Follow-up emails/letters to MPs or Related Parliamentary Committees from Canada ALPHA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


From: B.C. ALPHA [bcalpha@alpha-canada.org]
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 1:07 PM
To: Jason Kenney (jason_kenney@pch.gc.ca)
Cc: Chair, Members, Associate Members and Clerk of Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Subject: Re: Follow-up letter of Meeting on April 13, 2007 between Hon. Jason Kenney & reperesentatives of 5 ethnic communities on "comfort women" issue

April 16, 2007

 

The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.

Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)

(By email jason_kenney@pch.gc.ca & by fax 819-953-8055)

 

Dear Hon. Jason Kenny,

 

In our meeting on April 13, you brought up a concern about the Canadian Government urging Japan, being an ally of Canada, to pass a resolution in their Diet to apologize and provide compensation to the ‘comfort women’. On behalf of Canada ALPHA, I would like to offer our response to your concern.

 

The Right Honourable Prime Minister Harper yesterday attended the annual Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony and reminded the country “to honour the memory of those who were consumed by the Holocaust” and “to ensure it never happens again”. We applaud the courage and the sense of righteousness of our Prime Minister.

 

Indeed, human rights and justice are universal values. What is important for victims of the European holocaust is also important for victims of atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Forces in Asia before and during WWII, including those of the Japanese military sexual slavery, euphemistically called by the Japanese Imperial Army as ‘comfort women’. 

 

No two allied countries can see eye to eye on every front. In matters like justices and denials of war crimes of WWII, be those committed by Nazi Germany or the Japanese militarist government, Canada should have the courage to stand up. We should not sacrifice our Canadian and universal value of human rights and justice to keep an ally happy.  On the contrary, as an ally, Canada has an inescapable responsibility to remind Japan that an apology and compensation resolution for former ‘comfort women’ – one approved by the Diet is undoubtedly the best and most honourable way for Japan to resolve the festering and unhealed wound of the crimes against humanity that happened 60 years ago, from 1931 to 1945.  By doing so, we are helping our ally, Japan to regain respect and trust from its neighboring countries and the international community.

 

In 1993, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono apologized to the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery. His statement, unfortunately, was not endorsed by the Diet. In fact, the Japanese Diet has never succeeded passing a resolution of apology and compensation for the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during WWII.

 

Despite the Kono Statement, Japan’ judiciary system has rejected all compensation claims by former ‘comfort women’.  Instead, the Asian Women’s Fund was created in 1995 by the Japanese government to provide a way for Japan to ‘compensate’ former sex slaves with private funds, so that the Japanese government can evade offering official government compensation.  Many of the victims have rejected the Fund because they believe the Japanese government itself should provide the compensation in recognition of its responsibility. 

 

Two reports of the Human Rights Commission by UN Special Rapporteurs in 1996 and 1998 criticized Japan and called for Japan to pay official compensation to former ‘comfort women’ and to prosecute the perpetrators who were responsible for the sexual slavery system.  As recent as October 2006, Amnesty International criticized the Asian Women’s Fund and called on Japan to pay official compensation to former ‘comfort women’.

Mr. Abe made his denial statement on March 1, 2007 that ‘comfort women’ were not coerced by the Japanese military.  Before this, former Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama led a group of some 120 ruling LDP legislators to urge carrying out a study with the objective to water down parts of the Kono apology and deny direct military involvement.  Mr. Abe has announced his decision that his government would fully cooperate and support this study.

 

In fact, Mr. Abe’s denial of the incontrovertible truth of Japanese military sexual slavery system was nothing new.   Commenting on the mentioning of ‘comfort women’ in Japanese history textbooks a decade ago, Mr. Abe said, "rape is clearly sexual violence, but that’s entirely different from what is referred to as ‘comfort women’. It is farfetched to say that we should teach about ‘comfort women’ as a means of teaching about sexual violence."  

