Controlling Public Art By Lawsuit: Japanese-American Citizens Sue To Remove "Comfort Women" Memorial

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185 Responses

  1. Jack says:

    Repulsiveness of this lawsuit aside, what is the deal with the word "emplacement?" Should it just be "placement?"

    Also, I feel like GAHT-US, as an organization, has a serious problem with standing in this case. Shouldn't the individual members affected sue individually, rather than have the organization sue on their behalf?

  2. Darryl says:

    They ask for attorney's fees under 42 USC 1988. I see nothing in the body of the suit that asks for relief under any of the predicate statutes for recovery of attorney's fees under Sec. 1988.

  3. David says:

    I'm on speaking terms with a few people who work at Mayer Brown. I'm very glad none of them are listed on that complaint, because otherwise I'd have to punch them.

  4. MrSpkr says:

    Wow. Just . . . wow.

    And I suspect that Mayer Brown will rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees before this dog is dismissed. The City of Glendale will likely spend a similar amount defending themselves from this Plaintiff's patently ridiculous claims.

    That is perhaps the most deplorable part of this whole thing, Since it really isn't a SLAPP suit (and since the City of Glendale is not a person whose rights have been violated), I suspect California's SLAPP statute won't apply (Texas' certainly would not). This leaves the City of Glendale few options to recover the costs of its defense. I mean, theoretically, the City could file a motion for sanctions seeking recovery of its defense fees and costs from the Plaintiff, but judges rarely grant such motions. Frankly, judges are loathe to impose sanctions on parties or lawyers, particularly in cases involving powerhouse law firms like Mayer Brown. The judge knows he or she is up for re-election at some point and doesn't want to irritate a potentially large and influential law firm that could easily fund an opponent's campaign.

    Sad, but true. And, on many levels, disgusting.

  5. WhangoTango says:

    If Yasukuni is "a shrine honoring war criminals" then so is Arlington National Cemetery.

  6. Dan says:

    What a bizarre lawsuit. Do random citizens even have standing to sue about this sort of thing?

  7. wolfefan says:

    At least Volokh isn't on it…

  8. Third News says:

    I guess the "volunteer" theory can be extended to the Imperial Japanese Army human experimentation which included vivisection of pregnant women.

    I'd like to see Unit 731 victim memorials too

  9. Pat says:

    @Darryl – Count 1 is pretty clearly a 1983 claim for which attorney's fees would be available to a prevailing party.

    @MrSpkr – While it doesn't wholly address your valid concerns, I would bet that Glendale has insurance that will pick up the cost of the defense. I can't speak to California specifically, but many municipalities have insurance policies or pools that insure against suits like these.

    And the other potentially applicable source of recovery of those fees is in 1988 itself, which awards fees to prevailing parties, not just prevailing plaintiffs. The standard for imposing fees against a losing plaintiff is pretty onerous, but somewhat less stringent than Rule 11 or other sanctions provisions.

  10. Dave Ruddell says:

    It actually took more than 10 seconds of Googling, but I see that GAHT stands for "Global Alliance for Historical Truth", which for some reason, is not mentioned in the suit. The group does not appear to be particularly global. In fact, all the Google search results I found reference the Glendale case.

    It may be that the organization was named in such a way to cause some confusion with the "Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia", which (from it's wiki page) has a rather more mainstream view of the actions of Japan in WWII.

  11. G. Filotto says:

    Well, with America using Nazis to take over Ukraine, it's possibly karmic that some other Nazis want to impose their will on American art.

  12. LeeNapier says:

    Whango Tango,

    There are a number of differences between Yasukuni and Arlington. Yasukuni is a Shinto shrine (so it is literally a religious shrine) and no one is buried there. Arlington is a Cemetary honoring war dead of many different religions.

    Yasukuni DOES list the names of some 1,000-plus war dead who are literally convicted war criminals. Arlington Cemetary forbids the interment of anyone convicted of war crimes, or who received a dishonorable discharge.

    The two sites are vastly different.

  13. Vorkon says:

    I feel the Hiroshima Peace Memorial presents Americans in a negative light, and its presence made me feel uncomfortable while visiting Japan. I shall now attempt to sue the Japanese government for its removal.

    (And at risk of ruining the joke, yes, that's sarcasm.)

  14. b says:

    WT, yes, exactly like Arlington. Must be why Emperor Hirohito refused to visit, as Emperor Akihito does now.

  15. Docraulgun says:

    Wow. This isn't a Prenda suit?

  16. Robert Pierce says:

    GAHT is global in the sense that it exists in Japan and the United States, uniting those who think Japanese atrocities are exaggerated. If you read Japanese, its site is at http://gahtjp.org/. Another lovely denial site is the Society for the Dissemination of Historic Fact at http://www.sdh-fact.com/.

  17. mcinsand says:

    If 'comfort women' translates to prostitutes, then perhaps there should be more objection. A synonym for prostitute waters down the fact that these women were not just rape victims, but that the rapes were government-institutionalized.

  18. MrSpkr says:

    Thanks, Pat. I just downloaded the petition and see that it is a federal lawsuit (missed that in reading Ken's post), so obviously the electoral pressures state judges face are not in play here. Still, as you correctly indicate, while fees and costs as the prevailing party might be available to the City under 1988, it is still a higher bar than the SLAPP suits.

    I'm still more than a little disgusted that the Plaintiffs found attorneys willing to file this dog.

    Not surprised, mind you, but certainly disgusted.

  19. Darryl says:

    @Pat-I'm not a federal litigator, but I thought there was a push toward more than mere "notice" pleadings now, and I didn't see anything setting forth Sec. 1983 as a separate claim. If you are saying the underlying factual averments are sufficient to state a 1983 claim in the absence of actually saying "I'm suing the City under 42 USC 1983", then OK.

  20. Luke says:

    Why does protecting the honor of a people so often seem to revolve around acting like historical events involving tens of thousands didn't happen?

  21. NS says:

    I am in complete agreement with Ken on this one, allowing revisionists in another country to dictate that memorials to their past shames is a slight against any nation, and an abandonment of sovereignty. Dismissal isn't what I would hope for here, a judgement that properly closes the door on suits like this would be ever so much better.

  22. stakkalee says:

    This is disgusting and enraging; the fact that these plaintiffs are playing word-games implying these women were voluntarily participating in their own forced bondage and sexual slavery is despicable.

  23. Pete says:

    Regardless of the actual legal merits of the lawsuit ….. I think this raises very valid points about why government should not be involved in art. I think there s a legitimate complaint about the government espousing a viewpoint ….. because the government in doing so essentially sets up an official orthodoxy of thought. We typically hear this argument made in religion based cases ….. but our religious matters are not the only things we are supposed to be free to think about. This is why many libetarians including myself would keep the government out of education and out of arts funding. It may be in this case that most of us feel the position taken by the government is "correct." But what if a local government somewhere wanted to use tax dollars to put up a memorial celebrating the Ku Klux Klan ?

  24. Chris R. says:

    I used to drive by an Armenian genocide memorial next to the 60 every day. It reminded me that we always need to question the use of force no matter how insignificant we see it at the time. I wouldn't want that reflection taken away from future generations.

  25. nlp says:

    If taken to a logical extreme, could this suit be used as a basis for various groups to file suit demanding that textbooks be edited to remove certain information that they object to? They'd lose, certainly, due to the 1st amendment, but it would still take time and money.

    Several years ago Boston's MFA had a display about the comfort women, and it was probably even worse than anyone thought. Three level bunk beds were used. Not separate rooms. Just many bunk beds in a room.

  26. NS says:

    @Pete

    …what if a local government somewhere wanted to use tax dollars to put up a memorial celebrating the Ku Klux Klan ?

    Then you'd know what community to avoid, assuming you don't agree with that sort of thing. Local governments should be free to set up whatever memorials and art installations they like. Local citizens should be free to hold said governments to account for their actions, including through voter recall, or injunctions. The rest of the state, nation, and world can go pound salt, if we don't like it, we have a choice where we spend our money and time.
    I think your main point is stronger when looking at the state and federal level. Your congressman is in theory your neighbor, but you may have never met the man, or been anywhere near him. My mayor gets his mail from the same letter carrier as me, and I know when he forgets to mow his lawn… The more distant from accountability, the less freedom to act a government should be given…

  27. Dan Weber says:

    These women are often referred to as comfort women, a loose translation of the Japanese word for prostitute

    My leg reflexively kicked up as I read that, hitting my desk hard enough that some people looked at me to see what that noise was.

