SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 7th, 2017 –
At the second stop in Seoul, South Korea, during the five-country trip to Asia, President Trump was greeted by an 89-year old human rights activist and a survivor of the Japanese military sexual slavery during WWII, Grandma Yong-soo Lee, a globe-trotting advocate to end sexual violence against all women during the military conflict. Lee played an important role in the success of the San Francisco "Comfort Women" Monument project.
Since the unveiling of San Francisco’s “Comfort Women” monument on September 22nd, 2017, Japanese officials have launched a media campaign aimed at distorting history, ruining a 60-year-old sister city relationship between the Japanese City of Osaka and San Francisco and successfully pressuring the UNESCO to delay support of “Comfort Women” historical documents.
At the center of the current controversy is the Mayor of Osaka Hirofumi Yoshimura. The latest incident is from the national Newsweek publication. In the article posted last week, Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura is still threatening to sever the 60-year sister cities relationship because of the new San Francisco monument. Besides the sister city threat, it’s what he and other Japanese government officials are saying that is creating outrage with “Comfort Women” supporters around the world. Yoshimura says, “There is disagreement among historians regarding historical facts such as the number of comfort women, the degree to which the former Japanese army was involved and the extent of the wartime harm.”
These sentiments have been echoed to several national news media outlets. Retired Judge Julie Tang emphasized, “Those statements are not just factually incorrect but outright lies. The fact that 70-years after the war ended, Japan is still attempting to change public opinion concerning hundreds of thousands of women that were raped and enslaved is an outrage. There is proof, historical documents, eyewitnesses and admissions over the decades by Japanese officials admitting to the systematic sexual slavery trade set up by the Japanese Military.”
In addition, Japan’s pressure on the UNESCO has apparently worked. This week, a UNESCO panel announced it was delaying a decision on whether to preserve documents detailing how the sex slaves were used by Japanese troops in the ’30s and ’40s in its archive. “These documents have been proven true by historians and there is no ambiguity. The only country to call the documents in question without supporting facts is Japan” says Professor Su Zhiliang, world’s renowned scholar on “Comfort Women” issues.
Interestingly, on the same date, UN Human Rights Committee issued a public call on Japan to admit, apologize and take responsibility for the Comfort Women atrocities. The South Korean government has also protested the delay of the documents inclusion.
With the ongoing controversy, the Comfort Women Justice Coalition (CWJC) believes that this is an international controversy that the international community can solve by pressuring Japanese Prime Minister Abe to accept Japan's legal responsibility for the system of the military sexual slavery, through officially apologizing to ALL of the remaining “Comfort Women” from more than a dozen different countries, and delivering legal compensation to the survivors.
Osaka Mayor Yoshimura had asked US Ambassador, William F. Hagerty, to bring up the CW issue with President Trump.
“President Trump was face to face with Prime Minister Abe and we hope the CW issue was discussed as a global issue, a human rights issue. It’s not only for the Comfort Women of the past and present but for the women around the world where sexual trafficking and sexual violence continues and a resolution be reached before the last Comfort Woman dies,” says retired Judge Lillian Sing.
On September 22nd, 2017, Comfort Women Justice Coalition(CWJC), a community-based, not-for-profit organization that is devoted to bring justice for the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery during WWII, has unveiled a monument dedicated to the “Comfort Women” in St. Mary’s Square Annex, to remember the victims of “Comfort Women” system of sex slavery and human trafficking by the Japanese military during 1930s and WWII.
September 22, 2017 marked the 2 Year Anniversary of the San Francisco resolution to establish a public monument in memory of the victims and as a reminder to the ongoing sexual violence against women during wartime around the globe, and the serious problems of human trafficking in our communities, which unanimously passed in San Francisco Board of Supervisors on September 22, 2015.
The monument is standing on a public land with the approval of the city public officials & SF mayors. Everyone is welcome to visit and CWJC urges Osaka mayor Yoshimura & Prime Minister Abe to visit as well.