 

In 2005, the then Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama denied the existence of ‘comfort women’.  Of the group of 8 textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education, 7 omitted references to ‘comfort women’.  Mr. Nariaki Nakayama supported the omissions, stating that references to ‘comfort women’ in textbooks was an ‘incorrect description’.  Obviously, the Japanese government has never intended to honor the 1993 Kono Statement which promised studying and teaching of this chapter of history.

 

On March 26, 2007 under immense international pressure including the phone call from our Foreign Minister, Mr. Abe, in response to the question from an opposition legislator, said, “I feel sympathy for the people who underwent hardships, and I apologize for the fact that they were placed in this situation at the time.” In his so-called ‘apology’, Mr. Abe never retracted his denial of military involvement in the coercion of sexual slavery.  Without acknowledging the historical fact and the responsibility of the Japanese military and government for the sexual slavery, any so-called ‘apology’ is just rhetoric, phony and unacceptable. 

 

In view of the repeated denials made over the decades by top politicians and government officials of Japan, survivors and people of victimized nations have concluded that the Diet should pass a resolution of apology and compensation on behalf of the people of Japan to proper redress the former ‘comfort women’, to prevent further denials and to ensure national acceptance of learning lessons from this dark chapter of history in Japan.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for meeting representatives from 5 different ethnic communities including 2 survivors on April 13, 2007 regarding this matter.  Miriam and Marius, the survivors would like to express their gratitude for your compassion to their atrocious experience and the lingering emotional scars.  All of us are encouraged by your understanding of the phony nature of Mr. Abe’s so-called ‘apology’ and your promise to brief our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on this matter.  

I hereby appeal to your goodself and the Conservative government to take the lead to help the Japanese government and its people to bring a proper closure to this dark chapter of their history, and learn lesson from it and make sure that militarism would not revive in their country.  Please support passing the tabled Motion 291 in our Parliament to urge the Japanese government to have an apology and compensation resolution for former ‘comfort women’ passed in their Diet.  

I look forward to hearing from you a favourable decision of our Conservative government on this matter.

Thekla Lit
Co-founder & Co-chair of Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)
archive.alpha-canada.org
 

c.c.      Chair, Members, Associate Members and Clerk of Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (by email)


From: B.C. ALPHA [bcalpha@alpha-canada.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 12:35 PM
To: Jason Kenney (jason_kenney@pch.gc.ca)
Cc: Chair, Members, Associate Members and Clerk of Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Subject: Academics claim proof Japan forced WW2 sex slaves - Reuters April 17, 2007

Dear Hon. Jason Kenney,

 

I refer our meeting on April 13, 2007 and my letter emailed to you yesterday regarding the “comfort women” issue and Canada’s role in urging to pass an apology and compensation resolution in the Japanese Diet. 

Below is the news article on Academics claim proof Japan forced WW2 sex slaves by Reuters dated April 17, 2007.  Conscientious and peace-loving Japanese people are urging their own government to come up with a clearer apology to the former “comfort women” and offer them compensation.  Canadians will be thanked if we do our part to help Japan to get over with this dark chapter of history.  Once again, I appeal to you and our honorable MPs to support M-291, the “comfort women” motion.

I am awaiting for a favourable decision of the Conservative government from you.  I also look forward to receiving favourable response from members and associate members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs & International Development.

Thekla Lit
Co-founder Co-chair of Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)
archive.alpha-canada.org
 

c.c.      Chair, Members, Associate Members and Clerk of Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Participants of meeting on April 13, 2007

 

 


 

Academics claim proof Japan forced WW2 sex slaves
Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:51 PM IST

By George Nishiyama

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese academics presented on Tuesday what they said was additional evidence to prove that the military kidnapped women to serve as sex slaves during World War Two, rejecting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's claims.

The academics, belonging to a centre looking into Japan's war responsibility, also urged Abe's government to come up with a clearer apology to the women - mostly from Asia - and offer them compensation.

Abe has come under fire for his remarks last month that there was no proof that the government or the military forced women to work in the wartime brothels as "comfort women", as the sex slaves are known in Japan.

The Japanese leader has apologised for the sex slaves and has said he stands by a 1993 statement that acknowledged official involvement in the management of the brothels, but has also said he would apologise again even if U.S. lawmakers adopted a resolution seeking one.

