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Comfort Women or Sex Slaves? In Redwood City, Two Sides Express Views

Comfort Women or Sex Slaves? In Redwood City, Two Sides Express Views

by SF Peninsula Report
Sunday Dec 14th, 2014 1:08 AM

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/14/18765522.php

Leaders of Nadeshiko Action spoke in Redwood City to an audience of San Francisco Area based Japanese reporters last evening. One of their objectives was to get the word out to Japanese living in the US that the building of Comfort Woman memorial statues in Palisades Park, New Jersey and Glendale, California serves only to hurt US/Japan relations and paint Japanese in an unfair light. Outside the event, protesters said the goal of Nadeshiko Action is to whitewash the real history of 200,000 sex slaves in wartime Japan.

Top photo: "Two sides of the issue". Supporters of Nadeshiko Action explain their views to demonstrators.

 

Leaders of Nadeshiko Action spoke in Redwood City to an audience of San Francisco Area based Japanese reporters last evening. One of their objectives was to get the word out to Japanese living in the US that the building of Comfort Woman memorial statues in Palisades Park, New Jersey and Glendale, California serves only to hurt US/Japan relations and paint Japanese in an unfair light. Outside the event, protesters said the goal of Nadeshiko Action is to whitewash the real history of 200,000 sex slaves in wartime Japan.

To their credit, one of the leaders and several supporters of Nadeshiko Action engaged in conversation with the protesters, who stood with signs outside the the Redwood Community Center where the press event was held. The surprised visitors from Japan asked, "How did you know we were here?" and "Why do you call us racists when we have Korean and Chinese friends?"

It would come as a surprise to most Americans to hear that in Japan, Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans are not considered by many to be of the same race (人種). While most academics state that race is socially constructed and not based on scientific fact, unfortunately race is intimately bound with the distribution of rights and resources, and ideas of "race" are manifest in social inequalities both in the US and, as the demonstrators said, in Japan. They said that prejudice against ethnic Koreans and their descendants living in Japan is blatant.

In regards to the comfort women v. sex slave issue, the Nadeshiko members are of the same sentiment as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was interviewed by The Economist recently. In that interview he stated, "With regard to the comfort-women system which used to be in existence where people from the Korean peninsula were working: my heart always aches when I think about these people who were undergoing a very miserable time, a time of bad suffering. But the second thing is that if Japan is defamed or Japan’s honor is hurt based on these false grounds, then of course Japan needs to try to regain her honor." Nadeshiko Action speakers said that accusations of sex slavery are unfounded and that the vast majority of what they prefer to call "comfort women" were prostitutes, some of whom, they say, were very well paid.