    I wager that that sentence was decided by a committee who thought it was the best way to subtly work in their viewpoint. They thought wrong.

  28. Zelmel says:

    These women are often referred to as comfort women, a loose translation of the Japanese word for prostitute

    That is a particularly disingenuous way for them to dismiss the issue, as there is not exactly a lot of commonality between the (many) ways to say "prostitute" and the term for "comfort woman." They don't have similar pronunciations and the Chinese characters used to write them are only vaguely similar.

  29. Waldo says:

    Anybody can file a frivolous lawsuit. What amazes me is that Mayer Brown is representing these jokers. Why would they want to hurt their reputation over something so foolish? And, who's footing the bill? Whoever it is, is looking at least a 6 figure legal bill to take this to trial. There's a lot more to the story. Someone with a lot of cash and/or influence is behind this lawsuit. Probably someone using Mayer Brown for their normal legal business.

  30. pharniel says:

    Recently one of the prominent Japanese officials (iirc Mayor of Tokyo but could have been the PM) was seen posing with a plane who's number was "731". Yeah. THAT 731.

    Between that and this Lawsuit I suggest that all diplomats arrive on a plane named the Enola Gay or Bockscar.

  31. Ron Larson says:

    In related news, the State of Virginia is being threatened by Japanese diplomats for changing their school textbooks to mention that the Sea of Japan is know as the East Sea in Korea. This change was instigated by a Korean in Virginia who was upset that his daughter was taught the "Sea of Japan" name.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/textbook-change-to-acknowledge-east-sea-passes-the-virginia-house/2014/02/05/2051d760-8eba-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html

  32. Dan Weber says:

    And If you thought the context would make that sentence be less abominable, you would mistaken.

    During World War II and the decade leading up to it, an unknown number of women from Japan, Korea, China, and a number of nations in Southeast Asia, were recruited, employed, and/or otherwise acted as sexual partners for troops of the Japanese Empire in various parts of the Pacific Theater of war. These women are often referred to as comfort women, a loose translation of the Japanese word for prostitute.

  33. Jack says:

    @Waldo,

    Mayer Brown has a heavy practice in Asia, especially after absorbing JSM. They are probably either doing this as a favor to a large client, or trying to expand their Asia presence to Japan. Either way, I guarantee it's about appealing to clients (current or future). Not that this makes it any less despicable.

  34. NI says:

    So, the plaintiffs suffered feelings of "exclusion, discomfort, and anger." How do they suppose the comfort women felt?

  35. Mark Wing says:

    The last thing we want to do is interfere with the federal government's right to incompetently conduct foreign policy. How dare the city of Glendale improve our global standing. Meddling bastards.

  36. Nicholas Weaver says:

    A question: What is the ability of Glendale in response to look into GAHT's finances during discovery?

    It seems almost certain that this corporate entity, which is opaque by design, was created specifically to create a plaintiff who's actually able to pay for this suit. The site was only registered in November, so this appears to be a newly created entity.

  37. Bernard King says:

    This seems like a rare opportunity to invoke the 10th Amendment. Since the power to erect statues commemorating foreign events is not delegated to the Federal government, nor prohibited to be exercised by the states, the memorial here is not one the Federal courts may prohibit.

  38. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Randazza also flagged the ownership issue, and that the US side was not registered as a corporation until February 6th.

    This really reeks of "invented plaintiff capable of funneling the money for paying the huge legal bill for a $800/hr lawfirm"

  39. Aaron Kirkpatrick says:

    Thank You for bringing my attention to this… I tried to find more info on GHAT-US and found this article.

    https://randazza.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/mayer-brown-shame-on-you/

    "Well, if we look for GAHT-US (The “Global Alliance for Historical Truth”), what do we find? We find that it is a corporation that someone created on February 6, 2014. After 14 days of legal existence, this lawsuit was GAHT-US’s first act — well after slapping up a web page.

    This “Global Alliance’s” address is 1223 Wilshire Boulevard #613. That’s a UPS Store."

  40. Waldo says:

    @ Jack, thanks for info, that makes perfect sense.

  41. Pete says:

    @NS

    Your answer is legitmate if we are talking about private businesses. I can choose which business to patronize and deny them my money. But government rules by force. I do not get an option whether to contribute my tax dollars or not. Sure

  42. SirWired says:

    Well, when the inevitable decision telling these clowns to take a hike comes down the wire, I hope the judge is one of those delightfully sarcastic ones that excorciates the plaintiffs, their counsel, and the very idea that this suit was a good idea. The more humiliating, the better. I'm sure there's an appropriate Star Trek (or maybe Back To The Future) reference that could be worked in?

  43. Mike says:

    @Jack — I might have missed someone responding already, but on the association standing question:

    An association has standing when (1) “its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right”; (2) “the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose”; and (3) “neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.” Hunt v. Wash. State Apple Adver. Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343 (1977).

    Since it looks like this organization was basically created to bring this suit, and the relief involves just getting rid of the statue, then its standing would turn only on whether its members would have standing, and it makes no difference whether it's the organization or its members that bring this suit.

  44. Chuck says:

    @Darryl, @Pat:

    I don't see the first claim operating as a 1983 claim. The suit doesn't allege that the plaintiffs' civil rights have been violated under color of law; it alleges that Glendale has interfered with the supremacy of the US government in foreign affairs. (In fact, apart from the jaw-dropping outrageousness of all this, I'm wondering how on earth they have standing to bring the claim in the first place, or how this isn't a nonjusticiable political question.)

    EDITED: That said, I have no idea about the supposed issues with Glendale not following its own rules for statues and such.

  45. SirWired says:

    Also, IANAL, but the legal basis (in addition to the factual basis) for the suit seems 100% ridiculous.

    I don't see anything in the constitution that prevents local governments from having an opinion on foreign relations or pissing off foreign governments. (Indeed, they do so all the time…)

    And I can make no sense whatsoever of the claim that the memorial violates the Glendale Municipal Code. They start off by pointing out that the code requires adhesion to Roberts Rules of Order during council meetings, and then says that since the council did not specifically debate the text on the memorial, the rules weren't followed. That's a might big leap from point A to point B.

  46. Dan Weber says:

    Wow, Nichloas's find over at Randazza's blog is very interesting. IANAL but it seems that GAHT-US didn't exist until recently, and it still just a UPS mailbox.

    The whois record for their website shows that it got updated about two days ago, and the Wayback machine has nothing for it, making it extremely new. The whois owner is in Ohio; I don't know if that's a sysadmin or an owner or some unsuspecting patsy. Wait, google vaguely suggests he is friends with a law firm in Ohio. Huh.

    *BEGINEDIT*
    Oh, I think he's just the guy who created their website, probably didn't know the editorial content since it's in Japanese. Usually a company will hide or formally transfer the domain so we'd never notice him.
    *ENDEDIT*

    Brand new corporation for a lawsuit? Maybe there's an innocent explanation (IA still NAL) but . . . weird. Is this usual?

  47. Jesse says:

    Well … yuck. The motion to dismiss should make for interesting reading. Having heavily participated in one of the very few Foreign Affairs Powers cases ever considered by the United States Supreme Court, it will be very interesting to see just how far Mayer is able to twist the doctrine to try and establish some kind of Foreign Affairs Power preemption zone that neuters states from engaging in otherwise permissible conduct just because it engenders some kind of unspecified butt hurt to a foreign interest group. This thing smells like a complete loser to me, since there is no real tangible expression of U.S. foreign policy that the monument is at odds with. Plaintiffs need to be able to point to an executive order, a bilateral agreement (that falls below the level of treaty), or some other very concrete expression of U.S. policy addressing a subject that is traditionally handled by the Executive Branch. Vague media statements by the Department of State designed to mollify both Japan and South Korea doesn't seem close to enough to trigger any kind of Foreign Affairs Power analysis. For anyone dying to know more about the Foreign Affairs Power, take a look at American Ins. Assn. v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396 (2003).

