention to the robust health of the alliance with Japan’s one indispensable partner.

Eager to keep warming relations on track, the Chinese government has been muted in its criticism of Abe’s statements about the wartime brothels. But the Washington visit seems certain to be dogged by protests by women’s groups and to attract sharp questions about whether the United State’s firmest ally in Asia is backsliding on a central moral question.

And it will come as Congress considers a resolution introduced by California Democrat Mike Honda of San Jose calling on Tokyo to issue a formal, unconditional apology over the comfort women. Abe has dismissed the Honda resolution as “not based on objective facts” and said his government would not apologize again, whether the resolution passed or not, a statement that cut the legs from under Japan’s best supporters in Washington.

“There is no difference of opinion on the issue in the United States,” said Thomas Schieffer, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, who said he took the word of the women who recently testified to Congress about their enforced prostitution under Japanese occupation.

“They were raped by the Japanese military,” Schieffer said. “I think that happened. And I think it was a regrettable, terrible thing that it happened.”

Playing to emotions

Abe’s dilemma is that although legalistic hair-splitting about responsibility may play well in Tokyo’s political backrooms or with conservative academics, it is volatile material abroad, where Japan’s former victims and its current friends alike demand that Japanese prime ministers deliver an unambiguous moral condemnation of the sexual slavery.

And no one knows the emotional potency of defending the victims of kidnapping better than Abe, who fashioned his nationalist career on the back of the abductees’ media soap opera. Just days before he stumbled into the sexual slavery fiasco, Abe used the weekly newsletter on his website to gush over a song that Noel “Paul” Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame wrote for Megumi Yokota.

“An image of a happy Megumi together with her family floated before my eyes,” Abe wrote after hearing Stookey perform the song to Megumi’s parents in “a gentle voice one would use when speaking to a small girl.”

“How scared and lonely she must have been, separated from her parents,” Abe wrote. “How deep and large the emotional scars must be for parents, whose dear child was taken away.”

How true. And how extraordinary, critics say, that Abe was unable to conjure the same sympathy and moral outrage over the horrors inflicted on the thousands of women at the hands of the Japanese military.

こちらは、安全保障共同宣言を出したばかりの同盟国オーストラリアでの反響を伝えるThe Australian紙。来日したハワード大統領自身が、「強制ではなかったなどというどのような意見も、私は完全に拒否するし、それは他の同盟国からも完全に拒否されている」と言明しています。

Sex slaves on PM’s Tokyo agenda
Dennis Shanahan, Tokyo
[March 13, 2007 The Australian]

JOHN Howard has vowed to raise the “appalling” issue of women forced into prostitution for Japanese soldiers during World War II with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, today.
Mr Abe faces mounting pressure in Japan over the suggestion he has been “quibbling” over the issue.
The US Congress, backed by South Korea, is pushing for a further apology to women forced to become “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers.

But the Japanese Prime Minister has sparked a fresh uproar by appearing to suggest he would not apologise even if US Congress demanded it.

Mr Abe has faced criticism from the US, South Korea and Australia for apparently playing down the fact women were forced into prostitution during the war and he has been accused of attempting to rewrite history.

In the Japanese parliament two weeks ago, Mr Abe seemed to deny that congressional testimony last week of former “comfort women” conclusively proved the military engaged in sexual slavery.

Witnesses including Jan Ruff-O’Herne, 84, said they were captured, raped and made to service Japanese troops during World War II.

“There was no testimony that was based on any proof,” Mr Abe said.

Mrs Ruff-O’Herne, forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese in 1944 in Java, said last night that Mr Abe was committing political suicide by denying the full horror of his nation’s wartime atrocities.

“It’s been an outrage throughout Asia and America and the entire world and Mr Abe will have to take responsibility for the war crimes and give an apology on behalf of his nation – not just a personal apology,” said Mrs Ruff-O’Herne, who migrated to Australia with her British-born husband after the war and now lives in Adelaide.

“They should take historical responsibility and teach the truth to younger generations.”

Mrs Ruff O’Herne said it was “very hopeful” that Mr Howard had decided to confront the Japanese leader about the issue.

