In April 2016, we had a series of events in NJ and NY featuring Tamaki Matsuoka, known as the “Conscience of Japan.” Tamaki Matsuoka, a Japanese elementary school history teacher who during the last 28 years has tried to find out just exactly what happened in Nanking during the Nanking Massacre (December 1937 – January 1938). During this process, she has become a journalist, researcher, and activist. She interviewed more than 250 former Japanese soldiers who fought in Nanking during that period, and over 300 Nanking Massacre Chinese survivors. She has traveled between Japan and China more than 90 times during this period.
She has written numerous articles, produced several documentary films, and published several books, including the just published (March 2016) English book Torn Memories of Nanking. The awards she has won include:
- Japan Congress of Journalist Prize (2003)
- The Nanking Massacre Contribution Award (2004)
- Her documentary film Torn Memories of Nanjing was nominated for the Documentary Film Section at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2010.
Click on “Tamaki’s Bio” to access the file “Tamaki Matsuoka Bio-English.pdf.” For more information about Tamaki and her new English book Torn Memories of Nanking, see the article “Torn Memories of Nanking: A Must Read”: http://www.dontow.com/2016/06/torn-memories-of-nanking-a-must-read/.
In the last several months a recurring major news item is the dispute over the South China Sea and the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal (AT) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). If you read the reports from American mass media and the comments from American political leaders, the impression that you get is that China has violated international laws as specified under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and that China is bullying her smaller neighbors and is posing a military threat to the world.
Is that really consistent with the truth? This article provides the background information to understand this issue and to reach a decision. The decision shows that yes there is an abuse of power, but the country doing the abuse is not China, but the U.S. To read the article, click on the following link: http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/south-china-sea-dispute-abuse-of-world-power/
San Francisco formally adopted a resolution Tuesday calling for the city to build a memorial to commemorate the “comfort women” who were forced to provide sex at Japanese military brothels before and during World War II. To read the article, click on: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/09/23/national/politics-diplomacy/san-francisco-unanimously-adopts-measure-to-build-comfort-women-memorial/#.V-xssySdw_g
An appellant court ruling on Thursday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against the city of Glendale demanding the removal of a memorial statue in Glendale dedicated to as many as 200,000 women from Korea and other countries forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II. To read the article, click on: http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/news/tn-gnp-me-comfort-women-20160804-story.html
Twelve South Korean victims of wartime sexual slavery say they will take their government to court over its agreement with Japan last year intended to end the bitter historical dispute. To read article, click on: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/seoul-to-face-lawsuit-over-comfort-women-agreement/7799842
A breakthrough occurred on June 1, 2016 on the issue of compensation for former slave laborers who worked for Japanese corporations during WWII. About two and a half years ago, a Chinese court in Beijing accepted lawsuits filed by a larger number of former slave laborers or their descendants against Mitsubishi, one of the Japanese companies who were involved in the slave labor business during WWII. While these lawsuits are proceeding, Mitsubishi and some of the plaintiffs have been discussing possible out-of-court settlement. On June 1, 2016, it was announced that three plaintiffs have agreed to sign a settlement agreement with Mitsubishi. Since then, several more plaintiffs have also signed, and many others are considering it, while some others have decided to continue with the lawsuit. For more information on this issue, including the text of the Settlement Agreement, see: http://www.10000cfj.org/en/?page_id=5483.
This is a very complex issue involving many people, including former slave laborers, their descendants, their supporters and legal advisers. So there is bound to be a variety of positions toward this issue. We respect those who chose this June 1, 2016 settlement. We respect those who may seek another settlement, and we respect those who want to continue with the lawsuit. We are all working toward the ultimate goal of getting the Japanese government to acknowledge, apologize, and compensate the victims or their beneficiaries for the large scale and inhumane atrocities her military committed against the Chinese people during the Second Sino-Japanese War.