Today, I have decided to shed spotlight on Ms. Tomiko Okazaki who joined a group of South Korean activists in Seoul, 2003, although she resigned on January 14 when Kan reshuffled his cabinet for the second time within a year. The group is called ”the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan” in English and “韓国挺身隊問題対策協議会” in Japanese, literally meaning “the Korean Council for Dealing with the Issues Related to the Women Mobilized Under the National Labor Service Draft Ordinance supplemental to the National Mobilization Law.”
The Chosun Ilbo dated September 3, 2004 reports Dr. An Byeong-jik (安秉直 안병직), Professor Emeritus, Seoul University as stating that his three year long research jointly conducted with “the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan” shows no evidence of the forced sexual labor and no objectivity found in testimonies made by those who claim themselves “comfort women”, so as to get into fights with Japan but not to save those women from misery they are now faced with.
A great regret that this video footage no longer exists for unknown reason.
Legal Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives in the National Diet of Japan held on October 22, 2010
A video shows that Ms. Tomomi Inada, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, a member of the House of Representatives in the National Diet of Japan grills Ms. Tomiko Okazaki, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Gender Equality, and also Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, a Japanese politician of the Democratic Party of Japan, a member of the House of Councillors in the National Diet of Japan over her controversial activities that drew much attention from both Japan and south korea.
Photo shows Ms. Tomiko Okazaki participating in anti-Japan demonstration held in Seoul, South Korea
-the Beginning of Questions by Ms. Tomomi Inada-
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: You have seen this photo before, haven’t you?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: That is a newspaper issued seven years ago. I am well aware of it. But I didn’t know what was behind me. Those aged women sitting at chairs in front of me—(mumbling—incomprehensible)–I got to know it for the first time. I got to know it for the first time when I read the newspaper report.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: Minister! Have you ever complained about this photo?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: No, I haven’t. I really was not in a position to get to know what was behind me.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: Every one who looks at this photo, internationally distributed, recognizes it as an evidence that you were condemning the Government of Japan for the issue of ”comfort women” right in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul. Your answer “I truly didn’t know it.” is not acceptable at all.
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: After all, and after all, I will have to describe how I got involved in it. When I went there, everything was well-prepared. It was like somebody pulling my hand. So, I didn’t look around at all. I really didn’t know it. It was just behind me. Well, I should say that our views differ.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: Nobody believes your excuse at all because we have many photos. They show you making some speech before “comfort women”, talking to them, turning around to them and then screaming something. Moreover, captions of those photos in the newspaper say “Ms. Okazaki condemns the Government of Japan.”, “Ms. Okazaki participates in anti-Japan demonstration”, etc. But you haven’t complained to them about those photos at all. This suggests that you are accepting them as being true, doesn’t it?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: I take what’s reported as it is. But I have nothing to do with the rising sun flag marked with X at all. I consider it important that every one respects “Rising Sun Flag” and “Kimi ga yo National Anthem”. At the time of joining anti-Japan demonstration, I didn’t see it and I was not aware of it at all. I am so sure about it. If you have a different photo showing which direction I was looking at, you will know where I was and which way I was looking at. I turely didn’t know it, I was so stunned.
The above photo shows Ms. Okazaki knew exactly what she was doing and what those Korean activists were doing at anti-Japan demonstration. No doubt about it.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: If that is a case, you should have complained about it. And, you were questioned by your party Democratic Party of Japan over this issue after you returned back to Japan. You should really have complained about it to clear any misunderstanding. I mean if you really didn’t see it. We can’t accept what you said since you haven’t complained about it at all.
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: I am reflecting about what caused misunderstanding. I think that you will understand it.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: What are you reflecting about? You are reflecting about your failure to complain about your photos taken by them. You are saying that you are not reflecting about your participation in anti-Japan demonstration, aren’t you?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: I am reflecting about my regret over the fact that I was misunderstood.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: What kind of actions did you take to clear that misunderstanding? And, when did you realize that you had been misunderstood?
Ms. Tomiko Okazakisome Koreans thinking that way. I have nothing to do with it.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: You are not answering my question. I repeat my question. What kind of actions did you take to clear that misunderstanding? And, when did you realize that you had been misunderstood?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: When did I realize? I was thinking in those days that I was carrying out my activities. There are some people who misunderstood when exposed to the report. Then, I reflected. Not more than that and not less than that. That’s all.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: Who misunderstood about what? And, how?
