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Los Angeles Organizations Protest Legacy of Japanese Militarism

Groups Angered by Japanese High Court Decision on "Comfort Women" and Textbook Controversy

Contact: Haena Cho
Young Koreans United of Los Angeles
(323) 937-1445

LOS ANGELES - April 17, 2001 - Today at the Japanese Consulate in downtown Los Angeles, the Association of Victims of Japanese War Crimes, GABRIELA Network - Los Angeles (, the Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles (, and Young Koreans United of Los Angeles ( held a joint press conference and rally with over 300 attendees protesting recent events in Japan involving compensation for World War II "comfort women" and a newly approved textbook which refuses to acknowledge the role of the Japanese Imperial Army in forced labor, sexual slavery and massacres of civilians during World War II.

On March 29, 2001 a Japanese court overturned the first and only compensation award ever ordered for former World War II sex slaves or "comfort women." Hiroshima's High Court reversed the landmark April 1998 ruling by a lower court under which the Japanese government was to pay 300,000 yen (2,440 dollars) each in damages to three South Korean women. Historians say about 200,000 young women, mostly Korean but also from Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Indonesia, were forced to serve as sex slaves in Japanese army brothels during World War II.

Haena Cho, of Young Koreans United of Los Angeles, stated: "The recent court decision is a brutal slap in the face to the 'comfort women.' The Japanese government's continuing refusal to redress these women for what they have suffered during World War II demonstrates the ongoing nature of their oppression."

Among the demands of the "comfort women" is that the brutal reality of World War II be acknowledged in Japanese public school textbooks. Yet on April 3, 2001, buckling under pressure from right-wing groups and conservative politicians, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology approved a controversial textbook for use in public schools next year. Developed by the right-wing Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho wo Tsukurukai), this textbook refuses to acknowledge the harsh reality of World War II aggression and its forced labor, sexual slavery, and massacre of civilians by Japan's Imperial Army.

Annalisa Enrile of GABRIELA Network - Los Angeles stated: "A revisionist history that justifies Imperial Japan's actions is what is being included in these textbooks. It has eliminated any mention of comfort women. In fact, the acceptance of these textbooks demonstrates a resurgence of remilitarization in Japan."

Martha Matsuoka, of the Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles, added: "The recent textbook controversy shows that the Japanese government is increasingly favoring nationalist and pro-military interests who ignore, distort, and revise important histories of women, children, and victims of militarism who continue to live the daily legacy of World War II."

The Japanese government is currently lobbying for a seat on the UN Security Council. Yet, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced that they would not intervene in the government's approval of the textbooks. In light of these recent events, Japan should not be given consideration for such a prominent position.

Together with a coalition of organizations across Southern California, the organizations sponsoring this protest demanded that Japan:

• Come to a full disclosure concerning war crimes committed by Japanese troops and acknowledge the government's complicity in these crimes;

• Make reparations for the victims of Japanese war crimes; and

• Teach the truth in textbooks so that these crimes may not be repeated.


