11/12/2014

Nominations sought for Flourish Program in Japan (Nov. 25-26)

The following information has been provided to us by Impact International.

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From the program brochure


FLOURISH TOKYO 2014

Flourish is a pioneering leadership journey for female leaders. It is a truly transformational 6-month experiential journey of self-discovery and personal action. Combining leadership development and business skills with well being, resilience and self mastery, we enable participants to flourish in all aspects of life leading to individual empowerment and sustainable change.

Aim

Flourish is more than a personal development program; it’s a ‘whole self program’. Flourish digs deep to help you to discover who you really are and will enable you to look at what makes you special, how you can utilise your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses. Flourish is about how you relate to and have an influence on others in all elements of your life.

Flourish goes beyond individual development, and seeks to address the organisations and cultures that we work within, in order to address issues of diversity in the workplace. Flourish will enable you to engage with your organisation and together develop commitments to change.

Flourish will allow you to:

  • Develop your leadership capacity and recognise the difference you can make
  • Unlock your ability to lead from the heart,
  • Create the spark to drive your business and inspire commitment.
  • Address the balance you must make between the pressures of work, family and leisure
  • Become a part of a new generation of leaders for a new world.
  • Know who you really are (and you are not be afraid of the answers)
  • Address self limiting beliefs and unlock your true potential
  • Develop a global network and support system
  • Help you to create organisational cultures that empower and encourage all women to bring their whole self to work as leaders


Who is Flourish For?

Flourish is for women who are leaders/manager of leaders/managers or individual contributors at the same level. We are looking for nominations from key influencers who through the program can create and embed sustainable culture change. For the open program we can only accept a maximum of two nominations per cohort from one organisation.

This is so we can create a diverse network or participants in our Flourish alumni.

Timeline for involvement

Program timeline

  • 31st October: booking form signed and sent back
  • 3rd November: Welcome and joining instructions sent via Flourish Platform
  • 3-21st November: Self Audit Task and 1:1 Coaching


Dates:

  •  Module 1: 25-26th November (Kodosan Temple, Yokohama)
  • Module 2: 14-15th January (Central Tokyo - EGG Japan)
  • Module 3: 5-6th March (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
  • Module 4: 30th April (Central Tokyo - tbc)

Program Fees

The cost is USD$10,000 per person and includes all modules, materials, access to the online resource and global contributors.

Flourish Overview


Flourish – Engaging Male Leadership

To create sustainable cultural and mindset change in the organisations of our Flourish participants we have created a complimentary programme and mentor resource for senior male leaders who agree to encourage and support their female colleagues. This programme is essential for the success of Flourish and for embedding behaviour change that will cascade throughout the organisation.

The journey of the male leaders will be a parallel journey with intersections along the way. This will ensure the male participants hear the stories of the female leaders and that together they work to create sustainable change within their organization. The Male Leaders will be invited to join Flourish for Modules two and three and will be offered personal development (Coaching and Empowering Women) before module three and also mentoring and coaching from our Male Executive Mentors. Male involvement in Flourish, although not mandatory, is recommended for sustainable culture
change.

Women in Leadership is not a ‘women’s issue’, it’s a diversity issue that requires a cultural shift within organisations and the systems they operate within. Flourish for men is a parallel programme for the men within your organisations who can help to influence this change. It provides them with an opportunity to better understand diversity issues and barriers, and to the work with you to create sustainable and meaningful change in the workplace.

As a part of the Self Audit we ask participants to identify the men in their organisation who you would like to join you on this journey. Their journey will start If they sign up at this stage and they will receive a 10% discount.

Male Development Fees

The cost is USD$3,000 per person and includes coaching development, materials, access to the online resource and global contributors.