Hirofumi Hayashi, a professor at Kanto-Gakuin University, presented at a news conference several documents, submitted as evidence to the Tokyo war crimes tribunal, showing that the Japanese military had kidnapped women to work as sex slaves.

"It is a great mystery why the Japanese government ignores these documents," Hayashi said, pointing out that Japan must acknowledge them as it accepted the rulings of the Allied-run tribunal when it signed peace treaties that ended the war.

Hayashi said he had found the documents last year, but decided to disclose them now in response to remarks by Abe and others in government denying military involvement in kidnapping the women.

"Our work throughout the 90s had made it clear that the military was involved. But there have been overt moves by the government to deny this," Hayashi said.

Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a history professor at Chuo University, said the government should recognise that the wartime government and the military were responsible, adding that it should offer an apology clearer than that in the 1993 statement.

"It left it ambiguous as to who 'injured the women'," he said.

"It's shocking that there are no statements issued under a cabinet decision or approval regarding the comfort women," Yoshimi said. "The government needs to send out a clearer message."

He said a new statement should be made under some cabinet decision, adding that the government should also enact a new law and offer compensation to the women.

The government has said it is not liable for such compensation as the issue was settled under peace treaties that ended the war, but it did provide funds to the Asian Women's Fund that offered compensation and medical care to the victims in combination with private donations.

Critics say the fund, set up in 1995 and disbanded last month, makes ambiguous the government's responsibility for forcing the women to serve as sex slaves.

Abe's denial of official involvement in kidnapping women to work in the wartime brothels has risked straining ties with Washington, where U.S. Congressman Michael Honda has introduced a resolution calling for Japan to make an unambiguous apology to the sex slaves.

But no vote on the resolution, which Tokyo has criticised as full of errors, is expected until May, after Abe visits Washington for talks with U.S. President George W. Bush.

http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2007-04-17T163852Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_India-294519-1.xml&archived=False

 


From: B.C. ALPHA [bcalpha@alpha-canada.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 12:43 PM
To: Chair, Vice-Chairs, Members & Clerk of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Cc: Dr. Joseph Wong of Toronto ALPHA
Subject: Motion on "comfort women" issue to be debated in FAAE Committee - - Paper prepared by WCCW

Attachments: Comfort Women Fact Sheet and HRes121 by WCCW Feb2007.pdf

To: Chair, Vice-Chairs, Members & Clerk of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE)

 

Further to my 2 emails dated April 16 & 17, 2007 to Hon. Jason Kenney and c.c. to you regarding the above-captioned matter, I would like to provide more information about this matter to you so that you will make an informed decision when the FAAE Committee debate this matter.   

 

Attached please find the paper on “COMFORT WOMEN REDRESS AND HOW THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN CONTINUES TO REFUSE TO ACCEPT UNEQUIVOCAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE OF THE LARGEST, MOST EXTENSIVE AND BRUTAL CASES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY”  prepared by the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues in February 2007. 

 

The attached paper contains:-

I. The Undisputed Facts

II. The Atrocities and Their Legacy

III. Government of Japan’s Response

IV. The Apology “Myth”

V. The Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) “Myth”

VI. Relevance of the Comfort Women Issue Today

VII. In Support of H.Res.121 (A resolution sponsored by US Congressman, Mike Honda and supported by 80 Representatives from both parties)

 

I look forward to your support to pass a motion in FAAE to urge the Minister of Foreign Affairs to take all steps possible to urge the Prime Minister and the Parliament of Japan to: (a) pass a resolution in the Diet to formally apologize to the women who were coerced into military sexual slavery during the Second World War and were euphemized as "comfort women" by the Japanese Imperial Army; and (b) to provide just and honourable compensation to these victims."

 

I shall send you more up-to-date information about this matter in due course.  Thank you again for your support to help bringing a proper closure of this dark chapter of history and to help these eldest women to get back their dignity in their very last days on earth.

