[INTERVIEW] Why Japanese media won't cover comfort women issues

Asia's Tech News Daily

[INTERVIEW] Why Japanese media won't cover comfort women issues

Takashi Uemura in a scene from Shinji Nishijima’s documentary “Target” / Courtesy of BIFF

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Filmmaker Shinji Nishijima was a Korea correspondent for TBS-JNN when Kim Hak-sun, a former comfort woman, broke the silence and testified about Japan operating an organized military brothel program during the World War II.

One of his colleagues, The Asahi Shimbun correspondent Takashi Uemura, first reported on Kim’s testimony on August 11, 1991, three days before the victim told her story at a press conference.

More than 20 years later, the truth-seeking reporter became the target of Japan’s right wing activists, scholars and journalists.

In 2014, right-wing tabloids accused him of fabricating his 1991 report on women being forcibly taken to provide sex to Japanese soldiers. They branded him a traitor and threatened to kill his family.

Uemura, who retired from journalism to start a teaching job at a university, lost his position due to mounting complaints from haters. His teenage daughter’s photo and personal information were exposed online. He separated from his family as he was left with no choice but to move to Korea as visiting professor at the Catholic University.

The threats extended to Uemura’s former workplace, The Asahi Shimbun, representative of Japan’s left-leaning newspaper. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s right-leaning government publicly criticized the daily, accusing it of spreading fake news on comfort women.

Nishijima who had interviewed Kim in a similar period and filed a similar story, thought it was strange that Uemura, among Japanese reporters who interviewed Kim, became the only target of criticism. So he decided to unearth the case and make a documentary about it.

[INTERVIEW] Why Japanese media won't cover comfort women issues

Filmmaker Shinji Nishijima / Courtesy of BIFF

“If Uemura is a fake reporter, I should be called a fake reporter as well. A news reporter who tried to tell the truth became a target of criticism and the deadly attack against him continues today.” he said during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

He blamed the government for siding with far-right nationalists and standing at the forefront of the conspiracy movement to cover up the truth about the comfort women.

“I think the comfort women issue is not properly reported in Japan, because there is increasing pressure from the government to avoid reporting on the subject. People who raise their voice against the government are vulnerable to attacks by the nationalists,” he said.

Nishijima looks into the year of 1997 when Abe founded the nationalist “Institute of Junior Assembly Members Who Think About the Outlook of Japan and History Education” and led the “Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.”

The reform eventually gave permission to publishers to play down Japan’s atrocious acts during World War II and revise the language describing women forced into sexual slavery by imperial Japan.

Nishijima notes that this revisionist act came just four years after the Japanese government’s 1993 apology for the wartime coercion of women into prostitution. The conservatives were quick to erase the portrayal of imperial Japan that they considered too negative.

“There is a movement in Japan where people try to pretend that historical matters that are unflattering to Japan never happened. Abe took The Asahi Shinbun’s problems to intimidate other media into self-censorship,” he said.

For his new documentary, “Target,” Nishijima interviewed supporters of Uemura. Asked why he didn’t interview right-wing figures who attacked the former Asahi Shimbun journalist’s reports as “fabrication,” the director said he wanted to simplify the thematic message in the film.

“I thought about interviewing both sides to have equal say about the comfort women issue, but I worried that I wouldn’t be able to deliver my message clearly. My intention was not to inform the audience about the controversy surrounding the comfort women issue, but to raise the question of whether political attacks on an individual is fair,” he said.

Uemura sued Yoshiko Sakurai, a journalist and comfort women denier who claimed that the Asahi Shimbun report was fabricated. More than 100 lawyers in the Hokkaido region came forward to defend the former Asahi reporter and the activists raised money for his court fees.

However, Japan’s highest court dismissed his case of defamation last year, upholding earlier court rulings. Uemura’s suits against Sakurai and publishers were initiated in 2015.