Flourish Content

Module 1: Self Mastery
2 day Residential
Location: Kodosan Temple, Yokohama
The Self Mastery module allows participants to develop an increased awareness of what holds them back and of their unique leadership strengths. The module will introduce key concepts that will be cornerstones of the Flourish programme including:

  • Mindfulness
  • Wellbeing
  • ‘The Workplace’
  • Tribal leadership concepts
  • Self Disclosure & Feedback


Module 2: Leadership as Action
2-days
Location: Tokyo – EGG Japan
The Leadership as Action module allows participants to develop their perspectives on leadership along with their own leadership capacity. The module will incorporate previous concepts from Module 1 and will delve further into the idea of Leadership as Action. They will have an opportunity to investigate what leadership means to others, and to put their own leadership into practice to better understand how they show up as a leader. The module will help participants put the theory and concepts into real world & business context. During this module the participants will also engage with the Male Flourish Leaders who they’ve identified.

Module 3: Brave new Workplace
2-days
Location: Tokyo - Miraikan
Brave new workplace allows participants to consider how they will actually bring about change. To recognise their responsibility to do so, the limitations they may have put on themselves and what it takes to implement the change – in terms of courage and support.

Module 4: Storytelling
2-days
Location: Tokyo - Miraikan
The storytelling module will be a high-profile event where each of the Flourish participants will have an opportunity to share her experience and the change that she has started to create. This story may be shared with the Flourish men from her organisation and others who have been a support to her.

Nominations
To make a nomination or to find out more please contact:
Tiffany.newell@impactinternational.com - Flourish Creator and Facilitator
Yutaka@impact-japan.com - Impact Japan Country Manager
Impact Japan: +81 (0)3 5371 6678

11/04/2014

Event Information: "Empowering Women to Flourish and Shine"


Empowering Women to Flourish and Shine
Date and Time: 20th November 10.00-16.00
Hosted by: Ambassador Radinck J. van Vollenhoven of the Netherlands, at the residence at Shibakoen 3-6-3, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011
Lunch and refreshments: Included
Cost: ¥10,000 per person (this is to cover food and resources)
If you plan on attending, please contact:
Impact would like to invite you to join us at our second facilitated Flourish workshop where we will be creating powerful, implementable strategies that empower women in Japan to Flourish and Shine. We are committed to ensuring that the fantastic energy and momentum started by the World Assembly for Women (WAW! Tokyo) and Shine Weeks continues to grow and we would like to work with you to create sustainable solutions that will support women to become inspirational leaders of the future.

Contributors:
Sue Hunt - Former Director of Strategic Programs for the London Olympics and Paralympics and Global Ambassador for Flourish
Sue will share her experiences of being a female leader throughout the set up, delivery and running of the Games and also 20 years of leadership and change at Goldman Sachs, including 7 years as International Treasurer. Sue is an inspirational and motivating speaker, authentically speaking from the heart about her passion and experience. She is a true example of a female leader who has an enviable balance of both feminine and masculine leadership energies.

Denis Murphy - Motivational Key Speaker
Denis will lead a group experience focused on unlocking self-limiting beliefs by releasing fears. He will do this by helping us to realise that we are creating the world around us. His philosophy, that if we change, everyone around us changes will reinforce the Flourish message that we can all be Agents of Change. Using techniques that enable us to purposefully use our imaginations, Denis will help us to start behaving and feeling differently.

David Williams - Founder and CEO of Impact International
As CEO of an international, people development organisation that has an equal balance of male and female leadership at the top of the organisation, David is a fantastic example of a male leader who understands the need to empower and develop women. It is with David’s mentoring and support that Tiffany Newell, Head of Innovation for Impact, created the Global Flourish Initiative.

Ambassador Radinck-van Vollenhoven - Executive Mentor for Flourish
The Ambassador will welcome guests and give a short speech about why he has volunteered to be an Executive Male Mentor for Flourish and why he believes empowering women in Japan and across the world is important and necessary. The Ambassador will also provide closing comments at the end of the day.
Koshiro Kitazato - Executive Mentor for Flourish and International Trustee, Kiwanis International, Former Chairman, BT Japan
Kitazato-san will give a short speech about why he has volunteered to be an Executive Male Mentor for Flourish, why he thinks creating empowering cultures is important and some insights and ideas about what he believes Japan needs to do.

Impact Flourish Team: Tiffany Newell, Patricia Bader Johnston, Sarah Furuya, Charlotte Tiley, Zoe Cobb

Tiffany (Kelly) Newell
Head of Innovation
Impact International
Mob +44 (0)7795 592837

Interview with Chizuko Ueno on the Sex Slave (ianfu) Issue

A comment from the translator:

The following translation is based on an interview with WAN director and Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo Chizuko Ueno on her book Ianfu o meguru kioku no seijigaku (literal translation: The Political Science of Recollections Surrounding Comfort Women) published in Korea in July 2014.

Translation of the Japanese word ianfu into English has been an issue in itself. The word, mainly used in Japan, literally means “comfort women.” However, this expression has been criticized as being euphemistic by those who insist that “sex slaves” better portrays the tragedy of women being forced to have sex with men in the Japanese military during World War II.

In the following English translation, I will use the original Japanese word ianfu, and the English “sex slaves” where appropriate.

(The following translation is an excerpt from the Japanese article http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=8158. Because Ueno asserts that the original Korean language interview article had small inaccuracies, this Japanese article was edited to better reflect Ueno’s thoughts.)

***
Interviewer:

You stated in your book that the Japanese government has blundered repeatedly in dealing with this issue. When Prime Minister Abe recently denied Yohei Kono’s 1993 statement[i] acknowledging that women in Korea and other parts of the world were in fact forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers, resolution of the ianfu controversy seemed ever more distant. What do you think of this attitude of today’s Japanese government?

Ueno:

Just one word: frustrating.  To add to the mistakes of the past, (the Japanese government) made errors in dealing with those mistakes. And they have repeatedly erred in their handling of the ianfu issue. When things appear to move towards reconciliation, the true feelings of the conservative politicians surface, destroying the hard-earned progress.
Mainichi Shimbun recently ran an interview article on Yohei Kono (published July 13), in which the former chief cabinet secretary broke his silence.

“I don’t know why, but there are people who apparently do not want the Japan-Korea friendship to progress, and those people pushed through a motion demanding verification of my statement (from 1993).
“Reconciliation is hard to achieve and maintain, but it is quite easy to destroy. The painstaking efforts of the previous generation of Japanese and Korean politicians have gone up in smoke. I’ve gone past surprised — to disbelief.”

Asked how this situation could be improved, he offers the following view.

“In the end, it is the voters who have to change the politics. Never forget your frustrations and your distrust towards the present government. Keep sending the message that they are out of touch and that they will be in trouble come next election. A plunge in approval rating will give them a jolt. That just about sums it up.”

This is a former Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Liberal Democratic Party urging us to change the administration. Even within the LDP, there are members who fear that the Abe administration is out of control, not just on the ianfu issue but also on the creation of the state secrecy law, establishment of the National Security Council, and alterations of the weapons export rules and anti-war constitutional clause interpretation. Our sense of urgency just keeps getting stronger.

Interviewer:

Koreans are generally shocked by statements made by young politicians such as Toru Hashimoto claiming that the ianfu were not recruited against their will. We are increasingly concerned that even the younger politicians of Japan have been unable to adopt a forward-looking attitude. How do you view this situation?

Ueno:

There are many conservative thinkers in Hashimoto’s generation. They are trying to protect what remaining pride they have based on their arrogant delusion of a powerful Japan. And their Achilles’ heel is the ianfu issue. Even among the young people of Japan, there has been a regeneration of this kind of (far right-wing) thinking.

It is said that those who do not learn history will suffer its retaliation. By not taking up modern history, it appears the history education in post-war Japan has perfectly served the purpose of the education ministry. But history education is always a battlefield. Debates continue in various parts of Japan over which history textbooks to use.  So far, use of The New History Textbook (Atarashii rekishi kyoukasho)[ii] has been limited to only a few municipalities, and residents have been pushing back on this (far right-wing) movement. I think Korea, China, and Japan need to cooperate on history education.

Interviewer:

Even today, the ianfu issue of the Japanese army is voiced all too much as an issue of ethnicity in Korea. And there appears to be little change in the approach of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. Do you have a message for the people of Korea?