  48. Mike says:

    @Chuck — as to standing, I don't think the nature of the law allegedly violated really plays into the analysis. What you need is injury (butthurtness about going to the park (might be insufficient)) and causation (butthurt is traceable to the statue and redressable by getting rid of the statue). I agree with you about the political questions issue, though. And there may be a prudential standing problem — for example, don't they basically say this grievance is generalized to the whole country of Japan?

  49. Darryl says:

    @Jesse-Does the fact that Plaintiffs assert that the US is not taking any position in the matter (the only position being "we are staying out of it and Japan and Korea need to work it out themselves") harm their argument regarding the Foreign Affairs Powers? It seems to me it would but I have no expertise in this area.

  50. Dan Weber says:

    I don't see anything in the constitution that prevents local governments from having an opinion on foreign relations or pissing off foreign governments. (Indeed, they do so all the time…)

    One of the California cities — I think Berkeley, but it's probably lots of them — passes resolutions all the freaking time about various foreign wars and incidents. To which most people just roll their eyes and move on with their day, even if they live there. I can't even imagine me having standing to tell them to STFU.

    I don't think lawsuits like this should be illegal, provided proper standing from actual residents, because the law is how people can protect themselves against improper government actions. This is one of those "fight bad-speech with more-speech" situations.

  51. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    While I was living in or near Washington D.C. I used to note that every couple of years some schmedrick would get his panties in a bunch about the exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Air And Space Museum. One year the fuss became cocktail-party talk at an affaire I was attending and I fear I shocked a number of nice, well-meaning Liberals when I said I thought that the display should have a banner added which said, in Japanese, "Rape Nanking again, we bomb you again, capisce?".

    Because we expected better of the Germans, and thus tend to focus on Nazi bestialism, we tend to forget just how squalid the Imperial Japanese State was. We shouldn't, because it means that we keep getting caught flat-footed by how deeply the Japanese are despised by the countries they conquered.

  52. Luke says:

    @C.S.P –

    Friend of mine had a similar thought when I was living there. He wanted to stand in front of the protesters with a sign that said "Nanking Memorial"

  53. Jesse says:

    @Darryl I think it does harm their argument. In the few instances the power has been exercised, there has been a conflict between state action and a clearly expressed federal policy, but to my recollection the federal policy at issue has never been inaction or neutrality. In any event, one cannot credibly argue that Glendale's memorial is interfering with the US's ability to claim neutrality.

  54. Suedeo says:

    I got a sunburn, and it hurt! Japan needs to change its flag.

  55. Just looking through Mayer Brown's site, this does seem an odd case for a firm with what seems like a large presence in China… but no office in Japan… to be taking on. But in big organizations, lots of odd things can happen simply because of there being so many moving parts.

    In some office, somewhere, I am sure somebody is saying, "Because billable hours."

  56. Matthew Cline says:

    @Dan Weber:

    One of the California cities — I think Berkeley, but it's probably lots of them — passes resolutions all the freaking time about various foreign wars and incidents.

    As a resident of Berkeley I can say that yes, the city council does have its own foreign policy.

    To which most people just roll their eyes and move on with their day, even if they live there.

    Yep, that's what I do.

  57. zen accountant says:

    Having been to yasukuni several times, I feel some commentary is warranted on the shrine and who is enshrined there. The shrine is dedicated to all who died serving the nation's armed forces. That sounds fairly innocent, until you see the conflicts that the nations armed forces fought in.

    Then you see the museum on the property. That is the real reason that I view yasukuni as an evil place. The museum is insanely biased, denying that atrocities took place, denying even that Japan and Germany were allies or fighting the same war. It's what I weigh on the other side of the scales against the peace park, and why I would make the same decision as Truman. Might have chosen a different target, but not any major change.

  58. John says:

    Wait a minute… I want to make sure I understand this…

    The people being honored were taken from their home country, being held against their will, and made to provide … Personal service to Japanese soldiers during WWII?

    I'm not sure that my thoughts on this are worth even one cent, but I believe that whether or not the honorees were paid is immaterial, and I believe there is a description of these acts when taken as a whole: "human trafficking".

    It may be arguable that in denying these events that these organizations and persons filing this suit are in effect supporting human trafficking…

  59. Matthew Cline says:

    @zen accountant:

    Then you see the museum on the property. That is the real reason that I view yasukuni as an evil place. The museum is insanely biased … denying even that Japan and Germany were allies or fighting the same war.

    Wait, what?! Does anyone actually believe that?

  60. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    @Matthew Cline;

    There are idiots who believe that the Holocaust never happened. There are imbeciles that accept THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION at face value.

    If you watch much Anime, you run into this; there are Japanese creators who criticize it bitterly.

  61. Jackson Marten says:

    They should take down the memorial.

    And replace it with a sculpture of a giant middle finger, oriented directly towards Japan.

    "Hey, we took down the offensive memorial, what's your problem?"

  62. Ted says:

    I'm sure Glendale will develop a very sophisticated 40 page brief that will say something like "right to conduct foreign policy" doesn't equal "right to do any little miscellaneous action that might conceivably have an impact on the pride of ultra nationalists in Japan".

    I say Glendale should stick it to them and publish a website specifically dedicated to a detailed history of comfort women in WWII. Maybe even print out a nice bound volume and send it plaintiffs c/o Mayer Brown. Publish the legal proceedings, translated into Japanese, on the website too, so Japanese citizens can express their disapproval of this ridiculous lawsuit made on behalf of nationalist elements in the Japanese government. Maybe hold an annual festival and invite veteran and community groups from Japan to help commemorate the lessons of the war.

  63. ZarroTsu says:

    From my understanding, there's a large portion of Japan that could be considered "purists" in a way. They're, mostly, the old farts who feel things were better in the 'good ol' days' of Japan as a cultural whole (and not in a good way).

    I suspect this legal issue is tied to these purists, in that tearing down signs of progress will keep them closer to their roots, and enable them to continue their propaganda without restraint (because they removed the restraints in advance).

    Then you see the museum on the property. That is the real reason that I view yasukuni as an evil place. The museum is insanely biased … denying even that Japan and Germany were allies or fighting the same war.

    This is also possibly another lead-in to the same group. Wiping away Japan's ties to the outside world keeps their culture pure, and their morals regressable. It's like if your racist uncle surmounted political power of an entire country.

    I… feel like I should be wrong about everything I just typed. Could someone please tell me I'm misinformed about Japan's politics? It feels like I'm a lunatic spouting nonsense.

  64. Matthew Cline says:

    @ZarroTsu:

    Then you see the museum on the property. That is the real reason that I view yasukuni as an evil place. The museum is insanely biased … denying even that Japan and Germany were allies or fighting the same war.

    This is also possibly another lead-in to the same group. Wiping away Japan's ties to the outside world keeps their culture pure, and their morals regressable. It's like if your racist uncle surmounted political power of an entire country.

    My impression is that it's more like "Our country is good. Therefore, it wouldn't have done these bad things. Therefore, these bad things never happened". In this case, "Japan would never have stooped to allying with the evil Nazis, therefore the claims that Japan did ally with Nazis are false".

  65. 205guy says:

    C.S.P Schofield wrote: "If you watch much Anime, you run into this; there are Japanese creators who criticize it bitterly."

    I agree. I was always a bit bothered by the story of Space Battleship Yamamoto (adapted as Star Blazers in the US), one of the first popular anime series (74-45 in Japan, 79 in the US; it is older now than WWII was at the time). The earth is bomboarded and irradiated, and the heros rebuild the Battleship Yamamoto into a spaceship to save the earth. I guess that can't be called revisionist, but still glorifying Japan's prior military capabilities. I liked Matsumoto's later works much better.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Battleship_Yamato
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_battleship_Yamato
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leiji_Matsumoto

    Then again, what are TV shows and video games for, if not escapism.

  66. Larry says:

    If this foolishness gets any traction I may have to look into what it would take to move this memorial to private property. We could also set up a memorial to the Nanking Massacre victims and include a listing of all the Japanese convicted of war crimes.

    —————–
    Next door would be a memorial to the 442nd Regiment. The regiment was made up of Japanese-Americans and fought in Europe. It was the most highly decorated regiment in the war.

  67. mcinsand says:

    I would think that, if anyone had grounds for a lawsuit, it would be the families of former slaves. It seems that they could assert defamation by having them called prostitutes, or a synonym thereof, rather than more honestly called slaves and rape victims.

    If this new entity will sue over a local memorial, are there any chances that they might go for a Streisand double-down to sue articles about their actions?

  68. M. Alan Thomas II says:

    I think the suit is noxious in both its legal and historical idiocies. That being said, I'm slightly hesitant to grant the government the power of speech on this particular topic; in what way is this particular atrocity of legally cognizable interest to the government that erected the speech regarding it?

    On the legal side, I'd also like to point out a line from the Glendale News-Press article linked in Ken's post: "The official Japanese government line — despite an apology issued in the 1990s — is that the history of comfort women should not be a diplomatic or political issue." If the government of Japan does not consider it a diplomatic issue, why should the U.S. courts?

  69. EPWJ says:

    Great, a "history" group suing to stop global history while promoting global history producing histrionics.

    causes them to suffer "feelings of exclusion, discomfort, and anger because of the position espoused by her city of residence through its display and endorsement" of the monument, and that they avoid the park because it shows a "pointed expression of disapproval of Japan and the Japanese people" and diminishes their enjoyment of the park

    I would perhaps call the following persons and also maybe the Columbia University law school can wade into this fight – after all they have done some emotional gut wretching work in their storied history department

    Document Excerpts with Questions (Longer selection follows this section)
    From True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women, edited by Keith Howard and translated by Young Joo Lee (London: Cassell,
    1995), 42:

    Kim Tŏkchin
    I suddenly heard a Korean man was in the area again recruiting more girls to work in the Japanese factories. …

    On the first night there I was dragged before a high ranking solder and raped…
    Each of us had to serve an average of 30 to 40 men each day, and we often had no time to sleep.

    Personally I would like the two spoiled Japanese Americans to see Ms. Kim in the courtroom and wonder gee, as if they were not the only one's who were inconvenienced by the whole thing

    http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/korea/comfort_women.pdf

  70. anne mouse says:

    Allies of course, but more in the sense of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." "Fighting the same war" is actually overstating the case. Japan was at war on the Asian mainland more or less continually since 1931 [not counting their earlier invasion of Korea]; that's 7 years before the Anschluss. In comparison, Germany was only at war for about six years.

    Notably, the Japanese fought battles with Russia in 1939, about the time when the Germans and Russians were in an alliance to invade Poland. (See: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and compare to 1936 Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Japan.) When Germany attacked Russia a couple years later, the Japanese were happy to have the Russians distracted but never did much to help the Germans out, having already decided on a "strike south" strategy. (In fairness, invading European colonies in southeast Asia did help the German war effort, by restricting the supply of rubber to England. But that wasn't the intent. French Indochina was under Vichy control and willing to accede to a Japanese military presence, but Japan invaded anyway. This was the trigger for the US oil embargo which convinced Japan to launch their desperate gamble at Pearl Harbor. As a result, the US finally entered the war, which was not good news for Germany.)

  71. albert says:

    I wanted to read the plaque text, so I had to read the complaint. IANAL, but there seems like a lot of chaff blocking most of the wheat. It looks like they're essentially saying the City of Glendale has no right to construct a monument which offends some people.

    Wonder if the monument was financed by private individuals? I guess the plaintiffs would need to do a different dance.

    Am I being too simple-minded here?

    Also, the GAHT-US Corporation is listed in the complaint as a "non-profit" corporation. Non-profits are required to file Federal Form 990 with the IRS if they gross more than $25,000/year, the next filing deadline will be May 15, 2015. They must also file an application for exempt status (Form 1023). Both of these forms must be available to the public. (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation returns are fascinating reading, as are those for the SETI Institute:)

    I made a joke to myself "I wonder if they used legalzoom?", then I followed Aaron's links, and, sure enough, they did!

    I gotta go…

  72. BLM4L says:

    This lawsuit makes me so SOOOOOO angry. Just awful.

    Almost sent the following email from my law firm account to rzadikany@mayerbrown.com

    Thought better of it, but the email is below:

    Ruth,

    I’m emailing you to see if you might be willing to accept a referral for potential litigation similar to the Glendale “comfort women” memorial suit you are working on now.

    The idea of the litigation is this: the City of ____________, a public entity, has placed on public land a memorial to a certain historical event or series of events often referred to as “the Holocaust” (which is loosely translated to “sin offering”) or “Endlosung der Judenfrage” (which is loosely translated to “a final plan for Jews”). The suit would seek injunctive relief, i.e. the removal of the memorial.

    In case you are not familiar with this event: during the World War II period, many Jews died, as, of course, did many non-Jewish Poles, French, Russians, Italians, etc. Some people say that certain members of the German government and/or certain members of the German military and/or certain members of the German police force singled out Jews for killings. Other people assert that no such special targeting occurred, and that Jewish fatalities generally resulted either from the activities of private firms and individuals, or from the general conditions of World War II, such as bombings, hunger, disease, etc.

    Of course, the debate concerning historic responsibility for Jewish deaths during the World War II period has been a significant source of tension between Israel and European nations, especially Germany. Indeed, in relation to the issues of anti-Israel boycotts, Palestinian statehood, and Iranian nuclear armament – all indisputably vital items on America’s foreign policy agenda – debate has arisen as to the meaning of Jewish deaths during the World War II period, and the implications of that historical debate on the interests of America’s vital partner in the Middle East, Israel. Even governments that do endorse the “special targeting” view of the "Holocaust", such as the U.S. and France, have often expressed conflicting views about that event’s impact and meaning for ongoing intergovernmental relations. The City's monument may therefore impermissibly interfere with the U.S. foreign policy.

    Moreover, there are certain people who suffer feelings of exclusion, discomfort, and anger when contemplating memorials to the “Holocaust” – especially those memorials that assert that Jewish deaths during World War II resulted from some organized scheme implemented by the German government. They would presumably like to enjoy downtown ____________ but the presence of the memorial downtown may impede their enjoyment. (As you can see, standing should not be an issue).

    Please let me know if you can provide assistance.

    Thanks,

    BLM4L

  73. Jonathan Grayson says:

    This lawsuit is not nearly so frivolous as you might think. Read Garamendi, and then read the unanimous en banc opinion in Movsesian.

  74. Trent says:

    I'm not sure that my thoughts on this are worth even one cent, but I believe that whether or not the honorees were paid is immaterial, and I believe there is a description of these acts when taken as a whole: "human trafficking".

    The appropriate term is sexual slavery. It's immaterial whether the slaves were given remuneration. Held against your will and forced labor are slavery, the forced labor being sex makes it sexual slavery. Though there was likely human trafficking involved as well in that the sexual slaves were likely moved around as well that doesn't change the fact that they were enslaved for sexual purposes.

    IMO the reason Japan suffers from so much denial about the atrocities of WWII is because the US really only punished those engaged in war crimes against US soldiers. All the soldiers involved in Nanking and experiments that give Dr. Mangel a run for his money for their atrocities were never punished. The US swept the worst of the worst under the rug so that Japan would remain an ally after the end of the war in a fight against the Soviets. It was IMO that sweeping under the rug that has allowed this issue to fester. Had the US setup the gallows and hung all the senior soldiers (and many of the minor soldiers) like we did in Germany, Japan wouldn't suffer from this denial as heavily as it does. It's precisely because they've never been confronted with a public punishment (like a public hanging) of the perpetrators that this nationalistic rewriting of history persists. Some of those involved in war crimes later became successful businessmen and helped Japan become an economic power which only exacerbates the desire to rewrite history.

    Japan needs to confront this issue of denial and deal with it forcefully IMO.

  75. Jack says:

    @Jonathan Grayson:

    Seriously? You can't see the distinction between granting jurisdiction over insurance claims/requiring insurance companies to disclose foreign-issued policies and having a goddamn memorial/statue?

    Yea, it's every bit as frivolous as we think.

  76. barry says:

    Any group with "truth" in its name makes me think of foil hats.

  77. AlphaCentauri says:

    Many of these women are still alive, especially those who at the time were below what is now considered the age of consent.

    The plaintiff's suit refers to them as prostitutes. Just how strong is the immunity from libel suits based on statements made in a legal filing?