In 2018, a Sapporo district court ruled that Sakurai’s editorials damaged Uemura’s reputation, but didn’t defame him. In 2019, the Tokyo District Court acknowledged he was defamed by the publisher of the weekly magazine, “Shukan Bunshun,” and a scholar, but rejected his claim of damages.

[INTERVIEW] Why Japanese media won't cover comfort women issues

Video footage of the late Kim Hak-sun, a former comfort woman, is on display at an exhibition held in Kyoto, Japan, in this July 24 file photo. The “Statue of Peace,” representing comfort women, was also exhibited there. Yonhap

Nishijima expressed discontent against the decision made by the court, alleging political interference. As a former journalist, he also expressed deep concern about politicians using their power to manipulate public opinion and making the comfort women issue a taboo subject.

“I think it’s outrageous to regulate media out of fear of receiving complaints from the public when its past atrocities are revealed. This kind of self-censorship among reporters, who refuse to cover comfort women issues because their companies might lose a prime sponsor, was a dangerous precedent for the war or state of emergency,” he said.

He also urged the Japanese government to approach the comfort women issue as a humanitarian matter and not as a post-war compensation issue.

“I think restoring the victims’ honor is the primary concern. But the Japanese conservatives believe they should restore their honor. They are wrong. What really needs to be recovered is the dignity of the comfort women victims, not the perpetrators,” Nishijima said.

The journalist-turned-filmmaker said he hopes to release the film in Japan so that he can inform and inspire the film’s audiences about the neglected issue.

“While filming, many nationalists pressured me to halt filming, calling it a disgrace. However, they couldn’t stop me from completing this film. I hope this documentary will hit theaters in Japan maybe around the end of this year or early next year,” he said.

“Target” had its world premiere at the 26th Busan International Film Festival.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


How Hawkeye Could Factor Into The Future Of The MCU

Disney Platform Distribution When Jeremy Renner joined the MCU ahead of production on 2011’s “Thor” — where he appeared briefly as a sharp-shooting S.H.I.E.L.D. agent — it was seen as ... Read more »

Annabelle Wallis Opens Up About A Possible Malignant Sequel

Lev Radin/Shutterstock In September, director James Wan delivered yet another unique horror tale with “Malignant,” which caught audiences off-guard with its unhinged premise and wacky finale. The story follows Madison ... Read more »

Why Is Adam Not In Magic Mike XXL?

Warner Bros. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. If you need further convincing of that age-old adage, look no further than the “Magic ... Read more »

Stephen King Is Terrified Of Pet Sematary For This Incredibly Dark Reason

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Stephen King is responsible for more than his fair share of spine-chilling tales from the last half-century or so, to the point that his name has been ... Read more »

The New Christmas Adventure Netflix Families Are Loving

Jonathan Olley/Netflix December is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing: Holiday-themed movies are here, just waiting for families to sit down and watch them. Yep, it’s the ... Read more »

Samsung set to compete against TSMC with new foundry in US

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, speaks with reporters upon arriving at the Seoul Gimpo Business Aviation Center after completing his business trip to the United States, Wednesday. Korea ... Read more »

Hyundai Oilbank, Haldor Topsoe team up for eco-friendly fuels

Hyundai Oilbank and Haldor Topsoe, a Danish company specializing in carbon reduction technologies, signed a memorandum of understanding in early November to develop eco-friendly fuels. Courtesy of Hyundai Oilbank By ... Read more »

NPS's asset portfolio allows more local stocks

The headquarters of National Pension Service located in Jeonju / Yonhap By Anna J. ParkAs the benchmark KOSPI is undergoing a prolonged correction, market watchers are focusing on whether the ... Read more »

[INTERVIEW] Korean contemporary art captures attention in US, Europe

John R. Stomberg, the Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director of the Hood Museum of Art, left, and Kim Sung-lim, an associate professor of art history at Dartmouth College / Courtesy ... Read more »

Tens of thousands mourn death of Brazilian country music singer

A fan holds a CD of Brazilian singer Marilia Mendonca while waiting in line to pay final respects, during a wake at the Ginasio Arena in Goiania, Brazil, Nov. 6. ... Read more »