“It has to put even more pressure on the Japanese Government,” she said.
Apologists for the Japanese military’s conduct towards women in China, Korea and Southeast Asia insist that comfort women served voluntarily in brothels organised by private contractors. Some accounts say that up to 200,000 were forced into sexual slavery.

Mr Abe claimed there was not evidence of coercion in the extreme sense of kidnapping, but he accepted that brokers who procured women forced some of them into prostitution.

But yesterday, on the eve of joining Mr Abe for his first prime ministerial meeting in Tokyo, Mr Howard said there should be no attempt to rewrite history.

“It was an appalling episode in a tragic period in the history of the world and Australian women suffered as a consequence, although the nationals of other countries suffered in much greater number,” the Prime Minister said.

“There can be no quibbling about what happened and there can be no quibbling in my view about the level of coercion that was involved.

“I mean, any suggestion that there was not coercion is completely repudiated by me and it’s been completely repudiated by other Allied countries.”

Mr Abe’s supporters have argued that the new Japanese Prime Minister accepts the so-called “Kono apology” of 1993, which acknowledged that at least some women were forced into sexual duties and that the military was directly or indirectly involved in organising the trade.

Mr Abe’s political secretary, Hiroshige Seko, argued, after Mr Abe’s remarks, that “there are various definitions of coercion, with some being strict and others being more broad”.

“But the position of following the 1993 statement … has not changed,” Mr Seko said.

Yesterday, Mr Howard said he had not seen the latest criticism of Mr Abe in the Japanese press. Yesterday was an official holiday for newspapers in Japan to allow families to have time together.

But he noted Mr Abe’s support for the 1993 apology.

“Now I think that is quite a strong statement from the Prime Minister but my concern about any quibbling in relation to this matter is known to the Japanese Government and I’m sure, in one way or another, it’ll be mentioned,” Mr Howard said.

↓こちらは、New York Times紙3/17付の記事。シーファー駐日米大使の「私は慰安婦の証言を信じる」「彼女たちは強制的に売春を強要されたのだと思う。つまり、日本軍にレイプされたということだ」との発言を引用しています。

Japan Repeats Denial of Role in World War II Sex Slavery
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
[March 17, 2007 The New York Times]

TOKYO, March 16 ? The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeated Friday that there was no proof that the Japanese military forced women into sexual slavery during World War II.

In a written statement endorsed by the cabinet, the government referred to a study from the early 1990s and said that “among the materials it discovered, it did not come across any that directly show that the military or authorities so-called forcibly led away” the women, known euphemistically as comfort women.

The statement was in response to a request from an opposition lawmaker, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, for Mr. Abe to explain remarks in which he had denied that the military coerced the women into working as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers throughout Asia.

The remarks caused a furor throughout Asia as well as in the United States, where the House of Representatives has been considering a nonbinding resolution that would call for Japan to acknowledge and apologize unequivocally for its wartime sex slavery.

The government stated that it would adhere to a 1993 declaration that acknowledged and apologized for Japan’s brutal mistreatment of the comfort women. But Mr. Abe, who has been under pressure from the right wing of his Liberal Democratic Party to reject the 1993 declaration’s admission of state responsibility, said last week that the women had been coerced by private brokers.

The 1993 declaration said, “The government study has revealed that in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc., and that, at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments.”

Mr. Abe, whose approval ratings have been plummeting since he took office last September, said that Japan would not apologize even if the House resolution passed.

In a meeting with reporters on Friday, the American ambassador, J. Thomas Schieffer, said he hoped that the government “would not back away” from the 1993 statement.

Mr. Schieffer described as “credible witnesses” former comfort women who recently testified in Congress about being coerced into prostitution by the Japanese authorities.

“I take the word of the women that testified,” Mr. Schieffer said.

He added: “I think they were coerced to engage in prostitution. That means they were raped by the Japanese military at that point in time. I think that happened, and I think it was a regrettable, terrible thing that it happened. I think the events speak for themselves.”

A group of conservative lawmakers in the Liberal Democratic Party has been leading efforts to soften the 1993 declaration, and is planning to conduct a new investigation into the comfort women issue. Mr. Abe, a founding member of that group in the 1990s, has said that the government will cooperate in the new investigation by providing it with documents.

