A third-party committee has pointed out that some of the articles in this paper reporting on the comfort women issue are inaccurate and misleading to readers. In addition to the corrections and rescission of the article to date, we will make the necessary corrections based on the results of our own review. We would like to apologize to our readers and explain the reasons. We will continue to examine and improve the way we present the corrections in an easy-to-understand manner.
【Asame-shinkai-digital Author’s Comments】
Since there are many nuances between the apology and correction in Japanese posted on the Asahi Shimbun website and the English PDF version available on the same website, there is a high possibility that correct information is not being transmitted to people overseas.
The article on comfort women published by the Asahi Shimbun in 1992 clearly contained many incorrect descriptions, and this article full of errors spread misunderstandings among overseas public opinion.
The biggest mistake in the Asahi Shimbun article is that the first testimony of one of the Korean comfort women, who was taken to the battlefield under the name of the Women’s Volunteer Corps and forced to engage in prostitution with Japanese soldiers, was ”false”. The Asahi Shimbun admitted in 2014 that it had made mistakes in reporting on the comfort women, including this article, and rescinded the article. The following is its apology.The reporter who wrote the article (Takashi Uemura) also filed a lawsuit for damages, including defamation, against other media and university professors who pointed out that he had fabricated the article, but he lost the case as it was found that Uemura had indeed fabricated the article.
Here is another media article that reported on the incident
Here is another media article that reported on the incident
Correcting a Memo on the Term “Comfort Women”: Regarding an Article on “Materials Showing Military Involvement
In the 1930s, when there were many cases of rape by Japanese soldiers in China, comfort stations were established to suppress anti-Japanese sentiment and to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. According to the testimonies of ex-servicemen and military doctors, it is said that about 80% of the women were Korean from the time of establishment. When the Pacific War began, Korean women were forcibly taken in under the name of “volunteer corps. The number is said to be as high as 80,000 and as low as 200,000” (Morning edition, January 11, 1992, page 1). (Front page)
This is a memo explaining the terminology that was published along with an article with the headline, “Comfort station documents show military involvement,” before then Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa visited Korea for the Japan-Korea summit.
The reality of comfort women is still unclear in many respects. The memo contains errors and inaccuracies based on research results and findings to date. We apologize for neglecting and failing to respond to the misleading expressions of our readers over a long period of time, and we have made corrections.
The error was that we confused comfort women with the volunteer corps. The term “women’s volunteer corps” refers to the “women’s volunteer corps” that was mobilized to work in munitions factories, etc., and is completely different from comfort women who were forced to have sex with soldiers.
In addition, the number of comfort women and the ratio of Korean women were inaccurate in light of current knowledge. No official records have been found that show the total number of comfort women, including Japanese, and estimates by domestic researchers have varied. No clear data has been found on the percentage of each ethnic group.
Contemporary historian Hata Ikuhiko estimated the number at 60,000 to 90,000 in 1993, and revised it to around 20,000 in 1999. Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a professor of modern Japanese history at Chuo University, estimated the number at 50,000-200,000 in 1995, and more recently has put the number at 50,000 or more. The ratio of Japanese and other ethnic comfort women to the total number of comfort women has not yet been determined.
The report of the third-party panel noted that the memo “misleads readers by inaccurately explaining the number of Korean comfort women who were ‘forcibly brought in’ as paratroopers, as if the number was between 80,000 and 200,000. This was misleading to readers. It also stated that “it is thought that the information was taken directly from accumulated prior and related articles,” and that “even taking into account that at the time it is understood that the distinction between comfort women and paratroopers was not always clear, the way it was compiled lacks accuracy.
In August of this year, the Asahi Shimbun did not delete the relevant expression from its database of past articles in which there was confusion between comfort women and paratroopers, but added a warning so that readers could check the article.
In the future, the memo will be updated to say, “There was a confusion between comfort women and the Para-military, and the expression ‘mainly Korean women were forcibly brought in under the name of the Para-military’ was incorrect. The number of comfort women and the ratio of Korean women are not clearly known.
Third-Party Committee “Plotted to Become a Political Issue”
Questions were raised by other media and others about an article that appeared on the front page of the January 11, 1992 morning edition under the headline “Comfort stations: documents show military involvement.
The article said that documents showing that the former Japanese military ordered local troops to set up comfort stations had been found in official documents in the National Institute for Defense Studies library. At the time, the government did not acknowledge the involvement of the state in the Diet’s response. The article was published just prior to Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa’s visit to South Korea on March 16, and the preamble (lead sentence) states, “The government will be forced to take new measures, and Prime Minister Miyazawa’s visit to South Korea from March 16 will also be burdened with serious issues. The main question to the article was, “What should we do?