BMW iX lineup to upstage Tesla in luxury EV market

The BMW iX / Courtesy of BMW Korea BMW iX pre-orders exceed 2,000, beating out Tesla in luxury EV market By Kim Hyun-bin BMW Korea has launched its flagship EV, ... Read more »

Net regulator hints action against Netflix

Netflix Vice President of Public Policy Dean Garfield speaks at a press conference held at the JW Marriot Hotel Dongdaemun Square Seoul, Nov. 4. Yonhap By Kim Bo-eun Korea’s broadcasting ... Read more »

WINNER's Mino, ATEEZ and NCT set to conquer K-pop scene in December

By Dong Sun-hwa For K-pop stars, December is an eventful month packed with end-of-year awards ceremonies and concerts, but quite a few of them are planning to release new music ... Read more »

Philip Morris creates designated vaping areas

Philip Morris established a vaping room at Parc.1 in Seoul. Courtesy of Phillip Morris By Kim Hyun-bin Philip Morris Korea announced that it has created an outdoor smoking area for ... Read more »

Stocks extend losses on escalating Omicron fear

First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon speaks during a meeting with government officials at the Government Complex Seoul, Monday. Yonhap Watchdogs pledge to tighten vigilance on possible stock fall By ... Read more »

[INTERVIEW] Pianist Kim Dae-jin, president of K-Arts behind Koreans winning of global music competitions

Pianist Kim Dae-jin, newly-elected president of the Korea National University of Arts, speaks during an interview with The Korea Times at his office on Nov. 2. Korea Times photo by ... Read more »

Must-know tips and nice accommodation for travel to Singapore

Seen is Singapore’s famous view around the Marina Bay district, a popular tourist attraction there. gettyimagesbank Search for flights between Singapore, Korea soaring with travel bubble accord By Jun Ji-hye ... Read more »

New Gijichon Women's Peace Museum focuses on women of US military brothels

A portrait from Joo Yong-seong’s series, “When We Are Gone the Next Day,” which depicts women who used to work as prostitutes near American military bases in Korea / Courtesy ... Read more »

The Surprising Way Steven Spielberg Changed Paranormal Activity Forever

Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock The hit 2007 horror movie “Paranormal Activity” focuses on a woman named Katie (Katie Featherston), whose most notable traits are having a fondness for crafts and being terrorized ... Read more »

Why Tony Stark's Storyline Makes No Sense In The MCU

Marvel Studios 2008’s “Iron Man” kicks off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) stepping into the iconic red and gold suit for the first time. From ... Read more »

Moon calls for tighter immigration measures against omicron variant

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a pan-governmental meeting at the Presidential Office of Cheong Wa Dae, Monday. Yonhap President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday instructed aides to swiftly implement tighter immigration ... Read more »

EXO's Kai gives taste of his second solo 'Peaches'

Kai of K-pop boy band EXO poses during an online press conference, Tuesday. Courtesy of SM Entertainment By Dong Sun-hwa Coincidentally, Kai of K-pop titan EXO unleashed his second solo ... Read more »

KDB chief thanks FTC head for speeding up reviews of mega mergers

KDB chief Lee Dong-gull, left, and KFTC chief Joh Sung-wook By Kim Yoo-chul Korea Development Bank (KDB) Chairman Lee Dong-gull thanked Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) chief Joh Sung-wook for ... Read more »

More money moving into safer assets

Rising interest rates, Omicron fears dent investors’ risk appetite By Lee Min-hyung The ample market liquidity, created as a firewall against the COVID-19 pandemic, is flowing into safe assets including ... Read more »

Samsung accelerates moves to bolster automotive chip business

Samsung Electronics unveils three new chip products for vehicles, Tuesday. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics Tech giant unveils 3 new automotive chips By Baek Byung-yeul Samsung Electronics is speeding up efforts ... Read more »

