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Shiro Takahashi

【#281】Japan Must Enhance Public Relations to Win Information War

Shiro Takahashi / 2015.01.15 (Thu)

January 12, 2014

     When I visited the United States for a survey on the comfort woman issue late last year, I inspected comfort woman monuments and statues at eight locations around the country and interviewed three senior high school students and their mothers on history textbooks and classes. I met with the Japanese consul-general in New York to report details of the survey and discuss the measures to be taken.

A fake photo on U.S. textbook
     A photo titled "Beheading" in Harold John Timperley's "A Foreigner's Eyewitness Account of the Atrocities Committed by the Japanese" is used as a photo explained as showing Japanese soldiers executing Chinese prisoners of war in McGraw Hill Education's world history textbook that also describes comfort women as a gift from the emperor. "Nankin Jiken Shoko Shashin wo Kensho Suru (Verifying ‘Evidence Photos’ of Nanjin Incident)" by Shudo Higashinakano, Susumu Kobayashi and Shinjiro Fukunaga (Soshisha Publishing Co.) has concluded the photo as not depicting Japanese forces' execution in Nanjin.
     The use of such a fake photo for a school textbook is a grave problem. The Japanese government must ask the publisher to correct the photo as well as the description of comfort women.
     A comfort women exhibition at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights takes up a picture showing Yoshifumi Tawara, a representative of an anti-censorship group, insisting that descriptions on the comfort women system in Japanese history textbooks were insufficient. It also picks up writer Kako Senda who created and spread the word "embedded comfort women" even though there were no “embedded” comfort women in the Japanese army. The exhibition criticizes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government, as well as an opinion ad by Japanese opinion leaders including Japan Institute for National Fundamentals President Yoshiko Sakurai on The Washington Post. It also provides a video footage showing a presentation that uses an erroneous Asahi Shimbun newspaper report on January 11, 1992.

Chinese involvement in anti-Japan campaign
     Chinese organizations are deeply involved in the comfort women exhibition. They also have invited American and Canadian teachers for study tours in China. A separate print of The Washington Post on August 27 last year carried an article with a large photo of a former comfort woman, with a headline calling on Japan to apologize for brutality. In fact, the Communist Party of China pays millions of dollars annually to The Washington Post to finance the separate print.
     In an introduction of a report to Congress in April 2007, a U.S. inter-agency working group apologized to the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW II in Asia, anti-Japan Chinese organization that requested the survey report, for failing to find documents about Japan's war crimes.
     In 1940, then Japanese Consul-General in New York Kaname Wakasugi in his report on anti-Japan activities in the United States urged then Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka not to join any attempt to separate Japan from the United States. Nevertheless, the two countries went into war.
     Japan's defeat in information war is still going on. In the year 2015 marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the information war on history enters a crucial stage. Japan's public and private sectors should be united to immediately build a new international public relations organization with a determination to counter Chinese and South Korean attempts to separate Japan from the United States.

Shiro Takahashi is Director, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and Professor at Meisei University