  78. Jonathan Grayson says:

    Jack, you might try actually reading the opinion in Movsesian. The holding has little if anything to do with "insurance claims/requiring insurance companies to disclose foreign-issued policies." It's all about whether the authorizing statute could use the word "Genocide." 11-0, no it couldn't. Yeah, I'm not sure I see a huge distinction between a statute having the word "genocide" and a park having a goddamn memorial statue.

  79. Ben says:

    If a town wanted to – and somehow had the means to enforce it – could the town not pass a tax on foreign made goods? I thought the right to make foreign policy was for deciding treaties and such? (That aren't even binding unless congress said so).

    If that's the case isn't every group or organization that's called for a boycott of some nations' goods usurping this power?

  80. Jack says:

    @Jonathan Grayson:

    Sorry, but perhaps you should be the one reading Movsesian again. While the court did use the inclusion of the word genocide as *part* of its reasoning, the crux of the reasoning was that the statute gave plaintiffs redress in state courts and subjected insurance companies to jurisdiction in CA, thus rendering the effect on foreign affairs more than incidental.

    Here there is no such effect whatsoever. Nobody has been given redress or the ability to have any effect on citizens foreign or domestic. It is a memorial, nothing more. If your (incorrect) reading of the case were true, sister city partnerships would likewise be subject to constitutional challenge, as would any missions by state legislators to other countries, etc.

    There is in fact a large distinction between the effect on foreign affairs in the cases you noted, and having a goddamn memorial statue.

  81. bill says:

    @ThirdNews – I normally feel guilty about not blowing off history in undergrad, searching for 731 made me glad I did. As horrific as as the Comfort Women policy was, 731, I'm just lost for words

  82. Jonathan Grayson says:

    I see the sentence you are seizing upon in the last paragraph of Movsesian, but it is rather a stretch to call that the crux of the reasoning given the preceding paragraphs:

    Section 354.4 has “more than some incidental or indirect
    effect” on foreign affairs. Zschernig, 389 U.S. at 434. The
    statute expresses a distinct political point of view on a specific
    matter of foreign policy. It imposes the politically charged
    label of “genocide” on the actions of the Ottoman Empire
    (and, consequently, present-day Turkey) and expresses sympathy
    for “Armenian Genocide victim[s].” Cal. Civ. Proc.
    Code § 354.4. The law establishes a particular foreign policy
    for California—one that decries the actions of the Ottoman
    Empire and seeks to provide redress for “Armenian Genocide
    victim[s]” by subjecting foreign insurance companies to lawsuits
    in California. See id.; Zschernig, 389 U.S. at 441 (holding
    that, even in the absence of a conflicting federal policy,
    a state may violate the constitution by “establish[ing] its own
    foreign policy”).

    . . .

    The passage of nearly a century since the events in question
    has not extinguished the potential effect of section 354.4 on
    foreign affairs. On the contrary, Turkey expresses great concern
    over the issue, which continues to be a hotly contested
    matter of foreign policy around the world. See, e.g., Turkey
    retaliates over French ‘genocide’ bill, BBC, Dec. 22, 2011
    (reporting that the Turkish prime minister announced measures
    against France after the French National Assembly
    passed a bill criminalizing denial of the “Armenian Genocide”);
    Peter Baker, Obama Marks Genocide Without Saying
    the Word, N.Y. Times, Apr. 25, 2010, at A10 (noting that
    President Obama was careful to avoid using the word “genocide”
    during a commemorative speech in an attempt to “avoid
    alienating Turkey, a NATO ally, which adamantly rejects the
    genocide label”).

    And if you still think the case is more about jurisdiction in California than the word "genocide," go back and listen to how the attorney from Mayer Brown argued Movsesian before the en banc court. But yeah, I'm sure that case isn't especially connected to this one.

  83. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    And I'm sure the few publicly financed memorials and remembrances of John Brown (such as the painting in Kansas State Capitol) interfere with the Federal Government's powers to fight insurrection. And doubtless there are butthurt descendants of former slave owners who feel that such things infringe on their precious rights.

    Yea, right…. What a stupid, absurd, venal, anti-historical lawsuit.

  84. Jack says:

    @Jonathan Grayson:

    And you take those two paragraphs and completely ignore the other paragraphs that discuss the actual effect on foreign affairs past the word "genocide." It's not just the last sentence I'm seizing on, it's more than the two paragraphs that you cite in support of your contention that Movsesian is just about whether or not the word "genocide" can be used. Do you seriously think that the case would have come out the same if someone had sued the state regarding a memorial to victims of the Armenian genocide?

  85. Ben says:

    Thanks! That makes more sense to me now. Still, what if a city wanted to invest a surplus (not likely these days, i know most cities are operating at a loss, but hypothetically …) in a fund that included foreign assets? Because it 'exposes' the city to another country's fiscal / regulatory laws it would be unconstitutional?

    What is the core concern? That foreign powers will develop a stranglehold on our politics one suburb at a time?

  86. Jonathan Grayson says:

    Do you honestly think the case would have come out the same if the statute had not used the word "genocide"? Again, try listening to Mayer Brown attorney at oral argument. Try reading the briefs prepared by said attorney. Oh, and you might also notice who wrote Movsesian and who wrote Garamendi.

  87. Wade says:

    MB has a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/mayerbrown, where they tout their commitment to civil rights and to equal opportunity. A few comments might be in order, just to keep the clerkship/fratboy kiddies at the firm busy. I may represent child molesters and wifebeaters, but I don't go so far as to try to ban their victims from speaking in public.

  88. Jack says:

    @Jonathan Grayson:

    Hate to break it to you, but briefs and oral arguments are not binding precedent. The opinion is, and does not even come close to making the use of the word "genocide" the deciding factor.

    You might wanna tell many of these municipalities that they are apparently violating the Constitution, hm? http://www.armenian-genocide.org/current_category.75/memorials_list.html

  89. Third News says:

    @bill, I write at least one story on every blog I've had, and I can't tell you how many people tell me that very thing. There a pictures of their experimentation and one of the doctors made it his mission in life to speak out about his crimes.

    I don't understand why this is not taught in schools along with the Holocaust

  90. Jonathan Grayson says:

    Jack, hate to break it to you, but you don't understand Movsesian or the foreign affairs preemption nearly as well as you think you do. Interestingly enough, the Movsesian plaintiffs made pretty much that exact same argument, probably the exact same list, arguing that if the court found for Victoria Versicherung, it would indeed call into question all of those memorials. 11-0. And the larger point, which you seem to have completely missed, is that given the potential expansiveness of Movsesian (even if it could also be limited as you suggest), the current lawsuit is far from "frivolous" as that word is used in the legal realm. It's almost like that lawyer from Mayer Brown was familiar with Movsesian or something…

  91. bill says:

    @ThirdNews – It sounds so Alex Jonesish it's actually hard to really comprehend, then the pictures. I couldn't even begin to find the right words for such horror.

  92. Jack B. says:

    @Matthew Cline:

    Wait, what?! Does anyone actually believe that?

    Hopefully someone can come up with some solid numbers/stats, but I've read that there is a very small minority in Japan (something like 7%) that do hold on to beliefs like that.

  93. Castaigne says:

    Ken, is Glendale in your general bailiwick of operation? I'm not familiar with CA and locations, but I would think if it were you'd be taking a hand in killing this sucker.

    @barry:

    Any group with "truth" in its name makes me think of foil hats.

    You've got a hell of a point there.

  94. Third News says:

    @Bill, I don't follow the idiocy Alex Jones but I find it inexpiable that most Americans have no clue. The politics of the time protected the Japanese then but it is to the detriment of justice that we ignore history. Historiography should not be ignored, and it is deliberative on the part of some to do so now. It is a touch of irony that the oldest Holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer just passed away at 110 and mercifully, her story is not ignored.

  95. Palimpsest says:

    Has anyone informed Mayer Brown's Chinese clients about their involvement in this case? I'm sure they're bound to be impressed.

  96. joshuaism says:

    I'm guessing the Koichi Mera listed in the lawsuit is the same business school professor giving revisionist history lectures about America entering the war and posting the videos to youtube. That's a debatable position, but it looks like he has gone full retard now, preaching Japan's innocence regarding any war atrocities.

    I'm more curious about this Michiko Shiota Gingery who appears to be a Japanese war bride (based on assumptions garnered from some minor internet sleuthing). Why does she buy into the ultra-nationalist Japanese bs? Does she see her life story as an example of Japan's victimhood to American Imperialism? Is she upset she didn't get a monument too?