Sandra Bullock says playing ex-convict in 'Unforgivable' was 'liberating'

Actor Sandra Bullock in a scene from the film, “Unforgivable” / Courtesy of Netflix By Kwak Yeon-soo Sandra Bullock, an actor who has taken on a wide range of roles ... Read more »

Omicron fears rout stock market

An employee at the headquarters of Hana Bank passes by a monitor in the bank’s dealing room showing Tuesday’s closing price, as the KOSPI hit a year-low at closing. Yonhap ... Read more »

Korea's telecom regulator open to collective action against content providers

Netflix Vice President of Public Policy Dean Garfield speaks at a press conference held at the JW Marriot Hotel Dongdaemun Square Seoul, Nov. 4. Yonhap By Kim Bo-eun Korea’s broadcasting ... Read more »

Korea's rebranded motor show staggers to address future mobility

Visitors are gathered around cars being showcased on the second day of the Seoul Mobility Show at KINTEX in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, Nov. 27. Courtesy of Seoul Mobility Show organizing ... Read more »

Pentagon calls for enhancing alliance to deter China, NK in review

The Air Force and Navy flight demonstration squadrons, the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels, fly over the Pentagon on May 2, 2020 (US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ned T. Johnston)The ... Read more »

NPS' asset portfolio allows more local stocks

The headquarters of National Pension Service located in Jeonju / Yonhap By Anna J. Park As the benchmark KOSPI is undergoing a prolonged correction, market watchers are focusing on whether ... Read more »

'Special quarantine measures' won't contain COVID spread: experts

Medical workers prepare to conduct coronavirus tests at a testing center in Songpa District, Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap Critically ill patients reach record high of 661 By Lee Hyo-jin The government’s ... Read more »

Hyundai E&C to begin sales of Hillstate apartments in Pyeongtaek

An artist’s impression of Hyundai E&C’s Hillstate Pyeongtaek The First apartments / Courtesy of Hyundai E&C By Baek Byung-yeul Hyundai E&C said Tuesday it will begin the sales of homes ... Read more »

Seongnam Mayor Eun Soo-mi indicted on graft, corruption charges

This Oct. 16, 2021, file photo shows Seongnam Mayor Eun Soo-mi stepping out of Suwon High Court in Suwon, south of Seoul, after receiving a fine of 900,000 won ($757) ... Read more »

Yoon's leadership put to test as interim conflict deepens

Main opposition People Power Party presidential nominee Yoon Seok-youl (left) and the party’s Chairman Lee Jun-seok attend the party’s supreme council meeting at the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap)The leadership ... Read more »

Essay awardees give helpful advice on AI, basic income

The Korea Times President-Publisher Oh Young-jin, left, and Woori Bank Executive Vice President Hwang Kyu-mok, right, applaud after giving awards to the winners of the newspaper’s 17th English Economic Essay ... Read more »

Culinary would unite minds and hearts of Indonesians and Koreans: Indonesian charge d'affaires

Indonesian Embassy Charge D’Affaires Zelda Wulan Kartika (fifth from left), and Director General of the ASEAN Culture House in Busan Park Mi-sook (seventh from left) pose with staff and winners ... Read more »

Bulgaria honors ex-Korean ambassador

(Bulgarian Embassy in Seoul )HONORING SERVICE The Bulgaria Embassy in Seoul honors Jeong Jin-kyu, former ambassador of Korea to Bulgaria, with the Order of the Madara Horseman of the First ... Read more »

ATEEZ, NCT and WINNER's Mino set to conquer K-pop scene in December

By Dong Sun-hwa For K-pop stars, December is an eventful month packed with end-of-year awards ceremonies and concerts, but quite a few of them are planning to release new music ... Read more »

Genesis offers glimpse of flagship G90 sedan

Hyundai Motor’s Genesis luxury vehicle division unveiled on Tuesday the exterior of its newest premium flagship sedan, the G90. The model, known to incorporate Level 3 self-driving features, is projected ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic