Dear Korean students in Australia, no violence please!

Dear Korean students protesting the governmental agreement over the comfort woman issue,

We know you posted a movie of your counterparts violently protesting the governmental agreement in Seoul.
We respect your freedom of speech but please refrain from violence.  You must know that most ex-comfort women have welcomed the efforts made by both the governments.  Only those under Chon Dae Hyup control are protesting as they always do anyway.

The historical facts are very different from what you were taught at school.  If you are doing it out of your passion & sympathy please get your own government to apologize to those Vietnamese women sexually assaulted by South Korean soldiers as well.

Most importantly, please don't import your aggressive behavior to Australia.  We are unrelated to the issue and living in peace with all other ethnic groups.  You have no right to disturb our life here.   If you cannot contain your anger please stay in Korea and help those ladies there if you really want to. This is where all the different races live together in harmony under the Australian customs and values.  We must not import foreign conflicts into this country we call home.

Best regards
President, Australia-Japan Community Network

Why Has South Korea Still Not Apologized to the Vietnamese Comfort Women?

From the web site :

This year, at the 96th anniversary of the Korean uprising against Japan in March 1, 1919, South
Korean President Park Geun-hye reiterated her call for Japan to admit to the war crimes it had
committed during World War Two. Yet, even as she relentlessly seeks an apology from Japan, Ms.
Park has conveniently ignored the fact that during the Vietnam War, Korean troops raped,
assaulted and barbarically slaughtered thousands of Vietnam comfort women. Ms. Park cannot
escape blame and claim unverified reports. Why South Korea still refuses to apologize to the
Vietnam comfort women is not as mysterious as it seems.

Documents from the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) show irrefutable
proof of South Korea’s abuses and wrongdoings during that period. Noriyuki Yamaguchi, then
Washington bureau chief of the Tokyo Broadcasting System, mentioned in an article he wrote that
in July 2014, the archives revealed a letter from the US military command stationed in Ho Chi Minh
City (then Saigon) to Gen. Chae Myeong-sin, the military commander of South Korea in Vietnam.
The letter referred to the illegal diversion of US supplies to South Korea, acts of prostitution in a
supposedly “welfare center” where Vietnamese women were working, and US troops using that
center for a $38 fee per visit.

The above report is only one of many accounts of South Korea’s atrocities towards the
Vietnamese people during the war. Elderly survivors have recounted their own horror stories of
the sex slavery and massacres they went through at that time. In 2001, recognizing the veracity of
the reports, then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with Vietnam President Tran Duc
Luong and offered a direct apology for South Korea’s acts on the Vietnamese people during the

But the day after Kim’s message of apology, Park Gein-hye, then deputy leader of the Grand
National Party, the opposition party at the time, criticized Kim’s statement, saying it “drove a stake
through the honor of South Korea.” Looking back, it was an omen of things to come if she should
lead the country someday.

Seventy years and several apologies later, South Korean officials are still pressing Japan over the
WW2 comfort women issue. Like an infant fixated on a vendetta, South Korea’s sense of
entitlement is such that no amount of compensation or apology will satisfy them. Or is it really a
simple case of overblown egomania? Old and new historical events might provide clues.

In a case of karmic retribution for South Korea, the Vietnam comfort women issue has been
brought to international awareness 40 years after the war ended. To recall, in 1991 Kim Hak-soon
was the first Korean comfort woman living in South Korea to give a testimony about her alleged
experience under the control of Japanese soldiers. It triggered a barrage of angry reactions
against Japan and put the country under scrutiny for the reparation and atonement it should give
to its victims. Now it is South Korea facing the very same situation. Long before the Vietnam
comfort women came out and identified themselves, they already knew about their own
atrocities but, through cunning and clever manipulation, managed to keep it under the radar of the
mainstream media.

It took a visit to Vietnam by Yoon Mi-hyang in March to uncover the grim truth about the sex
enslavement of Vietnam’s women by Korean and American troops. Yoon is president of the Korean
Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, the non-profit organization
formed to look into alleged crimes against women in Asia during World War Two, many of whom
were Koreans. In 2012, the Council had set up the Butterfly Fund and extended their mission to
help other women victims of war. Congo was the first country they identified. Little did they know
that in Vietnam, they would find out about the horrors that their own countrymen, the Korean
soldiers, had perpetrated.

