The noindex robots meta tag, content="noindex, nofollow, no archive" was used in the web site for search functions not to detect the Asahi Shimbun apology article.
The language code ' content="ja_JP" ' means "for the Japanese readers in Japan"
It should be content="en", "for the English readers" if Asahi Shimbun cordially want to express its honest apology for the English readers.
Following two are the Articles which Asahi Shimbun did NOT want the readers, especially English ones, to search.
Testimony about 'forcible taking away of women on Jeju Island': Judged to be fabrication because supporting evidence not found
Question: There was a man who testified in books and meetings that he had used violence to forcibly take away women on the Korean Peninsula, which was Japan's colony, to make them serve as comfort women during the war. The Asahi Shimbun ran articles about the man from the 1980s until the early 1990s. However, some people have pointed out that his testimony was a fabrication.
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The man's name was Seiji Yoshida. In his books and on other occasions, he said that he headed the mobilization section at the Shimonoseki branch of the Yamaguchi Prefectural Romu Hokokukai labor organization that was in control of day laborers.
The Asahi Shimbun has run, as far as it can confirm, at least 16 articles about Yoshida. The first appeared in the Sept. 2, 1982, morning edition in the city news page published by the Osaka head office. The article was about a speech that he gave in Osaka in which he said, "I 'hunted up' 200 young Korean women on Jeju Island."
The reporter, 66, who wrote the article, was in the City News Section at the Osaka head office at that time.
The reporter said, "I had absolutely no doubts about the contents of his talk because it was very specific and detailed."
In the early 1990s, other newspapers also ran articles about what Yoshida said at meetings and on other occasions.
In the April 30, 1992, morning edition of the Sankei Shimbun, an article raised doubts about Yoshida's testimony based on the results of an investigation conducted by Ikuhiko Hata on Jeju. Weekly magazines also began publishing articles pointing to "Suspicion of 'fabrication.'"
A reporter, 53, in the City News Section at the Tokyo head office was instructed by his editor to meet with Yoshida immediately after the Sankei article ran. The reporter asked Yoshida to introduce relevant individuals and submit data to corroborate his testimony, but the reporter said Yoshida rejected the request.
During news gathering to prepare for the March 31, 1997, special coverage, Yoshida refused to meet with a reporter, 57, in the City News Section at the Tokyo head office. When the reporter asked over the phone about reports that suspected the testimony was a fabrication, Yoshida responded, "I wrote about my experiences as they were."
Although news gathering was also conducted on Jeju and no corroborating evidence could be obtained, the special coverage said "no confirmation has been made about the authenticity" because there was no conclusive proof that Yoshida's testimony was false. The Asahi has not written about Yoshida since.
However, in November 2012, Shinzo Abe, who was then president of the Liberal Democratic Party, said at a debate among party leaders hosted by the Japan National Press Club, "The problem has become much bigger because false reporting by The Asahi Shimbun has led to the spreading of a book throughout Japan, which has been taken as fact, even though it was created by a man named Seiji Yoshida who is like a con man."
Some newspapers and magazines have repeated criticism of The Asahi Shimbun.
In April and May 2014, The Asahi Shimbun interviewed a total of about 40 people in their late 70s to 90s living on Jeju. However, no evidence was obtained that supported the writings by Yoshida about forcible taking away.
In a town on the northwestern part of the island where Yoshida claimed to have taken away several dozens of women working at a plant making dried fish, there was only one factory in the village that handled fish. The son of the local man who was involved in factory management, now deceased, said, "Only canned products were made there. I never heard from my father about women workers being taken away."
Yoshida wrote that the factory roof was "thatched." Video images that captured conditions at that time were obtained by Norifumi Kawahara, a professor of historical geography at Ritsumeikan University who has conducted research on the fishing industry in South Korea at that time. The images showed the roof to be made of tin and tile.
In June 1993, Kang Jeong-suk, a former researcher at the Korean Research Institute for Chongshindae, conducted research on Jeju based on the writings of Yoshida. "I heard from several elderly people at each of the locations I visited, but I did not come across any testimony that matched the writings," Kang said.
Yoshida wrote in his book he went to Jeju in May 1943 based on a mobilization order from the Western District Army. He also wrote that the contents of the order were left in the diary of his wife (now deceased). However, Yoshida's oldest son, 64, was interviewed for this special coverage, and it was learned that the wife never kept a diary. The son said Yoshida died in July 2000.
When Yoshida met in May 1993 with Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a Chuo University professor, and others, Yoshida explained that "there were occasions when I changed the dates and locations (where he forcibly took the women)." Moreover, Yoshida refused to present the diary in which the contents of the mobilization order were contained. That led Yoshimi to point out, "I had no choice but to confirm that we could not use his testimony." (Note 1)
Masaru Tonomura, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo who is knowledgeable about mobilization matters on the Korean Peninsula during the war, said the Romu Hokokukai that Yoshida claimed he worked for was created through instructions given by the Health and Welfare Ministry as well as the Home Ministry.
"Given the chain of command, it is inconceivable for the military to issue the mobilization order, and for employees to go directly to the Korean Peninsula," Tonomura said.
Yoshida also explained that in May 1943, when he claimed to have forcibly taken away the women, the "Army unit headquarters" "maintained military rule" on Jeju. Regarding that point, Kazu Nagai, a professor of modern and contemporary Japanese history at Kyoto University, pointed out that documents of the former Army showed that a large Army force only gathered on Jeju after April 1945.
"The contents of his writing cannot be considered to be true," Nagai said.