  97. Bob Brown says:

    Well, I've posted a link to this blog entry in three places on the Mayer-Brown Facebook site. We shall see whether I am sued. Might need the Popehat Signal.

  98. Bob Brown says:

    And also… could this case possibly be assigned to Judge Edward Chen? (I know; central district is not the same as northern district, but it sure would be fun.)

  99. AlphaCentauri says:

    @bill, @Third News:
    I had heard vague descriptions of the human experiments carried out by the Japanese, though not the details of how the US offered the doctors immunity in order to keep the results of their research away from the Russians (nor did I realize the massive number of doctors who were working at the facility).

    One thing that a lot of people are missing in this "Japan is evil/Japan is being maligned" argument is that Japanese culture and religion are less of an issue than people think here. One doctor was quoted as speaking about how difficult the first vivisection was, and how by the third, he was not bothered by them. Medical training involves being able to overlook human horror in order to attend to the needs of the patient when that is what is called for. Doctors are good at compartmentalizing their emotions. If you've been in a car accident and your eyeball is hanging out, you want your doctor to get to work fixing you up instead of screaming and vomiting. But combined with secrecy and nationalism, that ability to act without emotion creates a high risk of this happening again, no matter what the baseline moral beliefs of the society are. We need to think of this as an issue that all doctors must be aware of and an issue that all societies must guard against, rather than lull ourselves into a sense of safety that such a thing could only happen under a Shinto god-emperor.

  100. Castaigne says:

    Off-Topic: Damn, the Mann/Steyn thread is closed. And I had some excellent factual rebuttals too. Oh well. Too late!

  101. paranoid123 says:

    Maybe I just need to get my meds adjusted, but:

    1. The origin and financing of the lawsuit is effectively opaque.

    2. The law firm in question is reported to have a large business in China, but little or no business in Japan.

    3. This lawsuit looks like it will really raise the irritation levels between rather vocal parts of the American, Japanese, and Korean populations, easily including various elected politicians.

    4. Foreign Relations between China and : Japan, Korea, and their major ally, the United States, are ah… troubled. And getting worse. And China's internal dynamic is getting a little iffy.

    5. It may just be my paranoia, but why should we assume that the origin of this lawsuit is Japanese?

    6. How do you spell Agent Provocatour in English? (Or for that matter, in French?)

    Or maybe its just my meds. Again.

    JG

  102. Third News says:

    @AlphaCentauri, Yes, there is a psychological game in referring to your patient as 'meat', and Unit 731 physicians twined this practice when they named their patients 'wood'.

    My comments are neither a discussion on how some men find torture, and murder easier with practice but specifically the ignored Japanese participation in inflicting human horror:

    Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia.[13][11]
    Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Scientists performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results.[14][11] The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants.[15]
    Vivisections were also performed on pregnant women, sometimes impregnated by doctors, and the fetus removed.[16]
    Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss.[11]
    Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body.[11]
    Some prisoners' limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.
    Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines.[11]
    Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc. were removed from some prisoners.[17][13][11]

    Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=200_1264053728#C5OF5b7tyRGrW2ys.99

  103. Daryl Herbert says:

    "The plaintiff's suit refers to them as prostitutes. Just how strong is the immunity from libel suits based on statements made in a legal filing?"

    On one hand, it's 100% strong. The general* rule is that you can't file a new lawsuit based on a defamatory statement in an existing lawsuit.

    However, the idea behind that doctrine is that we don't want one lawsuit to spawn another lawsuit, because then there would be too many lawsuits. The idea is that if somebody files a lawsuit, there's already judge presiding over that first lawsuit who can sanction the parties to that lawsuit for making defamatory statements. So theoretically, the rape victims could try to intervene and ask the federal judge to sanction the plaintiffs (and their attorneys) for defamation. I would love to see a federal judge issue an order to show cause why Mayer Brown's counsel should not be sanctioned for defamation. Being accused of prostitution, as opposed to being a rape victim, would be libel per se…

    * I call this a "general" rule because I don't want to be accused of giving legal advice, the rule might vary by jurisdiction, etc… if you have a legal question, consult a lawyer

  104. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    Clearly this is not about art.

    Seems to me we are heading for a collision between parts of the first amendment establishment clause and the free speech/press clause.

  105. Cat G says:

    Wouldn't this legal theory also preclude trade missions by states and cities to other countries, as well as the NYPD's foreign expeditionary force?

  106. piperTom says:

    There is a First Amendment issue here. It must be borne that the First sometimes works for the despicable. Each and every tax paying resident of Glendale was charged to support the sentiment expressed. Were they unanimous? (That'd be a first!) The city of Glendale could have been more creative in financing their statement.

    This doesn't mean that any of the current plaintiffs have standing or that they aren't asshats. (What?! I disagreed with Ken? Let me check to see if pigs are flying, too.)

  107. ZarroTsu says:

    @Matthew Cline:

    My impression is that it's more like "Our country is good. Therefore, it wouldn't have done these bad things. Therefore, these bad things never happened". In this case, "Japan would never have stooped to allying with the evil Nazis, therefore the claims that Japan did ally with Nazis are false".

    I agree, and what we typed is two views of the same core issue.

    Rather than be wrong, they're deciding to never have had the issue to be wrong about in the first place. It stands to be seen if what I said is or isn't crazed memory vomit gibberish, but I feel it still ties to the idea that Japan is out to regress their timeline through the well tested method of "Step 3) ???, Step 4) Profit."

    I think we can at least agree that this political idea is really friggin weird and/or insane and/or dumb.

  108. Greg says:

    I'll admit to not being as well-versed on some aspects of WW2 history as I should be. While I'm grateful that this thread has led me to do further reading into a number of topics, the atrocities surrounding the "comfort women," Unit 731, and especially the Nanking Massacre, have both sickened and saddened me beyond belief.

  109. NS says:

    @Pete

    Your answer is legitmate if we are talking about private businesses. I can choose which business to patronize and deny them my money. But government rules by force. I do not get an option whether to contribute my tax dollars or not. Sure

    Your government rules you by force, but a municipal government of a town or city you don't live in? They might as well me a private business as far as your tax dollars are concerned. Sure, they get some cash from the state, and the feds, but so do lots of businesses in the US.
    As I said, people living in our hypothetical municipality should have recourse through political means. Everyone outside that sphere of influence should just mind their business… Why should a person living in, say, New York have a say in what memorials are put up in, oh, St. Louis? A state or Fed level meddling in what a municipality can say through how they, through their elected officials, decorate their town is, in my view, way worse than a bit of ornamental work in some packet park I'll probably never even hear about.

  110. A. Nagy says:

    @205guy Space Battleship Yamato

    It actually had a new animated remake last year and it was absolutely fantastic. It's a bit heavy on national pride that they tried to convert into Humanity pride. However, considering that one of the big points of the series was justifying the US's nuclear bomb usage, something you can still find people bashing on, I imagine was pretty out there at the time for Japan. Heck I felt like the villians in the series were more designed around Imperial Japan while team good guys were more westernized.

  111. tmitsss says:

    Will they come next for Billy Farrow Highway and Farrow Parkway? Surely it must offend some Japanese Tourists to Myrtle Beach to see a roadway dedicated to a Doolittle Raider captured cruelly executed by the Imperial Japanese Army?

  112. Dan T. says:

    I remember American veterans getting offended a year or two ago when the TV show "The Amazing Race" made one of their checkpoints a site in Vietnam where the remains of a crashed (shot down?) U.S. military aircraft were found, celebrated by the Vietnamese as a victory against imperialist aggression or some such thing.

  113. AlphaCentauri says:

    @paranoid123: Sadly, your paranoid idea would at least make sense, unlike the actual lawsuit.

  114. palindrom says:

    While I'm quick to admit that Americans have done awful things in wars from time to time, I've always felt that the Japanese refusal to face their horrific war-crimes record is downright scandalous. They should have been held to the same standard as the Germans.

  115. Mercury says:

    Can’t really disagree with Ken’s argument but perhaps it’s not really the best use of public space in the United States to erect memorials honoring the memory of people involved in events that have nothing to do with the United States.

    Neither the Holocaust nor the Japanese Comfort Women episode really has anything to do with American history (besides the MLK statue do Americans erect positive memorials anymore?).