Another recent incident that has put Pres. Park in a negative light is the Sewol ferry disaster. On
April 16, 2014, the South Korean ferry Sewol, carrying 476 passengers and crew, among them 325
high school students, was on its way from Incheon to Jeju island when it sank, killing more than
300 people, mostly the students. To date, nine are still missing. It was rumored that Pres. Park was
nowhere to be found and she was with a former political aide said to be married then. Japanese
journalist Tatsuya Kato, chief of Sankei Shimbun’s Seoul bureau, was singled out for printing this
piece of information and defaming Ms. Park. He was charged and indicted. This incident has
raised howls from international journalists amid concerns on press freedom in South Korea.

Park’s handling of the Sewol ferry disaster was widely criticized. In the seven hours leading to the
disaster, she received 18 reports and her only response were two orders that were standard
operating procedures. It was the committee secretary who acted as spokesperson before Ms.
Park could face the public herself. The investigation into the botched rescue efforts, the cause of
the sinking and the violation of safety rules have been assailed by the victims’ families as being
controlled by Park’s government. Add to that her unfulfilled promise to raise the ferry from the
bottom of the sea. At the first anniversary of the sinking, the families refused to meet the president
and promised to stage regular protests.

Park’s Strategy to Gain Support and Popularity

Recent polls show Park’s public support dropping from a low of 29% to a high of 46% from the preaccident
70 percent. In her bid to regain her popularity in the local and international community,
she must portray her nation as a victim. And the most convenient issue is a social one that targets
the “bleeding hearts” of open wounds from WW2 and stoke up nationalism via anti-Japan rhetoric
and propaganda. Here, the Korean comfort women fit the bill. Certainly, Japan has owned up to its’
share of the blame when it comes to WWS war crimes. From 1965 to 2010, its Ministers, Cabinet
officials and most significantly Emperors have made at least 14 apologies to South Korea alone, not
counting the 1995 Murayama and 1993 Kono statements. It put up the Asian Women’s Fund to give
monetary compensation to the comfort women in various countries, which all accepted but South
Korea refused to accept. On the domestic front, Park has been successful. Polls show that 57.4% of
respondents support not holding summit talks with Tokyo until yet another full apology from Japan
is given. In the United States, officials and diplomats are divided. Dr. Robert L. Shapiro, a former
adviser on economic affairs, sent a video message to Pres. Park stating his concern over her
country’s failure to forge better ties with Japan and her government’s curtailment of press
freedom. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy R. Sherman was more direct, citing
Park’s desire for cheap applause by putting Japan in a bad light for propaganda’s sake alone.

Another controversial issue between South Korea and Japan is over the Liancourt Rocks. Known
as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, the two countries have been disputing the territorial
jurisdiction of the islands, composed of two main islets and 35 smaller rocks. These islets are
valued for their rich fishing grounds and production of natural gas.

The background behind ownership of these islands is confusing. South Korea has been
administering them since 1954 but Japan’s legal basis of possession dates back to 1904. To put an
end to the dispute, Japan has suggested three times (in 1954, 1962 and 2012) that the matter be
taken to the International Court of Justice, but this was rejected by South Korea each time.

South Korea hopes that the US will back them in this matter and an opinion post in the Korea
Herald recently criticized its’ own government’s futile brinkmanship. Political analysts are not
inclined to think this will lead to any serious actions, militarily speaking or that the US will take
sides. Both Japan and South Korea are powerful Asian allies of the United States and showing
favoritism would be detrimental to it’s position. But Park Hwee-rhak, a political science professor at
Kookmin University in Seoul says Japan is more important to America in its policy towards Asia
because of its economic power, military technologies and its capacity to keep China in check over
its ambitious expansion plans.

Comfort Women Memorials and Resolutions Spring Up in the US

Some US politicians have been quick to cash in on the comfort women issue. When House
Resolution 121 sponsored by Rep. Michael Honda of Silicon Valley, Calif., was passed in 2007, it
was a go-signal for politicians to cater to the wishes of the South Korean community in their
electoral areas. In the guise of advancing public awareness to the injustice done to South Korean
women, resolutions and statues of comfort women have been put up in cities around the United
States. Local Korean-American organizations in the area applied pressure on officials to yield.
These particular “voting areas” have a large community of Korean-Americans who can swing votes
when elections come around.