Thekla Lit
Co-founder & Co-chair of Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)
archive.alpha-canada.org
 

c.c. Dr. Joseph Wong, C.M., B.Eng., M.D., D.Sc. Co-founder & Co-chair of Canada ALPHA


COMFORT WOMEN REDRESS AND

HOW THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN CONTINUES TO REFUSE TO

ACCEPT UNEQUIVOCAL RESPONSIBILITY

FOR

ONE OF THE LARGEST, MOST EXTENSIVE AND BRUTAL CASES

OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

February 2007

Prepared by:

The Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues

The Support 121 Coalition

Comfort Women Redress and

How the Government of Japan Continues to Refuse to

Accept Unequivocal Responsibility

for

One of the Largest, Most Extensive and Brutal Cases

of Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women

in the Twentieth Century

February 2007

I. The Undisputed Facts

Who

  • As many as 200,000 Asian and Western young women, but an exact number is not known.

  • Mostly of Korean, Chinese, and Filipino, these women were euphemistically known as Comfort Women.

  • Western women captured from invasion and even some boys were used.

  • Japanese women as well as many from Southeast Asia were also procured.

  • Some as young as 12, but also including mothers who were forced to separate from their children.

When

  • First Comfort Women station established in Shanghai in 1932.

  • Widespread use of these comfort stations began in 1938 after the Nanjing Massacre.

  • After 1938, first documentary evidence of Army requisition of condoms and assignments of gynecologists to military units.

  • Comfort Women used for the purpose of recreational sex by the Japanese Naval brigade posted in Shanghai and their friends.

  • Most documents detailing the number of Comfort Women by the Japanese Government used were destroyed during the Tokyo bombings or by design.

Why

  • Comfort Women stations were a military strategy to increase the efficiency and morale of Japanese soldiers.

  • To prevent soldiers from raping and pillaging the local populations and becoming prone to various venereal diseases.

 

How

  • Many women were deceived by local private traffickers and were lured under false pretenses -- education and employment -- to leave their homes.

  • Poor families sold their daughters to these "procurers."

  • Others were the "spoils" of war.

II. The Atrocities and Their Legacy

Atrocities

  • Comfort Women were mentally, psychologically and physically dehumanized and diminished to the status of a "resource."

  • Subject to beatings, gang rape, forced abortions, torture, mutilations and extreme sexual violence often resulting in death.

  • Comfort Women were routinely required to service up to 36 men a day.

  • Comfort Women were drugged (sometimes with Opium) so that in the event they tried to escape, their addiction would draw them back to the rape camp.

  • Comfort Women had to service numerous men with only one condom.

  • Many women were killed after they became diseased or "overworked."

Survivors

  • Surviving Comfort Women suffer many physical and psychological problems.

  • Many survivors committed suicide from the shame and physical pain.

  • Many concealed their past to avoid societal condemnation.

  • Only recently have a few survivors dared to come forward and speak out against the atrocities they experienced.

  • Most of the Dutch survivors refuse to have their names released.

  • First Comfort Woman came forward in 1991 and her case was spotlighted by the Japanese press.

  • The legacy of their pain is magnified by the unwillingness of the Government of Japan to formally acknowledge, unambiguously apologize and accept unequivocal responsibility for this atrocity.

III. Government of Japan’s Response

Japanese Government Response

  • Denial until the first official government document found in Japanese Army archives referring to comfort women in 1992.

  • Did not acknowledge that comfort women system existed until 1993.

  • Comfort Women continually described as willing prostitutes who were compensated.

  • Asian Women’s fund (AWF) established in 1994 and organized in 1995, but was only a quasi-governmental effort.

  • Japanese Government has refused to provide direct governmental redress and states that today’s Japan is different than wartime Japan.

Japanese Government Redress

  • The AWF, and not the Japanese Government, has taken the initiative in addressing the Comfort Women situation -- the AWF is not a government agency.

  • In Japanese, the fund is commonly referred to as the Kokumin Kikin (People’s or National Fund) -- only in English, it is known as the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF).