The main questions raised by the article are: (1) Wasn’t the article written just before the Prime Minister’s visit to South Korea, even though the documents were obtained earlier? (2) Did they try to create an image in South Korea and Japan that the military was involved in the forced removal of comfort women? （With regard to the first question, the report of the third-party panel stated that “it is no longer possible to confirm whether or not there was a real situation (targeting the timing just before the prime minister’s visit to South Korea),” and pointed out that “it is clear from the wording of the preamble and other elements that the article was written with an awareness of the timing of the visit to South Korea and with the intention of making the comfort women issue a political issue. (2). （With regard to (2), the report states that “the article does not contain any false facts, and the article itself does not contain the fact of forced confinement, so it is not appropriate to evaluate the article as if Asahi had reported that the military was involved in the forced confinement of comfort women.
Corrections on “Women’s Volunteer Corps” and “Rendition”: Regarding the article “Former Comfort Women Give First Testimony”.
One of the ‘Korean comfort women’ who were taken to the battlefields under the name of ‘women’s volunteer corps’ during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II and forced to engage in prostitution with Japanese soldiers is still alive in Seoul. ……” (Osaka Head Office edition of the morning edition, August 11, 1991)
This is the preamble to an article that appeared under the headline “Former Korean Comfort Women Open Heavy Mouths Half a Century After World War II. The article reported that one of the former Korean comfort women had testified for the first time about her past to the Korean Council on the Issue of the Volunteer Corps, based on a tape recording.
However, the text of the article states that the woman said she was tricked into becoming a comfort woman. There is no evidence that this woman was taken to the battlefield under the name of the volunteer corps.
The part of the preamble stating that she was taken to the battlefield under the name of the “Women’s Volunteer Corps” was an error, and we apologize and correct it.
The author, Takashi Uemura, 56, a former reporter, told the third-party committee that he was aware that he had been deceived and that he had only used the word “rengyo” in the sense that he had been taken to the battlefield and did not intend to say that he had been forcibly taken.
In its report, the Third-Party Panel pointed out that even though it was clearly understood from the tape that this was a case of “deception,” the wording of the preamble “gives the impression that the women were forcibly taken away from the country, based on the general image of the words ‘women’s volunteer corps’ and ‘taken away.
The report also pointed out that until the difference between the terms “paratroopers” and “comfort women” became rapidly recognized between 1991 and 1992, “there were many unclear expressions confusing the two, not only in the Asahi Shimbun. In August of this year, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a verification of its own. The Asahi Shimbun concluded in a verification article in August this year that there was “no intentional distortion of the facts” in this article. The report also stated that “from the perspective of conveying accurate facts to readers, the content of the preamble should have been examined in more detail. I take this point very seriously as well.
We have added a warning to this article to indicate that it was misused because of the confusion of paratroopers in the database where past articles can be viewed. In the future, we will add a warning such as “There is no fact that this woman was taken to the battlefield under the name of the volunteer corps.
Third-Party Committee Denies Former Reporter’s ‘Twisting’ of Facts
Two articles written by Mr. Uemura in 1991 were questioned by other media.
One is that in August 1991, when he anonymously reported the testimony of former comfort women after being provided with audio tapes, he was interviewed by his mother-in-law, who was an executive of the Association of Bereaved Families of Pacific War Victims, another South Korean organization that later organized the trial of the former comfort women.
The third-party panel found that Mr. Uemura had explained to them that he had accessed the Paratroopers’ Association tapes after receiving an introduction from the Seoul station chief, and that this explanation was “not unnatural” based on the fact that he had conducted a search for former comfort women in South Korea the previous year. Referring to the fact that the Hokkaido Shimbun directly interviewed the former comfort women and reported on them under their real names immediately after the incident, the report concluded that “it cannot be considered that they were in a particularly advantageous position to write the article” and “it cannot be said that the article was created by twisting the facts for the purpose of benefiting those who were related to them.
The report also raised questions about the fact that the former comfort woman did not mention her background as a student at a school for training geisha. The report states that when Mr. Uemura wrote his follow-up article, “Kaerenu Seishun: Hansei no Hansei (Youth Without Resentment)” (December 25, 1991, Osaka Mainichi Morning Edition, page 5) The report noted that Mr. Uemura knew about the background of the former comfort women from the complaint in the lawsuit they had filed against him when he wrote the follow-up article, “Kaenu Seishun Hansei (My Youth, My Resentment)” (December 25, 1991, Osaka Main Edition, page 5).