On August 2014, the Fullerton City Council approved a resolution recognizing the Korean comfort
women. In New Jersey, the State Senate passed a resolution to the same effect.

The first comfort woman monument in the US was put up in Palisades Park, NJ in 2010. In 2012,
another one was erected in Veterans Memorial in Eisenhower Park, Nassau County, NY. In March
2013, a memorial was opened in Hackensack’s Bergen County, NJ and in July 2013, in Glendale
Central Park, Glendale, Calif., a statue of a young girl representing a comfort woman was unveiled.
In August 2014, a statue was put up in Southfield, Michigan. There are plans for another statue to
be put up in Maryland.

The comfort women monuments binge-building has recently spread to Canada, with a well know
political blogger calling it “a giant scam whose goal is to alienate Japan from the Western powers.”
The City of Burnaby in British Columbia is in the process of studying a proposal to put up a comfort
woman statue in the city.

With the Vietnam comfort women coming out into public consciousness, can the US expect a
deluge of similar memorials installed in the cities and parks anytime soon? And will South Korea
protest against them as the Japanese did over the Korean comfort women monuments? The truth
is that they won’t, as the Vietnamese communities in the US hold far less political sway and the US
itself would rather forget the Vietnam War.

The Atrocities in the Vietnam War

Just as the Japanese had their Comfort Women, South Korea also created brothels with Vietnam
comfort women for their and the American troops’ carnal pleasure. Numbering 5,000 to 30,000,
stories about them are not easy to come by, thanks to the cloud of secrecy that South Korea
shrouded them with.

The massacres that the Korean military committed during the Vietnam War on the Vietnamese
took about 9000 lives, not counting the living survivors who had no more lives to speak of. From
that time until 2000 when a more liberal administration took over in South Korea, it was taboo to
talk about their participation in the war. In June 2002, the US National Archives and Records
Administration declassified documents about the Vietnam War and the massacres at Phong Nhi
and Phong Nhat, Hoan Chau, and Phuoc My were made public. There are also the 1966
massacres at Tay Vinh that saw 1200 civilians being slaughtered and at Go Dai with 380 people
rounded up and killed. These mass slayings were all done in the same manner. The Ha My
account is an example of the way the South Korean Army and Marines butchered and killed
innocent men, women and children without remorse.

A first-hand account from Pamtihoa, survivor of the Ha My massacre is reprinted in The Hankyoreh.
It shows the trickery and brutality of the South Korean soldiers towards the Vietnamese. In March
1965, the 3rd US Marine amphibious force landed in Da Nang, Vietnam and took over Ho Ah Bang
and Di En Ban. In December 1967, the 5th regiment of the USMC handed over the Con Ninh base
to the 2nd Marine brigade of South Korea, called the Blue Dragons.

The people of Ha My who had been transferred to Con Ninh base went back to their village, as life
was hard at the base. Whether the Korean Marines permitted them or not is not clear. But they did
provide the village people with food and supplies and the villagers returned the favor by giving
them local delicacies. But, to their horror a month later, the nice Korean soldiers turned into
monsters. It was on a morning that they came, entered the village with their tanks and armored
vehicles and moved in three different directions. Then they gathered the villagers in three different
locations to listen to a speech from the Korean commander while the soldiers gave candies to the

After the speech, the commander walked away and, after a few steps, made a hand gesture. In an
instant, M60 machine guns and grenade launchers came out of hiding from the woods and
opened fire on the shocked villagers. A total of 135 people were killed. Pamhitoa survived but lost
both feet. The dead were a ghastly sight – brains coming out of head, internal organs spilling out
of bodies, decapitated limbs. Along with a few survivors, Pamhitoa buried the dead in shallow
holes they had dug up. But the next day, the Korean soldiers returned with D-7 bulldozers, dug up
the graves and crushed all the dead bodies.