  • Apology letters signed by the Prime Minister in personal capacity as opposed to an official State apology (with confusion on the translation of the words "apology" and "remorse").

  • The Japanese Government regularly reiterates that it supports AWF projects out of moral responsibility and that legal compensation issues have been settled.

  • The Japanese Government sidesteps the issue of whether the Comfort Women system was a war crime.

  • The compensation is known as "atonement money" and many Comfort Women refuse to accept it claiming that the Japan avoids its legal responsibility by acting through a third party.

  • Reparations were never intended to provide for all the former Comfort Women.

  • Initial plan only involved compensating 300 women or only 00.15%.

  • The majority of former Comfort Women and their families remain uncompensated.

  • Although the Fund’s mandate is to educate the public about the Comfort Women issue, little has been done.

  • Former Comfort Women have made it clear that they want both an official State apology and reparations from the Japanese Government itself.

IV. The Apology "Myth"

It is unfortunate that the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC has chosen to defend its government record on the Comfort Women with overstatements and misrepresentations:

  • The Government of Japan has never extended an official government apology.

  • For an apology to be official it would have to be a statement by a minister in a session of the Diet, a line in an official communiqué while on overseas visit, or to be definitive, a statement ratified by the Cabinet -- none of these conditions have been met.

  • The few apologies given by prime ministers on this issue can be viewed as the equivalent of the President signing a treaty, but the Senate never ratifying it.

  • The letters of apology to the Comfort Women by Japanese Prime Ministers (Hashimoto, Obuchi, Mori and Koizumi) do not constitute a government apology.

  • For example, the first sentence of the so-called apology letter reads "in cooperation with the Government of Japan" -- an official apology should, however, read "on behalf of the Government of Japan" which it clearly does not.
  • The letters also only accompany the disbursement of funds to those women who are willing to accept Japan’s atonement money.

  • So-called Japanese Prime Minister letters of apology were not given to Comfort Women generally, only to those to accepted AWF funds and promised to remain silent.

V. The Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) "Myth"

  • The Asian Woman’s Fund (AWF), designed to compensate the Comfort Women is not a government fund.

  • Although a laudable and notable effort, AWF is not a government organization.

  • The Japanese Foreign Ministry worked very hard to distance itself from any institutional association and scholars now find it strange that the Embassy of Japan claims ownership of the Fund.

  • In order to side step rightwing criticism of acceptance of the Comfort Women history, some senior Japanese Foreign Ministry officials worked with prominent Japanese citizens to establish AWF in 1995.

  • Government funds were allocated to provide the operating expenses and medical care disbursements.

  • Funds raised from Japanese citizens were used for the "atonement" payments to the survivors.

  • This is not the definition of "reparation," which implies it is a government payment. The majority of comfort women wanted the national government of Japan to take responsibility for their history-- not just some well-meaning citizens.

  • The Asian Women’s Fund was never designed to compensate all the Comfort Women.

  • Only women from South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines are considered part of the Fund. Korean women left behind by retreating Japanese troops in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, China, and North Korea were not included.

  • Survivors who came from U.S. territories such as Guam where Japanese troops were stationed or those who emigrated to the U.S. were not included.

VI. Relevance of the Comfort Women Issue Today

Japan Refuses to Set the Record Straight

Although institutionalized means for catering to male sexual needs in the military have long existed, the Japanese Imperial Army’s coordinated system of sexual slavery remains the most organized and systematic. Their legalized military rape of women was on an unprecedented scale. The Japanese government has avoided legal responsibility for their Comfort Women regime for several reasons: much of the documentary evidence was consciously destroyed after the war; the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal did not include it in the prosecution; the Japanese government felt that the San Francisco Peace Treaty voided any further reparations; and social prejudice against Comfort Women prevented them from speaking out in societies where chastity is prized.

