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22-07-2017
Although already apologizing, Japan is still showing aggressive and expansionistic character
Author : Hendrajit, Geopolitical analyst of the Global Future Institute (GFI)

On various occasions, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologized for the cruelty committed by Japanese soldiers during the World War II in some of its former colonies in Asia Pacific. Despite apologizing to the survivors of Japanese sexual slavery Comfort Woman (Jugun Ianfu), the Japanese government has not felt guilty for its war crimes in Asia Pacific.


In 2014, for example, Japanese cabinet minister, Yoshitaka Shindo, Minister of Home Affairs and Communications, in January 2014 visited the Yasukuni Shrine. In fact, even six days earlier, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had also made his first visit as prime minister to the temple in honor of Japanese war victims, including a number of high-ranking officials executed for war crimes after World War.
 
In fact, in the eyes of the Chinese and Korean governments (both South and North), the Yasukuni Shrine is seen as a troubled war temple for reminding the brutality and barbarity of Japanese soldiers during the Greater East Asia War. In other words, the temple is seen as a symbol of Japanese war crimes.
 
Based on various sources, all this happened in 1993. At that time, referring to an AFP news report in 1993, the Japanese government, through its spokesman Yohei Kono, had apologized to survivors (Jugun Ianfu) and acknowledged the Japanese involvement so as to cause the suffering of the souls and minds of the victims of Ianfu (In a landmark 1993 statement, then chief Japanese government spokesman Yohei Kono apologized to former comfort women and acknowledged Japan's involvement in causing their suffering).
 
But strangely in 2007, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied Japan's involvement in supporting and encouraging the practice of sexual slavery of the Japanese army, and even said there was no evidence to suggest that Japan directly supported the sexual slavery.
 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may have denied the Japan's involvement in supporting the practice of Japanese sexual slavery in the period before and during World War II. But based on research-related literatures around Jugun Ianfu, at least 100 to 400 thousand young women were forced to serve the "sexual desire" of Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. Especially in the Japanese colonies in the Asia Pacific region such as Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Timor Leste, and of course Indonesia.

Just for illustration in the case of Indonesia, the latest information reported by Eka Hindra, research associate of the Global Future Institute and an independent researcher on sexual slavery that took place in Indonesia between 1942-1945. According to Eka, based on temporary archives in the city of Solo, Central Java, there were some 150 women being comfor women in two Ianjos named Fuji Ryokan and Taito Ryokan, in Gladak. Even in particular, Eka interviewed former Ianfu of Karang Pandan, named Kasinem in 2008-2011. Provisional estimates, one of 150 Ianfu is named Yako Japan.
 
Of course, this is  a new piece of the tragic stories of Indonesian women who were debased their dignity due to the practice of sexual slavery by the Japanese soldiers in Indonesia.
 
The Eka's findings from the archive in Solo could be considered quite credible for considering her reputation and track record as researcher and advocate of Indonesia's Ianfu since 1999. Stories of Mardiyem from Yogyakarta and Suharti from Blitar are a discovery that has opened the eyes of the world. Eka also briefly met a history witness named Sri Sukanti, survivor Ianfu of Salatiga  67 years ago .
 
Sukanti explained her dark history of life in joy. She was born as the 11th child of 12 children of a district officer named Sudirman and his mother, Sutijah,  from an ordinary family. It started in mid-1945. "At around 11 o'clock two Japanese soldiers came in uniform complete with samurai tucked around their waists, accompanied by Gundi village leader named Djudi. The village leader showed to the two Japanese soldiers that Soedirman had beautiful girls". In short, Sukanti testified that the Japanese soldier who took him was named Ogawa. The first night there, I was bathed, shampooed, powdered and dressed by Ogawa exactly like the doll," she recalled. For the full story, the Eka Hindra article can be accessed at (http://www.theglobal-review.com/content_detail.php?lang=id&id=7974&type=9 #. UO5PDqxP1kg).
 
In a seminar we held in October 2010 in Jakarta, Sri Sukanti was present as a suvivor of Ianfu victim. The presence of Sri Sukanti before the participants of the seminar about the Comfort Women, Romusha and the Dark History of Japanese Militarism in Indonesia on Monday, October 25, shocked 65 people who attended the seminar held at the Santika Hotel, Slipi, Jakarta. Her testimony was brief but full of emotion proves how Japanese colonial atrocities in Indonesia in 1942-1945, primarily through its policy for Indonesian women forced to become sex slaves of the Japanese army were real.
 