Note 1: Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Fumiko Kawata, compilers, " 'Jugun Ianfu' wo Meguru 30 no Uso to Shinjutsu" (30 lies and truths surrounding 'military comfort women') (Otsuki Shoten 1997)
To our readers
We have made the judgment that the testimony that Yoshida forcibly took away comfort women on Jeju was a fabrication. We retract our articles on him. We were unable to uncover the falseness of his testimony at the time the articles were published. Although additional research was conducted on Jeju, we were unable to obtain any information that corroborated his testimony. Interviews with researchers have also turned up a number of contradictions regarding the core elements of his testimony.
Confusion with 'volunteer corps': Insufficient research at that time led to comfort women and volunteer corps seen as the same
Question: Some articles that appeared in The Asahi Shimbun in the early 1990s regarding comfort women from the Korean Peninsula said the women were mobilized under the name of "women volunteer corps." Although it is now clear that comfort women and women volunteer corps were different, why did such an error occur?
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"Women volunteer corps" refer to the "women volunteer labor corps" that were organized to mobilize women as a work force during the war in Japan proper as well as in the former colonies on the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan. With the August 1944 "women volunteer labor order," the corps became a system based on the National Mobilization Law.
Even before then, such corps were organized at schools and in local communities. On the Korean Peninsula, as many as 4,000 students at elementary schools and girls' high schools are said to have been mobilized to work at munitions factories in Japan proper until the end of the war. (Note 1) With the objective of using the women as a work force, the corps were different from comfort women who were made to serve as sexual partners for military personnel.
However, in 1991, when attention was focused on the comfort women issue, the Asahi confused the two. In the Dec. 10, 1991, morning edition, an article about comfort women from the Korean Peninsula said "they were mobilized to the front lines of combat under such names as 'women volunteer corps' from immediately before the start of World War II and were forced into prostitution at comfort stations serving Japanese military personnel."
In the Jan. 11, 1992, morning edition, an article said "with the start of the Pacific War, mainly Korean women were forcibly taken away under the name of volunteer corps. The numbers are said to be between 80,000 and 200,000."
The reason for the confusion was insufficient research. There were very few specialists researching comfort women, so there was insufficient digging up of history. While the Asahi did publish articles about former Japanese volunteer corps members who worked at factories in Japan, research on the volunteer corps on the Korean Peninsula was not at an advanced stage.
A reference material used by Asahi reporters was titled "Chosen wo Shiru Jiten" (Encyclopedia to learn about Korea) (first edition published by Heibonsha Ltd. in 1986). Regarding comfort women, the volume explained "from 1943, about 200,000 Korean women were mobilized as workers under the name of 'women volunteer corps,' and of that number between 50,000 and 70,000 young single women were made into comfort women."
The author of that entry was Setsuko Miyata, a researcher of modern Korean history. Looking back, she said, "Because I could not locate a researcher of comfort women, I could only quote from existing works."
Miyata quoted from a work by Kako Senda titled "Jugun Ianfu" (Military comfort women). That book has a passage that says "the women were gathered under the name of 'volunteer corps' … . Of the total of 200,000 gathered (estimates in South Korea), it is said 'between 50,000 and 70,000' were made into comfort women."
The term "volunteer corps" was used in the sense of "comfort women" in newspaper coverage in Korea in 1946. In explanatory documents related to the July 1944 Cabinet decision to amend the government organization of the Government General of Korea, a passage mentions the spread of "groundless rumors" that unwed women were being requisitioned to serve as comfort women.
While no example has been confirmed of volunteer corps members being made systematically into comfort women, there is the view that a distrust of Japanese colonial authority resulted in an equating of the two, fanning fear from during the war. (Note 2)
Some say one factor behind the confusion is the fact that one group supporting former comfort women has included the word for volunteer corps in its Korean name. (The group's English name is the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.)
In January 1992, shortly before Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa visited South Korea, a South Korean news agency released an article about the discovery of a school roster that showed a 12-year-old Korean girl who went to an elementary school was mobilized to join the volunteer corps. That led to the misunderstanding that "Japan had made even elementary school students into comfort women" and worsened anti-Japanese sentiment.
Since 1993, The Asahi Shimbun has made efforts to avoid confusing the two. The chief of the Seoul bureau, 72, of that time said, "That's partly because interviews by citizens groups uncovered a situation in which women who worked at munitions factories in Japan as members of the volunteer corps suffered because they were mistakenly viewed as 'having been taken advantage of for sexual comfort of the Japanese military.'"
Note 1: Soji Takasaki "'Hanto Joshi Kinro Teishintai' ni tsuite" (A Study on the "Korean Girls Volunteer Corps") on Digital Museum "The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund"
Note 2: Takeshi Fujinaga "Senjiki Chosen ni okeru 'Ianfu' Doin no 'Ryugen' 'Zogen' wo megutte" (Related to 'rumors' and 'made-up words' about mobilizing 'comfort women' in wartime Korea) in the volume compiled by Toshihiko Matsuda, etc. titled "Chiiki Shakai kara Miru Teikoku Nihon to Shokuminchi Chosen/Taiwan/Manshu" (Imperial Japan and the colonies Korea, Taiwan and Manchuria as viewed from local society) (Shibunkaku Co. 2013)
To our readers
Women volunteer corps refer to the "women volunteer labor corps" that were mobilized to work at munitions factories and at other locations during the war. They are completely different from comfort women. The term was used mistakenly because research on the comfort women issue was not at an advanced stage at that time and because there was confusion between comfort women and volunteer corps members even in reference materials used by reporters.
The articles in this blog are quoted from the Asahi Shimbun above mentioned web site for purpose of criticism. "Section 30(1) of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (apparently in transposition of Article 5(3)(d) of the EU Copyright Directive on "quotations") allows "fair dealing" with a copyright work for the purpose of criticism or review, provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement. (from wikipedia on 'Quotation')"
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