Saturday, March 10, 2007

So Much Has Been Written and Talked about Concerning the Most Recent Flare Up over the "Comfort Women" Issue, and Yet I Can't Stop Myself

Some facts that get lost in the tussle:
Prime Minister Abe did not raise the issue; Congressman Honda did, in a House Subcommittee, and forced his hand. Mr. Abe merely stated his previously expressed view, shared by much of the conservative wing of the LDP and, apparently, DPJ, that the would there was no proof that the Japanese government was directly involved in any coercion of the women, but that he would abide by the Kohno Statement as well.
Mr. Abe's views were clearly misrepresented in the foreign media, and this has added fuel to the fire.

Some predictions:
Mr. Abe will not issue a new apology.
The Emperor will not issue an apology.
The Abe trip to Washington will be marred by protests wherever he goes. (This last one courtesy of a US expert whom I will not name, unless he reads this and says he wants to be identified.)

If you want to really get into this issue, I understand there is a big debate going on at the MBR forum.

And before you write in to compare me to a Holocaust denier or a fellow traveler thereof, please note that I said: add fuel to the fire. And read my previous entry on this subject.

(Beside the point) I had been preoccupied this week, and I've been neglecting this blog. So to you who took the trouble to comment, my apologies. And thanks, Ken, for putting up that notice on behalf of Karin Muller; there's an intellectual property issue here, if indeed Japanland was broadcast or aired on cable or satellite TV. Also, thank you for your kind words about this blog. I'm supposed to be modest here; I'll merely state that, on the basis of the contents of your website, you are a source to be trusted.

By the way, I also found the false rape conviction highly disturbing. This and other cases have made me very skeptical of the death penalty, among other things. We did a complete makeover of our criminal procedures law after WW II, but much of the actual practice quickly diverged from the letter and spirit of the law. The upshot is that we have a criminal investigation and prosecution system that relies heavily on confessions. This apparently can result in serious travesties of the law.


Garrett said...

Mr. Okumura, thank you for your kind words about Trans-Pacific Radio. My kind words about GlobalTalk 21 are merely truth.

You've already helped Karin Muller in one small way. Shortly after writing and recording the latest installment of TPR News, I happened to be in Kinokuniya, browsing through the stacks of books I have neither the cash to buy nor the time to sit down and read, as is my wont, when I came upon Japanland, of which I had heard, but hwich I had not actually read. "Well, what do you know?" I thought. The timing was right.

- Garrett

Ken said...

Your last paragraph...the death penalty is one of the few things that I learned to oppose from an ideological standpoint (in Catholic school) that I now oppose for my own reasons.

A prosecution system that relies on confessions, like any other, will generate false positives. But, there are other factors, such as the means available for holding a suspect and cutting them off from society or a lawyer, that I think exacerbate that problem.

Garrett said...

Mr. Okumura, I hope you're OK. We've been missing your insights and opinions lately.

I hope you're just taking a break and haven't given up blogging.

Jun Okumura said...

Sorry guys. Work got in the way. Haven't had the time to do the factchecking and calibrating I need to do to post. I have a one-month-old piece on the second Norimitsu Ohnishi article lying around in my PC for which I never had the time to read the original testimony of the three women.

I have a lot of stuff in my head though, including a piece that puts four actions from the Chinese side during Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan and what they mean, a angle on the Wolfwitz affair that the MSM studiously tiptoes around (I don't think I will go there after all), the decline of the Japanese right-wing and what that means to Japanse politics, and other stuff that the Western MSM doesn't go into. Stay tuned.

It's hard to put into words how much your inquiry means to me. So you'll have to settle for: Thank you.