In her presentation at the seminar held by the Global Future Institute, Sukanti said: "As long as I served as Ianfu, I was treated like an animal by the Japanese army. I was treated like a horse. After independence till now I am very sad because there has been no a concern and solidarity of the community and the government to me for being the victim of atrocities by the Japanese army.

After Japan left, I got married. My husband was a bricklayer. My marriage was not blessed with children. Maybe as long as I became ianfu I was injected by Japanese soldiers. I was probably injected 16 times. And if I remembered the injection. It's really pain. Anyway I feel powerless.
 
What is expceted by Sukanti, Rosa, Kasinem, and Icih, is simple. An apology from the Japanese Government to rehabilitate their reputation and good name that they were not "Naughty Girls" but forced sex workers due to the Japanese militarism system deliberately and consciously did mobilize and force the women in the colony of Japan solely for satisfy Japanese soldiers' sexual desires.

Jugun Ianfu, an organised crime of fascist Japan

From various studies and researches about the comfort women, it is indeed difficult to argue that the Japanese Fascist troops dii support and protect the practice of sexual slavery by the system and the method by involving the Japanese Military Police Kemp tai pei and its collaborators in the countries of the former Japanese colonies. Starting from the abduction, detention, up to physical abuses. It could even be regarded as "an organized mass rape" (organized mass raped). Even data documented through the amazon.com, the mass rape amounted to some 10 million people. They (the victims) died without rehabilitating their good name and reputation.
 
Recent findings which are no less tragic, again reported by Eka Hindra.
 
 In the Emplawas village, Babar Islands, West Southeast Maluku, in October 1944, there was a brutal massacre of 710 civilians by the Japanese military. Apparently at that time Emplawas was a major tobacco producer with substantial harvest approximately 6000 kg per year.
 
Japan's military represented by Shinohara committed violent acts to control tobacco. This angered local residents. So that there were acts of revenge and ended with the massacre of almost the entire village.

Before being slaughtered ruthlessly, 25 young women including Dominggas, separated from the community to be Ianfu. There were 2 Ianjos established on the Babar islands. I myself came to see the remains of the skulls of people killed in Tiwi river, and met with Mama Domingas in poor health conditions.
 
The story of the brutal and terrible massacre in Emplawas until now has not yet been known to the public in Indonesia. This case was once raised by Ra'jat Soeloeh media in 1947 and Tempo in 1986. Since then the story has been buried for ages.
 
The victims if they are still alive, are now at least 80 years of age. Our concern, especially the Global Future Institute, Ianfu victims (survivors), eventually would die without hearing an official apology from the Japanese government, as well as compensation for the survivors and for their family members from the Japanese government.
 
Sin and war crimes by Japanese fascist soldiers in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific countries could be forgiven. But the bitter and dark history and war crimes committed by the Japanese soldiers in an organized manner  on the eve of and during World War II, will never be forgotten by all the Indonesia's people.
 
Indonesia may gain economic advantages through close cooperation with the Japanese government. But Indonesia should not sell the misery and suffering of its ancestors and forefathers, namely the misery and suffering of Indonesian women who had been forced by the fascist government of Japan to become  "Sexual Slaves" for Japanese soldiers in Indonesia.
 
In this awareness, we as children of the nation, sometimes come to mind that the progress and success of the Japanese people at this time have actually  rested on the suffering and misery of the ancestors and forefathers of our nation, especially Indonesian women being the ianfu victims.

Therefore the Global Future Institute did support and appreciate to all parties  initiating The 11th Asian Solidarity Conference for the issue of Military Sexual  Slavery by Japan in Taipei Taiwan on 8 to 11 December 2012, which was  also approved by Eka Hindra as representative of Indonesia who was present  at the conference in order that ianfu victim countries (Indonesia, Timor Leste,  the Philippines, China, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and the  Netherlands), could make posts about Japan's military sexual slavery in the  country to be printed into a book. To perpetuate the Japan's dark history  during World War II in the countries of its former colonies in Asia Pacific,  particularly Indonesia.

Contradictions behind Japan's apology to Korea in 2015
 
It is a good idea to specifically highlight the Ianfu issue through the strangeness of the Japanese-Korean relationship. on December 28, 2015, the governments of Japan and South Korea agreed to solve the problem of comfort women  or "the victims of sex slavery" committed by Japanese soldiers for being forced by Japan to work in brothels during the World War II. And through Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized and expressed his regretness for the women of South Korea.

On this stand, we also should appreciate the statement made by Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida in a press release on December 28, 2015, the Japanese government admitted sincerely that the Japanese military during World War II recruited women to serve as "comfort women" for the Japanese military, and it is severely injure the dignity and the honor of women.