Ueno:

Ethnicity has most certainly been a powerful ground for argument in instituting national movements around the issue of the ianfu. But we must take a long, hard look at both the good and bad of adopting that position. Neither a nation nor an ethnic group should stake a claim to the victims of sex slavery. Restoring the dignity of the victims is not the same as restoring the dignity of the Korean people. It is my hope that the people of Korea return to basics and revisit the question of what is really beneficial to the victimized women.
Interviewer:

What would you like the Korean people to take away from your book?

Ueno:

The Japanese government used the victims of the North Korean abduction to promote Japanese nationalism. The ianfu issue is also used as a ground for Korean nationalism by the Korean government. Nationalism is a way of thinking that sets “us” against “them”. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that you don’t have to be a nationalist to empathize with the victims and fulfill your responsibility.

Adapted and translated by Naoko Hirose.





[i] According to Wikipedia, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono “acknowledged that the Japanese Imperial Army had been involved, either directly or indirectly, in the establishment of comfort facilities. On top of that, the comfort women were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc., at times, administrative or military personnel directly taking part in the recruitments and lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kono_Statement, October 16, 2014)

[ii] According to Wikipedia, the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (新しい歴史教科書をつくる会 Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho o Tsukuru Kai) is a group founded in December 1996[1] to promote a nationalistic view of Japanese history. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Society_for_History_Textbook_Reform, October 24, 2014)

10/31/2014

Sent a Letter of Protest against the Absurd Ad that Encourages Sexual Harassment!

Written by Kazue Muta

A disgusting ad encouraging sexual harassment was printed on page 5 of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper (page 10 of the Osaka Head Office version) issued on September 23, 2014..
It is a fully-colored ad of the first issue of MADURO, a magazine for men in middle to senior age, which features a Sean Connelly look-alike male model. The ad is a tie-up with the sound equipment manufacturer, Bose, featuring their headphones as the copy reads how comfortable it is to wear them on the plane. The line goes as the following:

“Once you get settled on the plane, try teasing a cabin attendant. When she talks to you, pretend you can’t hear her (actually you do hear her) and lean toward her as if you were asking what she just said. There is no other chance for you to get close in a 12-cm distance to a himena (Note: term coined by the writer to denote a lady) whom you’ve never met in such an open manner. Now, all you have to do is demonstrate your hard-earned skills.” (the bold text is as it is in the original)
       
                         The entire ad



This is already disgusting enough, but what’s more annoying is that a message from the overall ad can be read that in a way that such a behavior is called “naughtiness” that all fashionable middle-aged and senior men are supposed to practice. This is nothing more than instructing and encouraging the readers to sexually harass cabin attendants, which is quite a problem.

Even here in Japan, sexual harassment has been recognized over a quarter-century as a serious social problem that violates womens human and labor rights. The sexual harassment case at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly was found in June and the aftermath yet continues. This shows that sexual harassment still is a deeply-rooted and hard-to-solve problem. Considering these circumstances, I do not understand why anyone would ever print such an anti-social ad that encourages sexual harassment on such a major newspaper. This ad is planned and produced by the Advertising Bureau of the Asahi Shimbun Company. The Company is seriously liable as it not only allows an ad that encourages sexual harassment to be printed but also proactively produces these ads. MADURO magazine and Bose, the sponsors, are both equally liable as well.

As an activist and researcher on sexual harassment and violence, I was just unable to overlook that a newspaper, part of mass media, encourages sexual harassment by placing an ad like this.  On the 24th, a day after the ad was printed, I sent a document to the Advertising Bureau of the Asahi Shimbun Company, MADURO magazine (yanG Co., Ltd.) and Bose K.K., protesting against the ad and questioning why they placed such an ad that encourages sexual harassment. This is the letter sent to the Advertising Bureau of the Asahi Shimbun Company: 201409朝日広告局御中(抗議と質問)wanアップ用 (personal information has been deleted). The documents sent to the other two companies have the same main message:


I found this newspaper ad on the 23rd and sent a message via Twitter around noon (my Twitter account: peureka). Since 3,000 users re-tweeted my tweet by the 24th, I learned that a certain number of people felt as unpleasant and critical about this ad as I did. Among these people were middle-aged and senior men who are supposed to be the target audience of the ad. This ad accepts abuse of womens human rights by encouraging sexual harassment, and at the same time, assumes that middle-aged and senior men want to practice such sexual harassment. Isnt this quite offensive to all middle-aged and senior men?
I am not sure how much impact one citizens protest can make, but strongly hope that many people can learn about the problem through these various means, which could be the first step toward the society that does not allow sexual harassment. I would appreciate your cooperation in spreading and paying attention to this matter.

The Asahi Shimbun Company is currently facing almost excessive criticism due to their false reporting. Having sent another criticism to them at this timing was not quite easy for me as I do appreciate the Companys continued proactive reports on womens rights and human rights for women including the comfort women issue. This is why I protested against this ad that could weaken the foundation of their reporting attitude, wishing for their thorough review of this problem and improvement so that this will never happen again.
Let me use this opportunity to introduce my book in which I wrote that how insensitivity of middle-aged and senior men can be linked to sexual harassment:

Book title: Manager, The Relationship Is Sexual Harassment!
Author/ Translator: Kazue Muta
Publisher: Shueisha
Price: 799 yen

Original Article on the WAN website (September 25, 2014): http://wan.or.jp/group/?p=3316
Translated by Kumiko Moriya

10/06/2014

A Social Mechanism that Binds a Definition: The Reappropriation of “Housework Harassment” in Japan.


by Mieko Takenobu

Recently an advertisement by Asahi Kasei Homes Corporation’s has come under fire in the media and on the internet. This advertisement dealt with the concept of “housework harassment”. The term, “housework harassment” was coined in my book, “Housework Labor Harassment – the core of making it hard to live,” published last year. In the book I defined housework labor harassment as harassment by social systems which insult, disrespect and exclude housework. The book also outlined the hardships suffered by women in poverty and hardships they endure for their on-going survival working in the home. The Asahi Kasei advertisement however, transformed the meaning of the term “housework harassment” into “hardships of men who do housework”. I would like to point out “the social mechanism” in which power holders bind a definition of terms and nullifies the terms defined by the others like women and minorities.

Turnaround of the definition
Housework is an important labor that supports lives of people. Daily activities such as child care, nursing care, and feeding children and the elderly, are important tasks that can be linked with housework. In Japan, such housework labor is done by “invisible” women and housewives whose work often goes unnoticed in society, and thus tend to receive weak political attention.
 ….
Under such a social system, women are having difficulties faced with long working hours and the lack of accessible child-care services. Nearly 60% of women quit their full time jobs after childbirth. Upon returning to the labor force, women generally work in part-time and/or irregular employment so that they can keep earning an income while raising children. Under this system, men are the main breadwinners and often women cannot be economically independent with their low salaries since they often work only for their pocket money in between their housework. Nearly 60% of women work in irregular employment, and have become a leading reason behind the increased incidence of poverty in Japan. Men, on the other hand, are expected to support women economically and have to endure long working hours, which sometimes even results in death by work (Karoshi). I published my book intending to raise awareness among people of the role and value of housework and inventing the term “housework harassment” to review issues surrounding working styles for both women and men.

Asahi Kasei Homes’ mis-adaptation of the term “housework harassment” devalues the original meaning and reinterpreted it meaning to be more about family squabbles over housework between wife and husband. In addition, the ad stated that wives’ attitude complaining about quality of housework done by their husbands is harassment. Such an ad may destroy the real meaning of housework harassment. Asahi Kasei Homes spread such distorted meaning of housework harassment among media through press releases. Furthermore, the ad was put out on several commuter trains in Tokyo. The distorted definition of “housework harassment” as harassment against men doing shoddy housework was reinforced through TV programs which took up and commented on the Asahi Kasei Homes’ ad.      