Additional endorsers of this event include: 7.7 Incident History Association, Alliance for Peace & Reunification of Korea, American Chinese Anhui Provincial Fellowship Association, American Chinese Hunan Provincial Fellowship Association, American Chinese Shanghai Commerce Association, American Chinese Strategy Study Center, Anti-Japanese War History Society, Association for the Victims of Japanese War Crimes, Association of Family of Korean Independence Movement in U.S.A., Association of Korean Oriental Medicine & Acupuncture of California, Bayan International, USA, California Korean Pharmacists Association, California State Taekwondo Association, Centennial Committee of Korean Immigration to the US, Chatay United Artists Association, China Provincial Fellowship Association of Los Angeles, China Reunion Promotion Association, Chinese Central Committee, Choong Chung Friendship Association, Committee for SAT II Korean, Dear Mon Association of the World, Fashion Industry Alliance, Federation Korean Artist & Cultural Organization, Gabriela Network - Los Angeles, Hanwoo Club, Inter Culture Coalition, International Korean Women's Business Association, Japanese Invasion Documentary Association, Kabataang Maka-Bayan, K.L.O. 8240th Army Unit Veterans Association in U.S.A., KOA Youth Crime Prevention Association, Korea Institute for Human Rights, Korea Town Association, Korean Alliance for World War II Atrocities, Korean Alpine Federation in America, Korean Amateur Sports Association in Los Angeles, Korean American Association of Education, Korean American Bar Association, Korean American Beauty Supply Association, Korean American Business Association, Korean American C.P.A. Association, Korean American Calligraphers Association, Korean American Chamber of Commerce Foundation of USA, Korean American Christian Business Men's Committee of Southern California, Korean American Citizens League of Los Angeles, Korean American Coalition, Korean American Disabled Veterans Federation, Korean American Federation of Los Angeles, Inc., Korean American Federation of Women's Clubs, Korean American Garment Industry Association, Korean American Government Employees Association, Korean American Grocers Association of California, Korean American Insurance Professional Association, Korean American Inter Agency Council, Korean American Medical Association Southern California, Korean American Mothers Association, Korean American New Generation Foundation, Korean American Policy Research Institute, Korean American Rose of Sharon Association, Korean American Scientists & Engineers Association, Korean American Sports Association in U.S.A., Korean American United Foundation, Korean Business & Professional Women's Association, Korean Central Lions Club, Korean Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, Korean Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, Korean Chapter of LAPD Boosters Association, Korean Christian Business Men's Committee of North America, Korean Cosmetology Association in U.S.A., Korean Dance Association U.S.A., Korean Dental Association of U.S.A., Korean Drycleaners & Laundry Association of Southern California, Korean Garment Wholesaler Association, Korean Health Education Information Referral Service, Korean Immigrant Workers Advocate, Korean Independence Fellowship Association, Korean Investors & Trader's Association, Inc., Korean Photo Artist Association U.S.A., Korean Resource Center, Korean Rice Cake Association, Korean School Association of America, Korean Senior Citizens Mutual Club, Korean Veterans Association in Western Region, Korean War Outbreak Participants' Association U.S.A., Korean Young Adult Team of Los Angeles, Korean Youth & Community Center, Koreatown Senior Center, Koreatown & West Adams Public Safety Association, Koreatown Police Booster Association, Kwang Bok Association U.S.A., Los Angeles 3.1 Womens Asso., Mainland & Taiwan Reunion Promotion Association, National KAGRO Foundation, Inc., Northeast Chinese Fellowship Association, The Offspring of the Anti-Japanese Heroes Association, Okinawa Peace Network, Overseas Ko Civil Rights Foundation, Overseas Korean Traders Asso of Southern California, Pan Am Korean Federation Veterans of Vietnam & Foreign Wars, Patriot Ahn Chang Ho Memorial Foundation of Riverside, People's CORE, PESANTE, Progressive Student Alliance at Occidental College, Republic of Ko Marine Corps Special Diving Association, Republic of Korea Army Military Academy 7th Class Alumni in USA, Republic of Korea Marine Corps Special Diving Association, ROK Navy Academy Alumni, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), South Bay Ko Marine Corps Veteran's Asso in U.S.A., Southern California Honam Friendship Association, The Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification of Korea L.A., Chapter, The Council of Korean Churches in Southern California, The Federation of Korea America Society, U.S.A., The Korean Real Estate Brokers Association of Southern California, The Los Angeles Korean American Soccer Association, The Peace Council for Korean Peninsula U.S.A., UCLA Student Welfare Commission, UCSD Korean American Student Association, The United Society, U.S. 8240th Army Unit Veterans Association, Inc., U.S. Paulista Association, Unification of Disabled Korean American, US Federation Councils of Korean American from Northern Korea, Valley Korean American Association, Veteran's Association of K.M.C in U.S.A., Young Christian Business Men's Committee, Young Koreans United of Los Angeles






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