    Taken to the extreme, various advocacy groups could (already?) make a point of setting up public memorials to any number of atrocities that have taken place in any space/time simply to stick a finger in the eye of some other group. Surely there are better uses for the commons than to turn them tribal guilt and shame theme parks

    Anyway, just because it’s legal doen't mean it's a good idea.

  116. melK says:

    @mercury: … Surely there are better uses for the commons than to turn them tribal guilt and shame theme parks

    Tribal guilt and shame theme parks… like the many and various Vietnam war memorials? Most war memorials only honor the fallen on "our" side, regardless of the whether the cause or means has been judged "just" by history. (Witness the earlier comments about the "war criminal shrine" in Japan…)

    … but perhaps it's not really the best use of public space in the United States to erect memorials honoring the memory of people involved in events that have nothing to do with the United States.

    See this article the describes…"The Glendale memorial was built largely at the request of the area’s large Korean-American community. People of the United States; immigrants and their progeny. History doesn't have to happen to the nation itself, to be important to citizens therein.

  117. Mercury says:

    @melK

    I don't know of any Vietnam War memorials in the US dedicated to victims of US actions.

    Sure, all kinds of extra-US history can be important to US citizens from all different backgrounds – I'm just not convinced that the public square is the best place to express that kind of thing.

  118. Ed says:

    @Bob Brown, how did you post something to Meyer Brown's Facebook page? I am admittedly not well versed in such things, but did not see a venue to do so. Do you have to "Like" them first? Talk about mixed messages…

    And yes, Meyer Brown would do well to think about whatever short-term fee gains they're getting from this case vs. alienating their Chinese and potentially Korean clients.

    This is ridiculous.

  119. Weebs says:

    But what if a local government somewhere wanted to use tax dollars to put up a memorial celebrating the Ku Klux Klan?

    Well, there is a Robert Byrd statue in the West Virginia State Capitol.

  120. Jack B. says:

    Those of you who are just now learning about Unit 731 might — if you happen to be into "Extreme Cinema" — look up the 1988 Chinese film Men Behind The Sun. It's a low-budget exploitation film, but for the most part, it's factually correct as to what went on in the camps.

    I'm one of those weirdos who seeks out disturbing and controversial movies, but after seeing Men Behind The Sun, I have no desire to see it again.

  121. SirWired says:

    @Mercury: (besides the MLK statue do Americans erect positive memorials anymore?)

    Well, the next-most-recent memorial in "prime space" on the mall is the FDR memorial. And the WWII memorial isn't that old either. I certainly wouldn't call either one negative.

  122. mtt says:

    The US media and various officials sometimes claim this as a broader issue of human rights and women's rights.
    Yes, this kind of practice had been everywhere and it still exists in some part of Asia.
    Then, they should clearly state as such, and that the US should send a strong warning to where this still exist, namely China and some others.
    At the same time the US media and various officials have been echoing those outrageous accusations by Koreans.

    I would like to question why the US media/ State Dept /elected officials do not stick to the accurate truth, verifiable truth, or at least only to as much as what've been established as historical facts based on careful scrutiny?
    Why the US officials approve those comfort women's statues with bunch of lies carved on them?
    Why do they always exaggerate and create cheap stories like Hollywood stories?
    What's so wrong about talking straight, being responsible for the accuracy?
    They must consider their own and other people such ignorant fools who can pay attentions only when hit by cartoonish stories or colorful lies!
    Why do they constantly put pressure on Japan to twist the facts?
    I think the US interfering Japan's politics and disregarding its sovereignty at present is maybe even more of a problem than the comfort women issue of the past.

    After we learned this habitual practice of the yellow journalism and dishonesty in the US politics, I no longer trust almost anything coming out from them, ,,,, on North Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Russia, China, South America,,,,,they are no longer convincing.

    I once thought Americans are fair, unbiased and transparent.
    But by now most Japanese have seen all those dishonest American tactics which shamelessly resort to concocting sensational stories for mobilizing public opinion.
    Well, they have lost my trust in anything they say.
    Be skeptical and be watchful of their words.
    They seem to think they can stir up Asia and control for their profit.
    When they respect truth and accuracy, they will also regain my respect.

  123. Dan says:

    @piperTom

    No, there isn't a First Amendment issue in play here. There is no right under the First Amendment to not have your government (at the federal, state, or local level) say things you disagree with, nor does the First Amendment protect a right to keep your government from spending money (that is, your money) in a way with which you disagree, so long as endorsement of religion isn't in play (which it isn't here). It is the nature of any democratic society (indeed, of any governed society at all) to be so–rarely will all citizens agree on any subject, yet the government is not thereby prevented from acting or speaking on that subject. Certainly the First Amendment doesn't prevent them from doing so.

  124. mtt says:

    First, those local officials and Koreans must be able to prove what they said are true, verifiable facts.
    What's the use of accusation if they can not even agree on what deeds they are talking about?
    Those former comfort-women have been saying different things every time they spoke.
    By now, both Koreans and Americans also know there's nothing to prove they were kidnapped by Japanese. Japan government have researched even among the war time US military reports, and found them not as kidnapped maidens but only as "highly-paid camp-chasing prostitutes".
    This has become a huge topic in Japan and are very outraged.
    I am 100% certain that not only the Japan-Korea but also the US-Japan relationship will be seriously damaged, unless the US is at least ready to review the accuracy of this absurd soap opera they created.

  125. Jesse says:

    @Jonathan Grayson I don't think this case falls under Movesian and it certainly doesn't fall under Garamendi. Movesian discusses foreign affairs field preemption in the context of a statute that provides a friendly forum for victims of the Armenian genocide to prosecute insurance claims in California. Unlike Garamendi, this did not involve a direct conflict with an expressed foreign policy of the United States, but the 9th Circuit concluded it still violated the foreign affairs power because it amounted to California enacting its own foreign policy.

    So far, I think we're on the same page. But you seem to be arguing that the crux of the decision was California's decision to label Turkey's/the Ottoman Empire's conduct "genocide." I think Movesian makes clear that isn't sufficient.

    Relying on the Supreme Court's discussion of foreign affairs field preemption in Zchernig v. Miller, the 9th Circuit acknowledged a state can only be deemed to be conducting its own foreign policy when the law in question has “more than some incidental or indirect effect in foreign countries.”

    Thus, in Zchernig, the probate statute at issue required Oregon probate courts to conduct minute inquiries in to foreign political systems and to assess the conduct of foreign nations.

    In Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, the 9th Circuit held that CCP § 354.3 in application "would often entail [judicial] inquiry into the reparation efforts of foreign nations, which itself would involve an examination of underlying allegations of Nazi transgressions" and that this ongoing judicial inquiry would conflict with the United States' right to conduct and resolve war.

    Movesian reached a similar conclusion, finding that California courts applying CCP § 354.4 "may therefore have to decide whether the policyholder 'escaped to avoid persecution,' id., which in turn would require a highly politicized inquiry into the conduct of a foreign nation." This equated to California conducting its own foreign policy because "section 354.4 expresses a distinct point of view on a specific matter of foreign policy. Its effect on foreign affairs is not incidental; rather, section 354.4 is, at its heart, intended to send a political message on an issue of foreign affairs by providing relief and a friendly forum to a perceived class of foreign victims."

    Movesian expressly disclaims any consideration of the issue of whether Foreign Affairs preemption could be used to constrain merely expressive conduct by the state. "We need not and do not offer any opinion about California's ability to express support for Armenians by, for example, declaring a commemorative day."

    In order for GAHT-US's lawsuit to proceed, the district court will have to dramatically expand the doctrine of foreign affairs field preemption beyond anything discussed in Zchernig, Garamendi, Von Saher, or Movesian, and conclude that vague butthurt by random citizens in foreign jurisdictions amounts to "more than some incidental or indirect effect in foreign countries." I can't believe any US Court will be excited about taking the doctrine that far.

    Finally, I acknowledge that there's enough authority underlying plaintiff's legal theory to resist a charge of "frivolous" (although, I think the attempted expansion of the foreign affairs preemption doctrine is a clear loser), but I'm still on board with Ken's characterization of the case being contemptible.