A wave of criticism from women
Soon after the ad was released, women took action against it. The very next day, a woman criticized a decrease in her husband’s motivation to do housework by hearing wives criticism in relation to this ad on FB, stating “How can you even think of deserving complements for your housework like a child?” She also mentioned about misinterpretation of the definition stating, “There would be a misunderstanding of the concept of housework harassment with the one in Mieko Takenobu’s ‘Housework Labor Harassment.’ One of my friends who read this comment called me showing her concern over the misinterpretation. Readers of the book also showed their concerns one after another. After careful consideration, mainly because of concerns that their usage of “housework harassment” caused women to hate the words and the intension of my book will be ruined before reaching out to those who need help, I decided to lodge a complaint directly with Asahi Kasei Homes asking them to stop misusing the term, housework harassment.

Asahi Kasei Homes quickly responded to my complaint. In response to the complaint, the company voluntarily removed the ad from the train and posted the definition of “housework harassment” from my book on their homepage. It also submitted an apology letter for its inappropriate usage of the words “housework harassment.”

A Social Mechanism that Binds the Definition Made by Women
I reacted responsively to this misuse of the definition of “housework harassment” because I have observed similar situations surrounding word changes in the past.

Seku-hara (sexual harassment): In 1980s, the wording “sexual harassment” appeared in Japan. It meant a serious infringement of human rights which results in excluding one gender from a workplace. However, it was abbreviated to the shorter wording “Seku-hara,” which turned the original meaning into somewhat less serious behavior as “mischiefs such as touching the bottoms of women” or “office romance” through the ways it was featured in male weekly magazines.

Work-Sharing: “Work Sharing” appeared in 1990s when the unemployment rate increased in the end of 1990s. It was originally meant to prevent unemployment by sharing work in Europe; however, the Japan Federation of Employers’ Association changed its definition into “preventing unemployment by lowering wages,” which in effect made it easier to lowering the wages of workers.       

Soushoku-Danshi (herbivore men): In 2006, “Soushoku-Danshi” (“herbivore men” which means opposite to macho men) was invented by columnist Maki Fukagawa. It showed a new male figure with whom women are able to socialize equally and frankly. However, the meaning has been transformed through magazines into “a men who cannot go out with women.”

What is common among these examples is the way that power holders changed the definition of new terms which do not suit them and are then new meanings are attached and distributed through media, watering down innovative elements that the original definition used to have. 
 

Distorting the original meaning of the particular terms and spreading it with its power nullifies the new images of the society that the original meaning wanted to realize and destroys the movement of restructuring the society.

I wanted to express a serious side effect of the turnaround of the original definition      in the complaint to Asahi Kasei Homes.

Women’s Pushback
It was a strong pushback from women (and men) who have been fed up with “the housework harassment society” and the power of the internet that eventually caused Asahi Kasei to pull their advertisements.

One of my friends who witnessed the misuse of the words on Facebook called me and told me her frustration, “Is this situation same as the one with ‘Seku-hara’?” It suddenly reminded me of the turnaround of the definitions of “Work Sharing” and “Soushoku Danshi (herbivore men)” I thought that all our frustration with these words whose definitions have been forcefully transformed would be meaningless if I remained silent.

I lodged my complaints with Asahi Kasei for three reasons I felt troublesome and five demands to improve these points. When I called the company for a meeting, the appointment was quickly set up as, according to Asahi Kasei, they were about to get in touch with me due to the reaction they got from female reporters who were following the discussion on Facebook.

Soon after I lodged the complaints with the company, I also made it public by posting it to Facebook. I thought it was necessary to disseminate it to the public many times in order to correct the misusage of “housework harassment” through mass advertisement.  
Many people shared my comments as well as posted it on their twitter and individual blogs. Many also mailed their complaints directly to Asahi Kasei Homes. Analytical articles on the ad of “housework harassment” were put on the web one after another by female cyber journalists. I believe these voices as a whole made the company reacted quickly to my complaint.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Council’s sexual comments generated a large swell of criticism spread through twitters. The wave of the criticism against Asahi Kasei’s distorted usage of “housework harassment” may have been small compared with the swell of the Council’s sexual comments, but it was a valuable experience for us since we succeeded in pushing back the powerful mass media through the use of the internet and social media as an effective tool.