The Vietnam Comfort Women’s Stories

Unlike South Korea under Pres. Park, the Vietnam government advises its citizenry to put the past
behind them and move on to the future. But, if only to make Ms. Park realize her inconsistency and
how the resolution of war issues lies in her own hands, the Vietnam comfort women must be made
known in the same manner as the Koreans want their stories to be shared. Surviving Vietnamese
women speak of serial rapes several times a day, brutal sexual assaults and killing them after the
rapes. One woman who was nine months pregnant had her stomach slit open and her entrails
along with her baby hanging out.

Korean comfort women survivors Kim Bok-dong and Gil Won-ok as well as the Korean Council for
the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan have called on the South Korean
government to acknowledge the country’s wrongdoings and atone for them by way of an official
apology and compensation. It was an emotional moment and an eye opener at the House of
Sharing last April when Yoo Hee-nam, a comfort woman for the Japanese Army met with Nguyen
Tan Lan (64) and Nguyen Thi Thanh (55), massacre survivors.

What makes the Vietnam comfort women issue worse are the consequences of the rapes are the
children born out of these barbaric acts- called the Lai Dai Han, a term for mixed blooded children
who are viewed as contemptible and shunned by society. There are about 5,000 to 30,000 of
them, unacknowledged by their Korean fathers.

In fairness, Korean soldiers were not alone in raping the Vietnamese women. From August 1964 to
May 7, 1975, there were more than 9 million military men who served in the Vietnam War. Accounts
and research have proven that American GIs also participated in the rapes. But they were kept
hidden and if they did reach army court-martial trials, convictions were few and sentences were
light. The US government cannot deny that it shares accountability for the war crimes in the
Vietnam War along with South Korea. While the official stand is always not to condone such acts,
it’s a different matter out in the battlefields. Commanders and generals turn a blind eye to the truth.
But the war ended decades ago and the time has come for both countries to face their
responsibilities and cease the hypocritical finger pointing at Japan.

한국인 여러분께 평화롭게 살아 보면 어떨까요?

We are opposing the erection of Comfort Women statue in Sydney.
We have put together a message along with our Australian members to Korean people living in Australia on the Comfort Women statue issue.
We are hoping to share our view with many thoughtful Korean people and all other ethnic groups valuing the Australian multiculturalism.

한국인 여러분께  평화롭게 살아 보면 어떨까요?

∼ 다시 일어난 위안부 소녀상 설치 문제를 둘러싸고 ∼

AJCN대표 야마오카 데쓰히데

유감스럽게도 시드니에서 한국계 반일단체가 또 다시 위안부 소녀상을 세우자고 활동중입니다. 그들은 작년말에 위안부 문제에 관해서 한일 양국정부가 이 문제를 불가역적으로 해결하기로 합의한 것을 굴욕이라고 반발하고 전세계에서 위안부 소녀상을 더 세우려고 하는, 북한과의 관계를 지적되는 정신대문제대책협의회와 연계하고 있습니다. 한일 합의에 반대하는 것은 자유라고 하더라도 관계가 전혀 없는 제삼국에서 지역 융화를 깨는 적대적인 행동을 취하는 것은 지극히 부적절합니다. 작년에 많은 한국계 주민들이 사는 스트라스필드 시의회에서 커뮤니티의 융화를 깨서는 안된다는 이유로 위안부 소녀상 설치 요구가 각하되었습니다.그런데 그런 대다수 주민의 의견을 무시하고 언론의 자유를 악용함으로써 일본을 비방하는 활동을 하고 있는 일부 사람들 때문에 양식이 있는 한국계 주민들까지 반일이라는 오해를 살 수 있는 것은 안타까운  일입니다.