For us in the Global Future Institute, of course, the Japan's attitude did not reflect the official stance on December 28, 2015, which essentially apologized, admitted its mistake and felt sorry. In fact, the statue is actually a symbol of the suffering endured by the women of South Korea as the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery. And the teenager statue is also a symbol of their struggle to obtain an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government in Tokyo.

Indications of the strengthening aspirations among hardliners in Japan to revive Japanese militarism, could be examined since 2010. Ahead of the commemoration of the Japan's capitulation during World War II in Asia Pacific on September 2, 1945, the Japanese government and various strategic elements have apparently started undertaking maneuvers aimed at rehabilitating its bad reputation as a fascist government during the World War II era, especially against the nations in the Asia Pacific region for directly experiencing various atrocities of the Japanese colonial government like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, South Korea and China.
 
According to the research team of GFI, on August 15, 2010, Japenese Prime Minister explicitly expressed regret to those  suffering as a result of the atrocities of the Japanese fascist militarism government during World War II.
 
"Those" used by the prime minister clearly indicated the Japanese reluctance to admit and openly apologize to the Asia Pacific nations which were directly experiencing the atrocities of the Japanese fascist colonial government like the force laborer system (Romusha), and policies of forcing women in the Japanese colonial countries to become sex workers, or popularly known as Comfort Women (Jugun Ianfu).

Also in 2010, at a meeting of European right-wing leaders facilitated by Issui-kai or "the Wednesday Society" which is also well-known as ultra-right fascism, the leader of the movement, Mitsuhiro Kimura, openly doubted the assassination by the Japanese military against the civilians in China and the rape of Nanking in 1937 (known as The Rape of Nanking) which was estimated amounting to hundreds of thousands of casualties, and also denied the application of the policy of sexual enslavement of "woman as a slave to passion" for Japanese soldiers.
 
Another alarming indication is the essay writing contest about World War II with the theme 'True Modern Historical Perspective' in 2008, which was sponsored by Japan's right-wing businessman, Toshio Montoya.

Japanese motivation to erase its sins of history and war crimes in World War II could clearly be seen through the implementation of the contest, because of some 235 participants of the contest, 94 of which are Japan Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) personnel.
 
It is understandable if the contest triggered the suspicion that the ASDF personnel received orders and directives from their commanders to submit their writing in which the theme is in line with the contest mission to clean up the Japanese sins of history  in World War II.

 The writing contest which was won by the Chief of Staff of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, Toshio Tamogami reinforced the suspicion. The essay's title written by Toshio Tamogami ; 'Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?' clearly questioned the Japan's role as aggressor in Asia Pacific.
 
Is it really true that Japan is trying to revive its militarism like in the era of the World War II? Let us search back some strong indications of the efforts of Japanese government and some right-wing elements to return the Japan's triumpth in military like in the World War II.
 
Some mass media on July 28, 2010, reported that a panel of experts had recommended to the Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan to review the Japan's pasifist policy and mobilize more troops to the coastal areas which have now been often disturbed by Chinese navy. Even, the panel of experts also urged the Japanese government to loosen policies on the transfer of nuclear weapons in the territory of the country.

 This is of course quite serious because the recommendation clearly indicates that efforts to revive Japanese militarism are the standard-making process and Japanese defense policy formulation and overall fundamentals. So not just a handful of discourse or the desire of former politicians or military officers ultra-right wing Japanese. However, indications of the revival of Japanese military had to be seen in the revised policy framework for the overall Japanese defense policy.
 
Is the plan to change the interpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution in the field of defense a follow up of the recommendation of the panel of experts? It seems true indeed. For the panel of experts even have come to an agreement that the Japanese defense guidelines in the Cold War era have expired or outdated.
 
In the view of the panel of experts, to deal with the increasing threat from the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan Strait, Japan was ready and prepared to face any emerging eventualities. The recommendation could be interpreted as pressure to change Japan's defense posture which was formerly defensive and tended to be pacifist, to become an aggressive defense posture and, if necessary, become more expansive as in the World War II.



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   Book Review
Author : Hendrajit, Dkk
Japanese Militarism : Japan, Between Love And Resentment

A book entitled Japanese Militarism and Its War Crimes in Asia Pacific Region (Hendrajit, ed) was recently sent to me, by the publisher, The Global Future Institute. No doubt, this book made me re-think and recollect my trip to Japan in 1996. At that time, I was warmly received by Japanese families who became my host, invited to travel to various places, and bought souvenirs. The psycological effect of my short visit is that it is hard to imagine that the Japanese people were cruel ones, perpetrators of the massacre of our ancestors, raping Indonesian girls, making them as prostitutes and enslaving our grandfathers to work on various projects.

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