I hope that this success can be used by others in their struggles against the social mechanism in which powerful forces misuse and transform terms and meanings for their own benefit and simultaneously devalue the original meanings of words and concepts of those less powerful than them.

Original Article (August 2, 2014): http://wan.or.jp/reading/?p=14247
Translated and Adapted by Fumie Saito

10/05/2014

In the Muddy Waters of Historical Revisionism: Isolated from International Society (Part 3)

by Kazuko Itō, Lawyer and Human Right Activist
Excerpt from her Blog

(Part 1)
(Part 2)

Unusual Criticism by UN Human Rights Top Official

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who is retiring the position in September 2014, made a public statement to criticize the Japanese government’s response to the issue of wartime sexual slavery on August 6th. It is unusual for a UN top official to criticize Japan so harshly. It made me feel the seriousness of the situation and the severity of international criticism.

She had never stopped sincere talks with Japan and had been negotiating with the government persistently. Obviously, she felt the attitude of the Japanese government for this time was inexcusable. Here is the whole statement.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48424#.VAbX1_k0HNm

I don't repeat her statement but what she points out is true. The Japanese government should respect her statement sincerely not because she is a UN human rights top official but because she is an expert on this issue.

Ms. Pillay was formerly a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and sat in judgment on serious human rights infringements committed during the Rwandan Civil War. She earned a reputation for a groundbreaking judicial decision that sexual assaults on women that were prevalent in Rwanda as a means of "ethnic cleansing" could correspond to the crime of genocide (The Case of Akayesu).

This decision contributed to the development of an international law; the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court which, for the first time, stipulated that rape constitutes genocide or a crime against humanity. She is remembered as a lawyer who had the greatest influence on forming an international law that states wartime violence is an inexcusable crime. After that she served as a judge on the International Criminal Court.

Because of her rich experiences in an international law, she is respected everywhere and represents how far international law reached. It seems that she was not able to overlook Japan's attitude since she strongly believed that violence against women in conflict should be treated as an issue of human rights.

International common sense is based on an idea similar to the one held by Ms. Pillay. Therefore, Japan will never be able to go unpunished regardless of the sophistry they employ.

Suppose South Korea brings this issue to the International Court of Justice or it asks for advisory opinions from the court. While the judgment of such a civil claim is uncertain, those who have studied international laws even just a little are certain that Japan's responsibility should be clarified, judging from how far the international jurisprudence has reached.

Most Importantly, Lack of Decency is a Problem

If Japan continues to neglect the issue, whether Japan is a civilized state respecting basic human rights will become suspicious. It affects how other countries evaluate Japan even if they don’t show their true feeling obviously. Henceforth, Japan will be isolated from international society.

It is highly regretful.

If you value your country's honor, you should not hide or distort facts. In such a political climate, Japan will have only disrespectable people who have no true self-respect and lack overall sensitivity to human rights in the next generation.

Besides their international reputation, I wonder how they can neglect the issue as decent human beings. Aren’t they ashamed of themselves?

Each one of us needs to think whether it is all right to deny the responsibility by making the above excuses.

If this remains unresolved, it will affect future cases. Whenever an infringement of women’s human rights is committed, the truth of the case will never be investigated.

Not investigating the truth of a case and covering the facts is a long-lived tradition that has survived in issues such as sexually offensive heckling in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. These issues have the same root. This is also the problem of current Japanese women.

My major concern is that as the result of hiding and distorting the facts and shelving offenders' responsibility, Japan might become such a disgraceful state that it goes to war again.

A state might make the same mistake by convincing its people to think a war is unavoidable, by paralyzing their imagination of agony from damage and sacrifice people in other nations faced during war or their decent sensitivity to human rights.

Each individual has to think by themselves whether this is right or not and has to take action accordingly.