이 반일단체에 속하는 한국인들은 일본인들이 반대하는 것을 “과거의 만행을 폭로되고 싶지 않기 때문이다”고 말합니다. 이것은 늘 느끼는 것이지만  그들은 역사적 사실을 검증하는 것에는 관심이 없는 것 같습니다. 놀랍게도 일본에서는 완전히 조작된 이야기로 인정되었으며 아사히신문도 기사를 취소하고 사죄한 “한반도에서 여성들을 사냥했다고 하는 요시다 세이지” 라는 인물의 증언이 한국에서는 극히 최근까지 진실 이야기로 수능생을 위한 교육 텔레비전에서 가르쳤던 것을 알게 되었습니다. 미국 국립보존기록관에서 찾은 기록에 의하면 전쟁중에 미군에 잡힌 조선인 포로가 이구동성에 “만난 위안부는 모두 자주적인 지원 아니면 부모가 팔아버린 딸들이며 그것은 조선 문화에서는 보통 일이었다. 만일 일본인이 폭력적으로 여자들을 납치하려고 한다면 조선 남자들은 노약을 막론하고 목숨을 걸어서라도 저항했을 것이다”고 대답했습니다. 과연 세월호 참사 때의 가족들 행동을 보면 당시 조선인이 저항하지 않았다는 것은 도저히 믿을 수가 없습니다. 하물며 당시 한반도 경찰관 대부분이 조선인이었으며 수십만에 이르는 조선인 남성들이 일본군에 지원하고 있었습니다. 그럼에도 불구하고 여성 강제 연행에 저항하기 위한 폭동은 하나도 기록되지 않았습니다. 이 사실 하나만 보아도 요시다 세이지의 증언이 완전 엉터리이었던 것을 알 수 있는데 (뒤에 요시다 본인이 그것이 픽션임을 인정했습니다) 실은  제일 먼저 “요시다 증언이 사실은 아니다” 그렇게 발표한 것은 제주도 등에서 실제로 조사한 한국인 저널리스트였습니다.

저희들은 호주에서 역사논쟁을 벌이려고 하는 것은 아닙니다. 그러나 호주에 사는, 전쟁 이후 태어난 저희들에게는 전혀 관계가 없는 과거사이며 일본 정부가 이미 몇 번이나 사죄한 일을 둘러싸고 아직도 시드니 등에서 시위 활동이 계속되고 있는 데다가 위안부 소녀상이 세워지는 바람에 일본계 어린이들이 학교에서 괴롭히는 것을 그냥 보고 있을 수만 없습니다. 조금 전에는 위안부 소녀상 설치될 교회의 한 목사님이 일본인을 범죄자 취급하는 듯한 발언을 하는 동영상이 인터넷에 올랐는데 그것을 본 기독교도인 일본인과 현지 호주인이 얼마나 슬퍼했는지 생각해 본 적이 있습니까?

한국군 병사들이 한국 전쟁과 베트남 전쟁 때 여성을 학살한 것을 이유로 주 시드니 한국영사관 앞에서 매월 시위활동을 하겠다, 한국 전쟁과 베트남 전쟁 때 위안부를 위로하기 위한 소녀상을 전 세계에 세우겠다, 그런 소리를 들으면 한국계 여러분께서는  어떻게 느낍니까?
그들은 한국이 해 온 짓들을 모르는 것일까요, 아니면 모르는 척하는 것일까요? 한국전쟁 때 박근혜대통령의 아버지인 박정희대통령 명령으로 한국군 운영하에 UN군과 한국군을 위한 위안소가 만들어졌고 여성들은 위안부 또는 양공주로 불렸습니다. 그리고 베트남전쟁 중에는 많은 베트남 여성들이 한국군에 강간당한 끝에 학살되기도 하고 매춘부 일을 강요되기도 하고 라이따이한으로 불리는 수천 명이나 되는 혼혈아를 남겼습니다. 한국병사에게 버림 받은 그들은 베트남 사회에서 차별당하고 위축되면서 살고 있습니다. 이것들은 검증된 사실이며 베트남에 가 보면 지금도 한국군의 만행을 묘사한 기념비를 볼 수가 있습니다. 한편 여성의 인권문제는 아직도 심각합니다. 한국 국회의원이 “10만 명의 한국 여성이 해외에서 매춘 일을 하고 있다”고 발언한 적이 있는데 그 중 5만 명이 일본에서 일하고 있다고 하며 또 북미에서 많은 한국 매춘부가 당국에 적발되었습니다. 한국 인구를 생각하면 놀라울 정도의 수라고 말할 수 있습니다. 시드니에서도 1000 명이나 되는 한국 여성이 매춘 일을 하고 있는데 그 여성들 대부분은 고금리 빚 때문에 어쩔 수 없는 상황에 빠져 있는 것입니다. 그녀들을 착취하는 것은 한국인 브로커입니다.