He pointed out that he knew the background of the former comfort women from their lawsuits and other documents they had filed, saying, “It is possible that by not writing about the Keesen School, we did not accurately convey the whole picture of the case. I agree with (Mr.) Uemura’s assertion that ‘Keesen’ does not equal comfort women, but if that is the case, he should have depicted what the Keesen School was like and what the lives of the women who went there were like, along with the facts that were discovered, and left it to the readers’ judgment.
Two new articles, full text and partly revoked: Regarding the article related to Seiji Yoshida.
In its August 5 edition, the Asahi Shimbun canceled 16 articles about the late Seiji Yoshida.
During his lifetime, Mr. Yoshida testified that he used violence to force women to become comfort women during the war on Jeju Island in South Korea, which was a Japanese colony.
As a result of re-examining past reports after August, we confirmed that three other articles based on Yoshida’s false testimony had been published. We have responded to each of the articles as follows, and apologize for the long time required.
We apologize for the long time required to respond to each article.
The article, based on an interview with Mr. Yoshida, stated that he went to the Korean Peninsula twice and was involved in “hunting Koreans.
However, based on interviews with researchers and other sources, the Yamaguchi Prefecture Labor Bulletin, to which Mr. Yoshida is said to have belonged, concluded that it was unlikely that a staff member would have gone directly to Korea, given the chain of command. As with the article that featured Mr. Yoshida’s testimony about the comfort women, the testimony was deemed false and treated as such.
In the same way as the article on Mr. Yoshida’s testimony about the comfort women, the testimony was deemed to be false. “Serial: The Tingling Scars of Forced Conscription of Koreans Today (1) Conscription Takes Away Groom” (January 17, 1984, evening edition, Osaka Main Office) This article was published in the evening edition of the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun on January 17, 1984, and the part concerning Mr. Yoshida’s testimony has been deleted. The article stated that Mr. Yoshida was partly responsible for the forced removal of Koreans from Japan, and introduced the unveiling ceremony of a monument to apologize that Mr. Yoshida had built in Cheonan, South Korea. Although it is true that the unveiling ceremony took place, we judge the testimony to be false for the same reasons as the aforementioned series of articles.
On the other hand, “Koreans taken in like this: testimony of experience in Sakhalin trial” (October 1, 1982, social page) recorded the testimony of Mr. Yoshida, who appeared as a witness at the Tokyo District Court and claimed that he participated in the taking in of Koreans.
Based on interviews to date, Mr. Yoshida’s testimony has no credibility and is considered to be false. However, we believe that the content of testimony in a judicial proceeding is not suitable for revocation or correction, so we will add a warning to this article in the database: “Mr. Yoshida’s testimony has no credibility and is considered to be false.
The author of the first report of Yoshida testimony
Not sufficiently clarified
The Asahi Shimbun apologized and corrected an article in August this year, “Korean Women: I Was Also Renditioned” (Osaka Head Office Morning Edition, September 2, 1982), which first reported the testimony of Mr. Seiji Yoshida that women were forcibly taken to Jeju Island in South Korea. After informing that a reporter from the Osaka Social Affairs Department at the time (67) was the author of the article, the newspaper published an article on the social page of the morning edition on September 29, saying that this former reporter was not the author.
At that time, another former reporter, 66, came forward to explain that the initial report might have been written by him.
In response to the investigation by the third-party committee, the former reporter who came forward explained that he went to the lecture hall where the testimony took place and took photos, but he had no detailed memory of the event, including the writing of the article.
The Asahi Shimbun also interviewed the Osaka Social Affairs Department desk at the time, but was unable to identify the author of this initial report. We apologize for our inability to fully clarify this matter.
Major articles in this newspaper that featured Seiji Yoshida and were subject to cancellation, etc.