(somebody is saying something like “I don’t understand your question.”)
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: I repeat the question. Who misunderstood about what? And, how?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: Those women became “comfort women” because of war. They have lived in agony for 70 years. At the time of demonstration I participated in, they were in 70s. They are now in 80s, or getting closer to 90s. They feel they can’t die like this. Somebody had to be by their side. This is the feeling I had in those days. The committee I am attending now is not related to my responsibilities. But we as the opposition party had a bill in those days. So, I had to explain to them about it. I was criticized about it after it was reported. I already took responsibility for that by stepping down from some posts I had. Although you said “Who”, I find it difficult to specify “who”.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: You are saying that you have been misunderstood. What is “misunderstanding”? The fact that you participated in anti-Japan demonstration is not misunderstanding at all. isn’t it? Or you mean to say “X mark on the Japanese Rising Sun Flag” is misunderstanding? What is “misunderstanding”?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: There are people thinking in different ways. When they were exposed to the report, they came up with different ideas. Among them, there were some people who misunderstood my activities. This is the way I am reflecting about.
Ms. Tomomi Inada said: Since you haven’t specified what’s misunderstood, what can you be reflecting about? What do you think is misunderstood? You can’t deny your participation in anti-Japan demonstration because it is a fact. Then, what are you reflecting about?
Ms. Tomiko Okazaki said: What I am reflecting about is “I was taken as anti-Japan.”
-the End of the Questions by Ms. Tomomi Inada-
At Cabinet Standing Committee of the House of Councillors in the National Diet of Japan held on October 28, 2010
A Newscaster said: I will show you one video footage of deliberations at Cabinet Standing Committee of the House of Councillors on October 22. It is a little bit old but we will show it to respond to the requests made by our viewers to show it again.
A video shows that Mr.Shouji Nishida, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, a member of the House of Councillors in the National Diet of Japan grills Ms. Tomiko Okazaki, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Gender Equality, and also Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, a Japanese politician of the Democratic Party of Japan, a member of the House of Councillors in the National Diet of Japan over her controversial activities that drew much attention from both Japan and south korea.
-the Beginning of Questions by Mr. Shouji Nishida-
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: This is a photo showing Ms. Tomiko Okazaki participating in anti-Japan demonstration in Seoul, and this is an article reporting her as joining anti-Japan activists group holding a placard with anti-Japan slogans written on it and a Japanese national flag X marked on it. Looking at this photo, I feel so ashamed of it and I say “It is outrageous!” You are not only a member of the House of Councillors in the National Diet of Japan but also Minister. And, you are Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission who should assume primary responsibility for protecting national interests, safety of the Japanese nationals and their assets. Now, I am now fully aware of what you have done. And, I am asking Minister a question over what you might have done against our national interests. Let me ask you again what you had in your mind going over to join the demonstration on February, 2003. Please answer clearly.
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: I have been working on an issue of “comfort women”. I reported my achievement to those aged women and then listened to the voices of those war victims. It was freezing cold as it was in February. I reported to them sitting at chairs outside. One thing I am so sure about is that I gave them my words to ease their pains. As seven years have already passed, I find it difficult to answer if you ask me exactly what I did. I am so sure that I showed my sympathy to them, trying to ease their pains. They were in their 70s. And, now they should be in their 80s or getting closer to 90s. Besides, I appealed that we should honestly face the past and should help them restore their dignity and honor.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: What I am asking you now is “reporting” you have just mentioned. You reported to them your political activities as a member of the House of Councillors, the National Diet of Japan. That is to report on what you are doing with a compensation bill you as a legislator have long been trying to pass the Diet. You reported it to them, didn’t you?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: Yes, that bill is to help them recover their dignity and honor.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: That’s not all but it should include monetary compensation. Am I right?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: It seems that it will include it.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: You mean to say that it should include compensation to individuals.
