On September 22, 2015, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to pass the resolution for establishment of the memorial for "comfort women." ER has played a key role in building a wide community support for the resolution, along with our partners in CWJC ("Comfort Women" Justice Coalition).
In the interview before the meeting on September 22, 2015, Miho Lee, the coordinator of the Comfort Women Justice Coalition, spoke on the significance of the memorial and our struggle against the Abe administration's historical revisionism.
Miho Lee is the coordinator of the Comfort Women Justice Coalition; she spoke outside of the Chambers in San Francisco City Hall minutes before the meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The "Comfort Women Resolution" was presented and unanimously passed to establish a memorial to the "Comfort Women" in San Francisco.You can also read an article in support of the "comfort women" resolution, A Japan-born Nikkei's case for the "comfort women" resolution in S.F., written by Takashi Mizuno.
A press conference was held in San Francisco City Hall on September 17, 2015 and hosted by San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar to welcome Grandma Yong Soo Lee, a WW 2 "Comfort Women" Survivor. She flew in from Seoul, Korea, to support a memorial for the 200,000 women and girls enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Army for sexual servitude during the Second World War. Speakers at the press conference reported that the Japanese Abe government had lobbied elected officials and Japanese American community to oppose the memorial, and that historical denialists dismissed these "Comfort Women" as "prostitutes." [Production of Labor Video Project, www.laborvideo.org]
Public statement by Miho Kim Lee, Cofounder, Japan Multicultural Relief Fund & Coordinator, Comfort Women Justice Coalition at the Public Hearing for Comfort Women Resolution — Sep 17, 2015
I urge you to support this resolution today. It is urgent because, as a descendent of former colonial subjects of the Japanese Empire from Japan myself, I can attest to an actual threat of the history of "Comfort Women"; being permanently erased from history in Japan.
Ignorance is the political weapon to establish national consciousness on false pride that Japan fought the pacific war to eradicate racism from Asia. In October 2014, Japan's national public broadcaster, NHK, issued a ban on any reference to the Rape of Nanking and to the country's use of wartime sex slaves. This year, in the new history textbook promoted by revisionists including Mr. Abe, and adopted by an increasing number of school districts, including Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama, there is not one mention of Japan's war as a) one of aggression; nor b) a single mention of comfort women, nor c) 'Nanking Massacre'. They are all in direct contradiction to recommendations made by the United Nations treaty bodies, including:
It's important to recognize that the anti-memorial movement in the US will actually embolden THIS historical revisionism. Whatever your reasons, if you don't support this memorial, make no mistake, it will be touted as a victory for these denialists up and down the political food chain in Japan.
Nationalism infused with ethnic pride accentuated by xenophobia is currently serving as the glue that binds the current Japanese government and its citizens. There's increasing assertion that supporters of the resolution must be either Chinese or Korean, or, that if you're really Japanese, then you'd oppose it.
I believe nationalism is creating false division amongst us who all want Comfort Women grandmothers' rights and dignity to be fully restored, and women's human rights fulfilled.
Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2014 stated that ";[the comfort women issue] is a current issue, as human rights violations against these women continue to occur as long as their rights to justice and reparation are not realized."
We couldn't agree more. As articulated by the East West Center (at University of Hawaii), we're advocating for the Comfort Women Memorial as "a vehicle for understanding and change." A vehicle that can unite our shared desires, across race, ethnicity, national origin, age, or any marker of difference.
[article submitted for the records]
*footnotes available upon request