|Publication date||headline||Article Content|
|●March 7, 1980 morning edition (Kawasaki/Yokohama eastern edition)||Serialized Korea/Koreans 2 (27) Faithful Execution of Orders, Wooden Swords for Resistance||Based on an interview with Mr. Yoshida, the article describes how he “went to the Korean Peninsula twice and was involved in ‘hunting Koreans. The report introduces his testimony that he and policemen gathered 100 young people and sent them to Japan as labor force, and used violence against those who resisted.|
|Morning edition, September 2, 1982 (Osaka head office edition)||I’m a Korean woman. I was taken in. I was beaten and forced.||The following is a summary of a lecture given by Mr. Yoshida at a meeting in Osaka City. Mr. Yoshida explained that about 6,000 Koreans had been forcibly brought to Japan under his direct supervision, and that 950 of them were comfort women.|
|October 19, 1983, evening edition||Monument to Apologize on a Hill in South Korea: ‘Demon of Recruitment’ Now Erected||He introduced Mr. Yoshida as the man who forcibly brought 6,000 Koreans to Japan and was called the “demon of conscription. He described his activities as “raiding rice paddies, factories, and even wedding halls to force young people into random jobs.|
|Morning edition, November 10, 1983||People Mr. Seiji Yoshida||Mr. Yoshida’s remarks included, “In just over 30 years, conscription, which can only be described as manhunting by the state, is being buried in the dustbin of history.|
|Morning edition, December 24, 1983||One Man’s Apology: Monument Unveiling Ceremony in South Korea||It reported on the unveiling ceremony of the “Monument of Apology” built by Mr. Yoshida in South Korea. The report introduced Mr. Yoshida’s remarks such as, “I am the one who forcibly brought many of you here before the war.|
|●Evening edition, January 17, 1984 (Osaka head office edition)||Serials: The Tingling Scars of Forced Conscription of Koreans Today (1): Groom Robbed by Conscription||At the beginning of the article, the author writes that Mr. Yoshida was involved in the forced removal of Koreans, and describes the unveiling ceremony of a monument of apology that he built in Cheonan, South Korea.|
|July 9, 86 Dynasty issue||Rally in Thailand and Osaka on August 15 to Commemorate Victims of War in Asia||The report mentions Mr. Yoshida as having been in charge of the forced removal of Koreans, including comfort women.|
|Morning edition, June 19, 1990 (Osaka head office edition)||I burned the list of names, destroyed the evidence on the governor’s orders.||I also took a large number of Korean women as comfort women. At the time, I was proud to be called the demon of conscription,” Yoshida said.|
|○The morning edition of May 22, 1991 (Osaka head office edition)||Women’s Pacific War: Comfort Women, Forced Mobilization with Wooden Swords||Mr. Yoshida said, “One of the most shameful and heart-wrenching issues I face today is the forced removal of 950 comfort women,” quoting from a book containing his remarks at the meeting.|
|October 10, 1991 morning edition (Osaka head office edition)||Women’s Pacific War: The Comfort Women Who Tore Mothers from Their Babies||An interview with Mr. Yoshida. In an interview with Mr. Yoshida, he claimed that the comfort women were forcibly taken away from their homes, saying, “We twisted the hands of young mothers and beat and kicked them before putting them in a convoy.|
|Jan. 23, ’92 Sunset Issue||From the Editorial Board: Comfort Women||He said, “We transported the comfort women to the battlefield, confined them for a year or two, gang raped them, and then left them there when the Japanese army retreated.|
|Evening edition, March 3, 1992||Window From the Editorial Board For History’s Sake||Referring to the many submissions that came in response to Yoshida’s confession, he introduced opinions that denied the atrocities committed by the Japanese military. There are things we don’t want to know and don’t want to believe. But if we don’t wrestle with these feelings, we will not be able to preserve history, he concluded.|
|May 24, 92 Dynasty Magazine||Now is the Time to Apologize: Witnesses to Internment Visit Korea in July||It reported that Mr. Yoshida was going on a trip to South Korea to apologize. He also mentioned that he wanted to leave behind a history of Japanese people who were directly involved in the atrocities who came to apologize.|
|Chaojournals of Aug. 13, 92||Mr. Yoshida apologizes to former comfort women in Seoul||Report on Mr. Yoshida’s apology to former comfort women in South Korea.|
|January 25, 94 Dynasty issue||Investigative reporting that moved politics||Dozens of phone calls from readers surprised by the testimony of a former mobilization chief who was forced to send comfort women to Korea, says Yoshida anonymously.|
The article dated May 22, 1991 (marked with a circle(○) at the beginning of the date of publication) was not to be published because it contains many quotations from copyrighted works, but the third-party committee pointed out that it was not appropriate to exclude it from the list.
We have decided that it is appropriate to continue not to publish in the paper the three contributions to the “Voice” column and the “Discussion” and “My Review of the Paper” written by outside people.
All of these articles will not be removed from the Asahi Shimbun’s database for viewing past articles, and will be accompanied by a warning indicating that the testimony of Seiji Yoshida has been determined to be false.
(Asahi Shimbun, December 23, 2014, Morning Edition, page 37, Tokyo Headquarters)