↓そして、次はInternational Herald Tribune紙3/21付の記事。

Japan’s ‘values-oriented diplomacy’
[David Fouse Published: March 21, 2007 International Herald Tribune]

HONOLULU: Japan’s recent decision to develop a foreign policy based on support for universal values is a step forward in the development of a more coherent, strategic vision to pursue its national interests. The new policy is likely to make coordination with the United States easier and allow Tokyo to focus its efforts to compete with China for influence in areas such as Southeast Asia. Japan should, however, learn from U.S. experience: Asserting its values internationally will invite other countries to put Tokyo’s behavior under the magnifying glass as well.

A major policy address by Foreign Minister Taro Aso in November 2006, along with statements by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his recent European trip, indicate that Japan has decided to follow the path of “value-oriented diplomacy” and help establish “the arc of freedom and prosperity” along the outer rim of Eurasia. In doing so, Japan hopes to shed the perception that it is a mercantilist power by placing greater emphasis on what it has identified as the universal values of democracy, freedom, human rights, rule of law, and market economies. In a speech certainly welcomed in Washington, Aso stated that Japan will support countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, along with the countries of Central Asia and those in the Caucasus region such as Georgia and Azerbaijan, to move down the road to “peace and happiness through economic prosperity and democracy.”

The new emphasis on value-oriented diplomacy, which contrasts starkly with Japan’s early postwar policy of separating politics and economics, means that Japan will aim to devote its economic and diplomatic resources toward what Aso describes as “countries that are capable of partnering with Japan.” From the mid-1970s, Japan’s foreign policy in Asia has been largely staked around the so-called Fukuda doctrine, in which Japan attempted to build bridges between the communist and noncommunist regimes of Southeast Asia, with hopes of integrating the region economically under its own leadership. Under the Fukuda doctrine, Japan avoided taking an ideological or interventionist approach in Southeast Asia, which at times brought it into conflict with U.S. priorities in the region (Japan’s engagement of the military junta in Burma being a recent example).

The Fukuda doctrine, which directed a great deal of Japan’s economic aid to Southeast Asia over the past 30 years, was designed to win back the people’s hearts and minds following large-scale anti- Japanese protests in several countries during the early 1970s. The protests were caused by the legacy of damage inflicted on these countries during World War II and a perception that Japan was exploiting the region economically. While many years have passed since the Fukuda doctrine was adopted, Japan must still contend with the noninterventionist leanings of Asean nations when implementing its new diplomacy.

For Japan to be perceived as a legitimate proponent of democracy and human rights in Southeast Asia it must clearly and irrevocably cut its ties to its imperialist past. The United States has its own historical baggage ? the Vietnam War ? and its promotion of democracy and human rights in the region are not always taken at face value. A conservative government in Tokyo that reneges on apologies for war-era misdeeds ? as when Abe recently denied that the Japanese government was involved in coercing “comfort women” into brothels during World War II ? will have a hard time selling its commitment to universal human rights in Asia. Consider also that the man in charge of explaining Japan’s new policy, Aso, argued in June 2003 that Koreans voluntarily adopted Japanese names during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and refused to retract the statement, infuriating many Korean people.

Though Southeast Asia has demonstrated a willingness to accept, and even encourage, a greater political and perhaps security role for Japan in the region, there has been growing unease with Japan’s insensitivity to the feelings of fellow Asians, as demonstrated by the Singapore government’s critical statements regarding former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Japan’s support for universal values in its new foreign policy agenda will draw even greater scrutiny of its own behavior on these issues.

While many in the region may suspect that Japan’s recent policy shift is motivated less by its newfound commitment to universal values and more by its recent loss of prestige to China, Aso has been careful to note that Japan is “by no means pointing the finger at anyone else.” The stated basis for the policy, Aso contended, is to strengthen, not only the U.S.-Japan alliance, but also Japan’s relationships with China, the Republic of Korea, Russia and other neighbors. It is therefore incumbent upon Tokyo to demonstrate that its commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law is sincere by thoroughly severing ties with the imperialist values of a previous era.

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