위안부 소녀상을 세우고 일본을 규탄하려는 한국인들은 지금 현재 눈 앞에서 착취되고 있는 한국 여성들을 구하기 위한 노력을 하고 있는 것일까요? 사람이면  인종을 막론하고 전쟁 중에 고생한 모든 여성에게 깊이 동정해야 합니다. 그리고 지금의 문제에 공동으로 대처해야 합니다. 타민족을 공격함으로써 호주가 자랑하는 다민족주의를 위협할 때가 아닙니다.

호주에 사는 일본인은 지금까지 어느 인종과도 문제를 일으킬 일이 없이 평화로이 살아 왔습니다. 그러나 일부 한국인이 반일운동을 시작한 이후 한국계 가게와  식당을 피하는 일본인이 늘어나고 있는 것은 대단히 유감스럽게 생각합니다. 지금까지 친하게 지내 오던 한국계 친구,부부 사이에 균열이 생겨 슬퍼하고 있는 일본인도 많습니다. 호주에 사는 일본인과 한국인에게는 이 나라에서 어떻게 하면 조화롭게 서로 협력해서 살아 갈 수 있을지가 더 중요할 것입니다. 저희들은 양식 있는 한국계 사람들과 함께 이 나라의 평화와 미래를 지키고 싶습니다.

베트남에 남은 한국군에 의한 현지인 학살 기념비.

To everyone in the Korean community; Can we live peacefully together in Australia?

We are opposing the erection of Comfort Women statue in Sydney.
We have put together a message along with our Australian members to Korean people living in Australia on the Comfort Women statue issue.
We are hoping to share our view with many thoughtful Korean people and all other ethnic groups valuing the Australian multiculturalism.

To everyone in the Korean community;

Can we live peacefully together in Australia?

T Yamaoka
President, Australia-Japan Community Network (AJCN)

As you may be aware, the Japanese government has made another apology and promised to give 1 billion yen to South Korea to "finally and irreversibly” resolve the controversial "Comfort Women" issue at the end of last year. Unfortunately, however, a group of people with Korean background is still trying to erect the Comfort Women statue in Sydney. This group of people have strong connections with Chon Dae Hyup, a prominent organisation that declared to erect more "Comfort Women" statues around the world and jeopardise the governmental agreement. Chon Dae Hyup is believed to have ties with North Korea and it has been on the watch list of the South Korean government. 
No matter how they object to the agreement, however, it is extremely inappropriate to take this antagonistic action and disturb harmony in a country such as Australia that has nothing to do with this issue. Last year, in Strathfield where many people with Korean background reside, the proposal to erect the Comfort Woman statue was rejected by the Council, reasoning that it may cause significant disturbance to the peace and communal harmony.  Despite the peaceful opinion of the majority, some people are even more actively disparaging Japan by abusing their freedom of speech. Because of this, it is truly regrettable that even the majority of thoughtful, considerate Korean people are misunderstood to be a part of this anti-Japan group. Through our efforts to stop the erection of the statue in Strathfield last year, we met many Korean people who said that they didn't want the statue in Australia, but they were afraid to speak up because they were worried about their family's safety in South Korea if they appeared to be pro-Japanese (up until the governmental agreement was made between two countries the South Korean government was using this issue as a political tool to gain power over Japan).  
Koreans belonging to this anti-Japan group say, the reason of why Japanese people object is “that they do not want their barbaric act of past to be exposed.”  However, this is always the case that they are not seem to be interested in investigating historical facts. Are they really interested in representing history correctly?  It came to be known that up until recently the educational TV program for high school students in South Korea had been broadcasting the account of a Japanese communist, Seiji Yoshida, who claimed in his novel he conducted “abduction of women” on the Korean Peninsula as part of a Japanese military operation. Although his testimony was reported by the Asahi Newspaper as a fact at the time, he later confessed that it was a fictional story. Since then The Asahi Newspaper has withdrawn the articles and apologised to its readers. According to the official report in the US Archives Library, South Korean soldiers in the Japanese army who were arrested as prisoners of war by the US army during the World War II testified that:
“All Korean prostitutes that PoW have seen in the Pacific were volunteers or had been sold by their parents into prostitution. This is a proper Korean way of thinking. Conscription of women by the Japanese army would have outraged the old and young alike and they would not have tolerated such a scheme. Men would've risen up in rage, killing Japanese no matter what the consequences might have been."