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: A measure to help them recover dignity and honor. That’s all.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Don’t be deceiving us! Your proposal clearly includes compensation to individuals, doesn’t it? Payment of money has been clearly included in it, hasn’t it?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: That’s what I mean by ”to help them recover dignity and honor”.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: ”To help them recover dignity and honor”, you give them money that will help them recover dignity and honor, don’t you?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: I think we will consider the bill in such a way as to include it.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Every time you have submitted the bill, it has been killed But now your party is a ruling party at our National Diet. You are now a minister you always wanted to be. If you submit it now, you can get it passed. Why haven’t you submitted it?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: I am afraid that the bill we are talking about is a bill to be proposed by members of the National Diet. I am not in charge of this type of bill at all. I am so skeptical about if I should comment on it now but we believe the bill should be proposed based on the national consensus. That is what the bill should mean.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Don’t be deceiving us! I have read all the minutes in which you clearly states “compensation to individuals.” What’s more important is “who’s receiving that compensation?” Your bill is to compensate the foreigners other than the Japanese nationals. isnt’ it?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: Among the objectives of the bill, we promote friendship with the peoples of those nations concerned by facing the past problems and the war victims and solving an issue of “comfort women”, thereby maintaining our respectful position in the international community.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Don’t be deceiving us! Don’t lie to us! As I said a few minutes ago, I am asking you questions based on the minutes of discussions held at Cabinet Standing Committee on July 23, 2002. Mr. Tsuguo Morita asked you “Why the bill does not include the Japanese nationals?” and then you clearly replied to him that the bill covers the compensation to be paid only to the foreigners. Don’t you forget it!
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: That is what we intended at the time of preparing the bill.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Why I always say this is that you go abroad, trying to compensate the foreigners with the tax collected from our people. This is what the bill is intended for. I think that “comfort women” has not been proven yet as a historical fact. Regardless of if it is true or not, say I take it as a historical fact. Then, we should assume that there might be the Japanese comfort women. Why don’t you include the Japanese nationals? This bill itself is intended to sell Japan! In other words, this bill is to disregard our national interests but to work for the foreign interests, literally meaning “Selling Japan” in our Japanese dictionary. This is exactly what you have been doing. isn’t it?
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said: Chief Cabinet Secretary Mr. Kouno mentioned back in 1993 that this issue is a matter of having deeply disparaged many women. This is a view expressed by the Government.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: I am not asking you to say something like that. I am not in a position to accept Mr. Kouno’s comment. I consider it wrong. As I am running out of time, I will ask a question over the “Wednesday Demonstration” Ms. Okazaki participated in. This demonstration is in fact anti-Japan demonstration. What do you think of so called “Wednesday demonstration” Ms. Tomiko Okazaki participated in? Can I get a reply from the administrative staff?
Mr Nishimura (Director General of Security Bureau of National Police Agency) said: Regarding the demonstration you have just pointed out, I understand that the demonstration you asked about is held by “the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan” insisting that the issue of so-called ”comfort women” be solved and then be compensated with apology the National Diet decides on. Moreover, I understand that this kind of demand itself does not immediately constitute a crime related to our security and public safety.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Even if you said so, in fact they still hold such a demonstration on every Wednesday. You know it. They are demonstrating against Japan over not only “comfort women” but also over “Takeshima islets”. This Wednesday Demonstration is so designed as to immediately condemn Japan whenever they come up with national interest conflicts between Japan and South Korea. Director General of Security Bureau! You should know this.
Mr Nishimura said: I am afraid that we can’t answer your question lest that my answer may affect our future police activities because in Security Bureau, to maintain order and public safety, we administer crackdown on and information gathering of crimes related to national interests and public safety.
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: Yes, that’s right. Ms.Tomiko Okazaki, Chairman of Public Safety Commission is the one that the National Police Agency keeps an eye on for gathering information on her activities. That’s why you can’t answer my question. Those demonstrators are saying that Takeshima doesn’t belong to Japan but to South Korea. Chairman of Public Safety Commission! Which nation do you think Takeshima islets belong to?
Chairperson of the Cabinet Standing Committee said: Since the time allocated to Mr. Shouji Nishida is running out, Ms. Tomiko Okazaki should briefly reply to his question.
Ms.Tomiko Okazaki said in an undertone: I think “to Japan”. ( February 22 is Takeshima islets day)
Mr.Shouji Nishida said: The fact that you work together with a group of activists who say “Takeshima islets” belonging to South Korea itself is against our national interests. I can’t understand why you can’t understand it! I strongly declare that you have already been disqualified to be not only Minister but also a member of the House of Councillors in the National Diet of Japan at all when you joined that group. I demand that you will immediately resign. That is all.