If you don't know much about this issue or the Japan's responsibility as a perpetrator, read various books and study so that you can understand the facts.

Read the following documents, too.

Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Japan - announced by UN Human Rights Committee in July 2014
http://hrn.or.jp/activity/Concluding%20Observations.pdf

Why Does Japan Re-Examine the Kono Statement Secretly? (Japanese)
http://bylines.news.yahoo.co.jp/itokazuko/20140302-00033165/

Hashimoto, Osaka Mayor, Says, "Comfort Women Were Necessary." Why Is It a Problem? (Japanese)
http://bylines.news.yahoo.co.jp/itokazuko/20130519-00025040/

Original Article: http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=8093&page=3
Translated by Atsuko Ishikawa

9/30/2014

In the Muddy Waters of Historical Revisionism: Isolated from International Society (Part 2)

by Kazuko Itō, Lawyer and Human Right Activist
Excerpt from her Blog

(Part 1)

Most women who were forced to be taken as sex slaves were minors. If Japanese politicians really believe that under-age girls, who were living their lives threatened by knives and guns during Japan’s military occupation, were all voluntarily and arbitrarily drafted, then they lack common sense and overall sensitivity to human rights.

Worse than that, they seek to downplay Japan’s action by declaring that other states too used to have a sex slavery system, which is equivalent to a molester refusing to take responsibility for his actions simply because he knows others that did it too.

With such an attitude, Japan will not be able to recover its honor.

They should study the basics of human rights.

It seems that the Japanese government condones the arguments of some Japanese politicians despite the harms this causes to victims. One of the roles of any government is to rebut such shameful beliefs maintained by some politicians and educate people in order to prevent it from happening again, but the Japanese government is neglecting its duties by not making any comment.

The Big Gap between International Common Sense and Excuses That Japan Makes Only Exposes Japan's Shame Further

International conflict over the issue of sex slavery is not merely a bilateral political problem between South Korea and Japan, but it’s also an issue of Japan's international responsibility as a perpetrator for its damaging actions against women from other Asian countries as well as the Netherlands.

More importantly, international society has been paying attention to how serious infringements on women’s human rights should be compensated and it is focusing on how Japan will deal with the issue as a state that has inflicted damage.

When a state is aware of a serious infringement of human rights, it should investigate what happened, reveal the facts, name people who are responsible, punish them, and compensate the victims. And as a state, it should identify measures so that it never happens again. This is an established and stable approach in order to guard against the infringement of human rights, and is unanimously supported by the international community.

A state involved in the infringement of human rights is bound to such obligations. This principle has been agreed upon in international society for a long time.

Particularly, the serious infringement of human rights like sexual abuse under international conflict is recognized as one of the most shameful human rights infringements. Overcoming it is recognized as one of the most important issues.

Leaving such conducts unpunished concerns the entire international community.

It is disappointing that the Japanese government remains absolutely irrelevant and ignorant about how far international society has reached in terms of human rights protection and it does not understand the seriousness of the matter.

Japan reduces the matter to a question of whether there was forceful capture or not, and it argues that without forceful capture there is no infringement of human rights and it therefore has no responsibility to pay damages if there isn't any evidence. Such an argument won’t work at all.

Japan's excuses and its denial of the facts is so disgraceful internationally that it only dishonors Japan terribly.

As for the history of the Nazi Holocaust, Germany admitted its responsibility for damage and expressed its apology, after much deliberation. However, at least they did not deny nor diminish their responsibility in this matter. Germany overcame the grave crimes, remembers it, and teaches its people thoroughly, and has continued sincere efforts to prevent the recurrence of this horrific event.

These policies give Germany moral authority and respect from the international community even though it was involved in these serious infringements of human rights.

Japan, as a state that experienced the damage from nuclear bombs, has also put into practice the renunciation of war for a long time, dealing with its responsibility as a war offender no matter how inconclusive it may have been.

However, while denying the facts these days, Japan is losing its moral authority.

Original Article: http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=8093&page=2
Translated by Atsuko Ishikawa