Please note that most of the police officers in Korea were Koreans and several hundred thousands of Korean men also volunteered their services to the Japanese Army. What were they doing while their women were being abducted by the Japanese Army if the story were true?  Furthermore, when Yoshida published his fictional novel it was actually a Korean journalist who investigated the incidents on Jeju Island that he wrote about and was told that no such abductions ever took place by the Japanese army. 

We are not really interested in arguing over historical controversies here in Australia. However, we cannot remain silent, knowing that the anti-Japan demonstrations are still continuing and the potential erection of the Comfort Woman statue may cause racial abuse of Japanese children in schools here in Australia. The Japanese government has already made apologies numerous times and made many efforts to resolve this issue. 
This year, in spite of our efforts to keep the harmony, the minister of Ashfield Uniting Church is supporting the erection of the statue on his church land. What really upset us who live in the local community was that his interview regarding the statue was posted on Facebook by the anti-Japan activists group, and he called the Japanese people as “perpetrators.” How sad did Christian Japanese and local Australians feel by watching this video? 
How do the Korean people feel, if political demonstrations are conducted in front of the Korean Consulate General of Sydney repeatedly accusing them of war crimes that happened so many years ago? How would you feel if your church minister called you a perpetrator for something that you didn't do? How would you feel if the ex-comfort women from the Korean war and Vietnamese war erect the statues all over the world against your government? 

Are you aware that the Korean government still has not made any apologies to the comfort women of the Korean War nor to the victims of the Vietnam War? The fact that when Park Chung-hee who was the President at the time, the father of the current President Park Geun-hye, was directly involved in setting up comfort women stations under his governmental management for both UN troops and Korean troops during the Korean war. In the Vietnam war, Korean soldiers engaged in rape and murder of thousands of Vietnamese women, and forced Vietnamese women to work as prostitutes. The worst consequences of those rapes are the thousands of children born out of these barbaric acts- called the Lai Dai Han, a term for mixed blooded children who are viewed as disreputable and shunned by society to this very day. These are verified facts, with memorials which describe the Korean troops’ atrocities towards Vietnamese women in Vietnam during that war.

Many years have passed since then but the violation of Woman’s human rights in South Korea still continues as a very serious issue today. As members of the South Korean Parliament stated that “100,000 Korean women are working as prostitutes overseas,” half of them are working in Japan, and many of them are arrested in the US. The number of women involved in this sex industry is considerably large in relation to the population of South Korea. In Sydney, it is estimated that a thousand Korean women are working as prostitutes and many of them are forced to work in order to pay off debts with super-high interest rates that they owe to the Korean brokers who exploit them. 

Are anti-Japan activists really making efforts to rescue these Korean prostitutes who are being exploited in today's world?  Shouldn't we be compassionate towards all women who suffered during the war? Isn't it more important to deal with the current issues rather than something that happened more than 70 years ago? Shouldn't we be living here in Australia with the mind that values Australian multi-culturalism, diversity and harmony? 

The Japanese community in Australia have lived in peace and harmony for decades, and never had any conflict with any other racial groups. However, because of the anti-Japan propaganda carried out by the people who have a political agenda to divide the community, it is sad that many Japanese people began to feel afraid of going to Korean shops and restaurants. Some Japanese people who have Korean partners and/or Korean friends are finding it more and more difficult to deal with this issue without damaging their relationships. 

It is regrettable that our community harmony has been affected by this politically motivated anti-Japan propaganda, involving many innocent people and wasting our precious time and energy on an issue that is irrelevant to our community. We sincerely hope and pray for all our sakes that we can put our community harmony first. The majority of Japanese and Korean people in Australia understand the significance of sharing harmony, cooperation, and respect towards others. We wish to keep life and the future of this country in peace, with thoughtful South Korean people.

A monument depicting Korean troop’s war crime during Vietnam War