Northeast Asia Regional Cooperation

With North Korean nuclear disarmaments talks central to East Asian regional peace, American relationships with Japan, China, and South Korea have never been more important. Historical disagreements that include the apology to Comfort Women issue, the content of Japanese textbooks, and the Japanese Prime Minister’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, however, threaten to undermine the unity needed for success. Any and all efforts are thus necessary to encourage reconciliation in the region to consolidate lasting security. It is in American interest to expect Japanese to responsibly address issues that continue to destabilize regional peace. Most important, the failure of Japan to successfully resolve their culpability and accountability toward the Comfort Women casts doubt upon Japan’s commitment to human rights and UN leadership. H.Res.121 is a step toward reconciliation among our allies in Asia.

Japanese Deniers

Japanese leaders and textbooks have long downplayed Japanese war crimes and emphasized Japan wartime victimization. This trend has intensified over the past decade. Today, leading Japanese politicians, including the Prime Minister, question aloud the veracity of the Rape of Nanking, the harshness of the Bataan Death March, and the existence of comfort women. The ruling LDP Policy Chief and leading Diet members have intensified their efforts to revise and/or rescind Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono’s 1993 statement expressing remorse and atonement for the Comfort Women system. Indeed, the LDP is planning on sending some members to Washington to block H.Res.121. The U.S. simply cannot afford to have an ally that appears as deniers of history.

Upholding Human Rights & Restoring Justice

There were as many as 200,000 girls and women who were part of the Japanese program of comfort women. Taking the lowest figures, there were about 20,000 comfort women at any given time. Each of them was raped at least 5 times per day. That means that there were at least 100,000 rapes per day arranged by the Japanese authorities and carried out by its soldiers. This equals at least 24 million rapes per year, and even assuming only 5 years of the program, there were at least 125 million rapes against the women of Korea, Philippines, Burma, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Netherlands. Japan, however, has paid nothing to these victims. Time is running out for the few former Comfort Women who are still alive today.

VII. In Support of H.Res.121

As an ally of the U.S. that helps advance American foreign policy objectives in the Northeast Asia region, the Japanese Government must show with greater clarity that it share American values and is not just nominally regretful of its past wrongs.

H.Res.121

  • House Resolution 121 (H.Res.121) was introduced by Rep. Michael Honda (CA-15) along with six bi-partisan original co-sponsors: Representatives Edward R. Royce (CA-40), Christopher Smith (NJ-4), Diane Watson (CA-33), David Wu (OR-1), Phil Hare (IL-17), and Delegate Madaleine Bordallo (GU).

  • H.Res.121 calls for the Government of Japan to formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as ''comfort women'', during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II.

  • H.Res.121 recognizes some of the positive steps that the Japanese Government has attempted on the Comfort Women Issue.

  • The legislation encourages Japan to be honest about its past mistakes and to educate its future generations on crimes against humanity.

  • House Resolution 121 demands that Japan fulfill four conditions:

    1. Should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as ''comfort women'', during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;

    2.  Should have this official apology given as a public statement presented by the Prime Minister of Japan in his official capacity;

    3. Should clearly and publicly refute any claims that the sexual enslavement and trafficking of the "Comfort Women"' for the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces never occurred; and

    4. Should educate current and future generations about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the "'Comfort Women."

February 2007


From: B.C. ALPHA [bcalpha@alpha-canada.org]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 11:51 AM
To: 'obhrad@parl.gc.ca'
Cc: Chair, Vice-Chairs, Members & Clerk of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development & Dr. Joseph Wong of Toronto ALPHA
Subject: Re: "Comfort Women" Motion - News Report says Mr. Deepak Obhrai needs more information before he fomulates his position on this matter

Attachments: comfort women motionMP20Apr2007.doc

Dear Mr. Deepak Obhrai,

 

In today’s national news of Ming Pao Daily, it is reported that the “Comfort Women” Motion is being referred to you to decide when the Standing Committee of the Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) will debate on this matter.  Also, it is reported that you will need more information about this issue before formulating your position for the Motion when is to be voted.   Attached please find this news report for your easy reference.

 

I am most happy to provide more information on this matter to you and members of the FAAE Committee and to discuss this matter with you personally.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for whatever information you need regarding this issue so that you and members of the Committee will be able to make an informed decision based on principles of universal human rights and justice for this matter which is of greatest importance to humanity, irrespective of the victims’ ethnic origins. 

