At our last board meeting, the Board of Directors of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League formally adopted a resolution that expresses support for the Glendale comfort women monument and for justice for all victims of sexual exploitation by Japan's Imperial military during World War II.
Recently, a small delegation of conservative Japanese lawmakers came to Los Angeles to call for the removal of the monument. Locally, some Japanese immigrants have likewise expressed their dissatisfaction with the monument. As a civil rights organization, we see it as our duty to stand in solidarity with people aggrieved by government oppression.
Our resolution reads as follows:
As a Japanese American civil rights organization located near the city of Glendale, we feel compelled to take a position on this controversial issue. We remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quote of “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Based on the extensive research done by the Congressional Research Service that supported the US House of Representative Bill HR121, whose findings have not been challenged by factual data, and
Having discussed the issues with members of the NCRR (Nikkei Civil Rights and Redress), and representatives from both the NCRR and the SFV JACL having met unofficially with three Restoration Party members of the Japanese Diet, and having experienced communication difficulties because of our belief and value systems seeming to be totally incongruent, we found the situation of the perpetuator asking a third party to accept their statistics (and not that of the victims) to be surreal, and
Hearing NCRR’s suggestion to have the Japanese nation hear the testimonies of the victims being totally ignored (most likely because of such actions being so incompatible with the cultural values of Japanese society, in addition to their political situation), and
Having the delegates from the Restoration Party providing us with copies of the 1944 Prisoner of War Interview #49 in Burma, which they stated was definitive proof that the comfort girls there were prostitutes, and having studied that report (as did the Congressional Research Service), we have concluded that the descriptions of the comfort girls going shopping, going to picnics and going to social dinners to be totally incompatible with all testimonies by other comfort women, and we have concluded that much of the information in that report were given by the two civilian Japanese “house masters”, and
In our American society where a certain amount of empathy and compassion are values that are expected in our citizens, we are shocked to witness Japan’s political leaders continue to have their national pride and national image trample any vestige of empathy and compassion for the non-Japanese Comfort Women, and their expressed desire to dilute or rescind the 1993 apology by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono is an affront to all women throughout the world, and
We are pleased to know that there exists a small faction of today’s Japanese citizens who feel that Japan should admit to and apologize to the WWII victims, and we note the recorded testimonies of Japanese soldiers who used the Comfort Women,
Therefore, we, the San Fernando Valley chapter of the JACL, hereby go on record to state our support of the installation of the KoreanComfort Women monument in the city of Glendale as a reminder of ‘crimes against humanity’, and to state our support of Representative Mike Honda’s HR121 bill which, in addition to the Korean Comfort Women charges, additionally called out the 2000 UN Security CouncilResolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (signed by Japan) which recognized the unique impact of armed conflict on women, and which specifically noted that in 1921, Japan signed the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children.*
* The monument also serves as a grim reminder of unrecognized sexual slavery in today's world. Zoe, an international human rights organization was founded by a Japanese American couple residing in the San Fernando Valley. For many years, the many dedicated staff and volunteers in ZOE have rescued thousands of young women, in this country, and throughout the world from lives of sexual slavery.
We are also honored that the LA chapter of the transnational Filipina feminist organization, AF3IRM (Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization) has endorsed our resolution. Thank you, AF3IRM!
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