-the End of Questions by Mr.Shouji Nishida-
Mr. Kazuo Miwa said: I am sorry to say this but whatever Ms. Okazaki says seems to be almost nothing substantial at all. Just to defend her, when she was screaming in Seoul, she never thought she would become a minister. Because she was a member of opposition party in those days, she was so relaxed and carefree. Nobody would accept her to speak irresponsibly just like the Japan Socialist Party used to do in the old days if we will often see the ruling party changed in the future. I’m talking about the politicians above the acceptable level. Those not expecting to be in power may say whatever they feel like. Anyway, Ms. Okazaki is not so thoughtful at all. At inception, the Democratic Party of Japan had difficulty securing good human resources. As a number of women politicians has grown, presence of Ms. Okazaki seems to have been overshadowed by other women politicians. Just because of seniority, she has been appointed as a minister. Once the two-party system is well established, this type of politicians will be naturally eliminated.
Newscaster said: When Ms. Tomomi Inada previously questioned Ms. Okazaki over her participation in anti-Japan demonstration condemning the Government of Japan for an issue of “comfort women”, we got an impression that Ms. Okazaki mentioned nothing significant, making it so obscure, although based on the Kouno talk, in her reply at all.
Mr. Kazuo Miwa said: Whatever Mr. Kouno said in his talk about “comfort women”, nothing has been proven at all. Suppose we will compensate “comfort women”. As Mr. Nishida said, we should include the Japanese nationals. Otherwise, it will not make any sense at all. Prostitution was legal in those days. Those Koreans were all Japanese citizens. When looking at the issue of prostitution from our current perspectives, we will recognize a number of problems attached to it. If it were “forced one”, we would have seen the Korean ladies from the noted families forced into “comfort women” at all. If anybody says that prostitution is wrong, we will have to accept it as we have regarded ”prostitution” as being illegal for more than a half century. We don’t have to retrospectively judge those who practiced “prostitution” in those days. No matter how many times I listened to what they say about ”comfort women”, I’ve never understood it a bit. Mr.Youhei Kouno and Ms. Okazaki should be categorized into a group of people at the same level of intelligence. Considering that Mr. Kouno was an influential figure of the Liberal Democratic Party in those days, Mr. Kouno should assume more responsibilities for giving the wrong idea to the people than Ms. Okazaki.
Newscaster said: Yes, I think so, too.
While translating the above, I came across a number of questions over what’s written in various sites, which I consider biased and which often seem to be unfair in treating an issue of “comfort women” with much greater emphasis on a case of the old imperial Japanese military but without any mention of exploitation of women in the past and now by other countries.
Nanjing massacre, comfort women, etc. seem to be linked to the leftists movements in Japan and/or espionage activities, trying to fabricate history and then to condemn Japan and its people. Those leftists could be linked to the politics of major powers in the world which some Japanese politicians often fail to recognize due to the lack of knowledge-possibly resulting from the intensive brainwashing practiced in Japan or they have been threatened by some powers-and their limited exposures to the realities of international community.
When it comes to criticize Japan, things get to be inflated rather than deflated as Japan has been economically deflated in the last two decades. Thus, I will continue to focus on fabrication of history whose purpose is to unfairly treat Japan and its people.
1. 李榮薰(イ・ヨンフンLee Yong-hoon이영훈), see http://bit.ly/gATodU
2. 韓国挺身隊問題対策協議会 the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan” in English, see http://bit.ly/dOukNv
3. A bill to be proposed and submitted by members of the National Diet (Giin ritsupou 議員立法)
In simple terms, there are two different ways to submit a bill for its deliberations at the Japanese legislature. One is for the Cabinet to submit a bill to the National Diet and the other for members of the National Diet to submit a bill.
4. Mr. Kazuo Miwa http://bit.ly/ePF6cN
1. I try to be accurate when translating all the discourses I came across in preparing for this presentation.
2. I try to be concise when translating all the discourses I came across in preparing for this presentation.
3. Whatever discourses I translate will remain tentative until I get satisfied with their accuracy.
4. I reserve the right to decide which discourses I choose for this presentation.