 

In a recent article, ‘Comfort Women’: It's time for the truth (in the ordinary, everyday sense of the word) written by Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Professor of Japanese History and Convenor of the Division of Pacific and Asian History in the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, she pointed out:-

 

Reading these remarks (Japanese PM Abe’s remarks on “comfort women”), I found myself imagining the international reaction to a German government which proposed that it had no historical responsibility for Nazi forced labour, on the grounds that this had not been "forcible in the narrow sense of the word". I also found myself in particular imagining how the world might react if one of the German ministers most actively engaged in this denial happened (for example) to be called Krupp, and to be a direct descendant of the industrial dynasty of that name.

 

Tessa Morris-Suzuki further wrote:-

 

The story is depressingly familiar. Historical truth is being sacrificed to short-term political expediency. The victims this time are first and foremost the surviving "comfort women" themselves, who are once again being insulted and denied justice by the morally bankrupt hair-splitting rhetoric of politicians. But the other group of victims is the Japanese people themselves, whose relationship with neighbouring countries is being damaged by the short-sighted and inept behaviour of their political leaders. Reading the news over the past few days, I have been remembering Matsui Yayori, who to the day of her death fought so courageously for truth and justice, and thinking of historians like Yoshimi Yoshiaki and journalists like Honda Masakazu. Both the former "comfort women" and Japanese people like these surely deserve better.

 

Mr. Obhrai and members of the FAAE Committee, your support to the “Comfort Women” Motion will not just mean a great deal to the surviving “comfort women” but will also to many Japanese people who deserve better.

Thekla Lit
Co-founder & Co-chair of Canada ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)
archive.alpha-canada.org
 

c.c. Dr. Joseph Wong, C.M., B.Eng., M.D., D.Sc. Co-founder & Co-chair of Canada ALPHA


奧百賴表示,慰安婦議案將於短期呈交外交事務委員會表決。(網上照片)

 


加國新聞

慰安婦議案料月提交委員會

2007420

 

【明報專訊】加拿大外交部長的國會秘書奧百賴(Deepak Obhrai)昨日表示,慰安婦的議案將會在短期提交眾議院委員會討論。 

 

由新民主黨一批議員提出、要求加拿大政府向日本交,敦促日本正式就慰安婦事件道歉兼賠償的議案,在國會休會前成功通過國會國際人權附屬委員會,轉交外交事務與國際發展委員會討論。

 

昨天該委員會在休會後首次開會,但未有將慰安婦議案排上議程,委員會昨日集中討論阿富汗的問題。

 

推動這一議案的其中一位新民主黨國會議員白瞳恩(Dawn Black)辦公室所得到的訊息是,負責制定議程的外交事務委員會的統籌委員會(steering committee)決定將議案轉介往國會秘書奧百賴,由他定奪。

 

本身是保守黨卡加利東選區的國會議員奧百賴昨日,該議案仍然未有提交到委員會的層面。他拒透露自己會如何投票,亦未有表明對這一問題的立場,只是重複地要取得更多資料。

 

他保證這個議案將會在短期呈交委員會,只是目前未能討論。他又不排除在4進行討論。

 

白瞳恩昨日分析,大家不用因為委員會昨日未有討論而感到心灰意冷,因為奧百賴直通外交部,這一安排可能是政府有所行動的先兆。白瞳恩也不排除這是拖延策略,但她願意給執政黨一個機會。

 

加拿大抗日戰爭史實維護會的其中一位共同主席列國遠表示,昨日她也加緊游外交事務委員會各個成員。該會在上周二發出了電郵予多元文化國務部長肯尼(Jason Kenney),敦促他支持慰安婦議案。

 

列國遠昨日發出電郵及打電話給委員會13名成員,成功接觸到其中11名成員的辦公室。她希望各議員先了解事情才投票表決議案。

http://www.mingpaovan.com/htm/News/20070420/vac2.htm