  126. mtt says:

    First, those local officials and Koreans must be able to prove what they said are true, verifiable facts.
    What's the use of accusation if they can not even agree on what deeds they are talking about?
    Those former comfort-women have been saying different things every time they spoke.
    By now, both Koreans and Americans also know there's nothing to prove they were kidnapped by Japanese. Japan government have researched even among the war time US military reports, and found them not as kidnapped maidens but only as "highly-paid camp-chasing prostitutes".
    This has become a huge topic in Japan and they are very outraged.
    I am 100% certain that not only the Japan-Korea but also the US-Japan relationship will be seriously damaged, unless the US is at least ready to review the accuracy of this absurd soap opera they created.

  127. Ken White says:

    I let the three posts from the scumbag atrocity-apologist so you can see the sort of thing you'll hear from them, and see the agenda that Mayer Brown and the plaintiffs are promoting. Shame on them.

  128. Jack B. says:

    I'm guessing mtt's IP address resolves to Japan, or some other country where English is not the primary language of its natives.

    Also, I'm pretty sure the upcoming Godzilla reboot is a bigger topic of discussion in Japan than some statue in Glendale, CA.

  129. Fasolt says:

    @mtt:

    In case you were wondering who the scumbag atrocity-apologist is, that would be you.

  130. That Anonymous Coward says:

    Perhaps if they put less time in trying to rewrite and clean up their past they might have time to I dunno, notice a nuclear power facility being woefully inadequate for the area it was placed in. Perhaps they might have noticed that saving face became more important than saving lives. I am sure they feel all icky when they avoid that park, and just know EVERYONE is looking at THEM as being responsible.

    Perhaps one red blooded American should file a lawsuit to remove mentions of the interment camps, or slavery, or thousands of other idiotic things the nation has done. Or perhaps rather than living in denial of things done in the past, use them of examples of what should never be allowed to happen again.

    That statue makes you feel icky… I can be fired for who I am.
    All these things are untrue… Supposedly if I am allowed to marry people will fsck dogs.
    This city will ruin international relations… I caused motherfscking Katrina & Sandy.
    Who is getting the raw deal here?

    Your tale of woe has touched my heart like no other, let me share the advice I've gotten each and every time I've been the target of this sort of thing… Stop squirming you're repressing our religious freedom.

    It matters not how much you spend, you can not erase or rewrite history. You can fill your heads with the notion the country never did anything wrong, but the facts are louder. Spending so much time trying to rewrite the past only sets you up to repeat it. Let the past go, and try for a better future.

  131. Amy Ridenour says:

    Next we'll be seeing subhumans suing on behalf of the Japanese soldiers who murdered babies in China by throwing them in the air and bayonetting them on their way down.

    Can these people be deported?

  132. Danimaux says:

    Regarding Jonathan Grayson's arguments about the applicability of Movsesian and Garamendi here and the common thread of Mayer Brown's involvement:

    I can only presume some clerk at Mayer Brown once typed "statue" instead of "statute" in a memo – it's a classic legal typo – but the error should have been caught by now.

  133. mcinsand says:

    One of the truest tests of a person's character strength is whether that person can face and address mistakes and weaknesses. The same can be said of a country. To deny past horrors is to be a totally spineless wimp. Strength is in acknowledging, growing, and preventing repeat behavior.

  134. Carl says:

    "Japanese politicians were enraged and have repeatedly demanded that the memorial be removed."

    I agree, it should be moved to either Japan or one of the countries from which they kidnapped these women.

    The memorials in California should be for the local innocent Japanese people we imprisoned.

  135. Dictatortot says:

    I'm guessing you'll find, Carl, that there are already such memorials in California. Your shell-fu is weak.

  136. NS says:

    @Carl

    "Japanese politicians were enraged and have repeatedly demanded that the memorial be removed."

    I agree, it should be moved to either Japan or one of the countries from which they kidnapped these women.

    The memorials in California should be for the local innocent Japanese people we imprisoned.

    California is a big place, I think there is room for memorials to both. If the people of Glendale want to request a statue honoring those who suffered internment in the US during the second world war, they can follow the well worn path their Korean-American neighbors did when they asked for the memorial we're discussing here.

    I also see no reason that the public square should not be used to educate, inform, or memorialize whatever the community around it wants. Said community should be expecting their municipal government to facilitate such initiatives, though I will grant that funding shouldn't necessarily be coming out of the tax pool.

  137. chuka says:

    Historical fact about comfort women is that Japanese Military used them to prevent the spreading VD among the soldiers and to reduce rampant rapes of chinese women by Japanese soldiers in china. Many victims were killed without mercy after rapes. Japanese military leaders had been deeply concerned about own sodiers' behavior problem before the Rape of Nanking. Comfort station was established in 1932, before sino-japan war and pacific war.

    Japanese military believed that it is a system necessary to the military action overseas and it was strictly regulated by Japanese Military.
    Even the currently powerful Neto-Uyo (=extreme right wing) organization,the Society for the Dissemination of Historic Fact has one of crucial document in English, Former army doctor, Aso's proposal to Army, 1939, shown in their own site, in which Army logistic department had transported women to China and established comfort stations in China. It is truely ridiculous, they, Japan's extreme right wing cannot understand the evidence based history.

  138. dew says:

    Maybe a bit pedantic, but from the complaint (p16):
    "to introduce a new piece of business or propose a decision or action, a motion must be made by a group member. A second motion must then also be made."

    That is incorrect. Someone makes a motion, and another person seconds that motion. No one makes a second motion (well, except in rare instances). Robert's Rules has a whole section explaining seconding motions.

    IANAL, so I'll guess it is like a spelling mistake and probably makes no real difference other than making some eyes roll. But like an obvious spelling error it seems to me pretty sloppy in the middle of a claim. Especially at the rate Mayer Brown is likely charging…

  139. En Passant says:

    Amy Ridenour wrote Feb 26, 2014 @9:43 pm:

    Next we'll be seeing subhumans suing …

    Can these people be deported?

    Who are "these people"? Plaintiffs? Or Mayer Brown?

    And which are they, "subhumans" or "people"?

    In any case, can any citizen be deported for filing a corrosive, one RCH from frivolous lawsuit? My magic 8-ball has consistently answered, "My sources say no," ever since the 1802 repeal of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

  140. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    @That Anonymous Coward

    "Perhaps if they put less time in trying to rewrite and clean up their past they might have time to I dunno, notice a nuclear power facility being woefully inadequate for the area it was placed in."

    OK, WTF?!?!

    Are you accusing the Japanese of culpability in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, because they build a power plant that couldn't handle the worst earthquake and tsunami in a thousand years? Or are you complaining that that nuclear plant, or some other such in Japan, is inadequate for the power demands it is supposed to serve? From what you wrote, it isn't at all clear. Neither is much of the rest of your post. I get the feeling that there are some valid points I would like to consider in you argument, but I can't really tell what they are.

    Writing as somebody who is ALSO prone to tear off semi-incoherant posts in the heat of rage, I really think you should take three deep breaths and try again.

    @mtt

    none of what I have posted above applies to you. Your post is also muddled, not to say sub-literate, but nothing you seem to be saying is worth clarifying.

  141. JTM says:

    Texas is going to go nuts if case law evolves to the point that only the Feds can remember the Alamo.

  142. AlphaCentauri says:

    Next we'll be seeing subhumans suing on behalf of the Japanese soldiers who murdered babies in China by throwing them in the air and bayonetting them on their way down.

    I get what you're saying. But I think that especially in a discussion like this, the term "subhuman" should be a red flag.

    Yes, Japanese soldiers committed horrible atrocities. But when we're remembering Unit 731, Nanjing, and the Comfort Women, or remembering Dachau, Auschwitz, and St. Petersburg, we need to educate ourselves about Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, Willowcrest Home, My Lai, the conditions under which slaves were transported and confined in forced labor, and even the current conditions in jails and prisons.

    Atrocities are committed by people who make excuses about why the ends justify the means and/or the victims are deserving, not fully human, or not capable of feeling suffering in the same way as members of the ruling class.

    Atrocities don't spring fully-formed from the brows of sociopaths. They grow bit by bit, enabled by throngs of people who don't object at first because they don't feel they have the power to make any difference, and who eventually become inured to what is happening.

  143. AlphaCentauri says:

    mtt: You're not getting it. Rape is a violation of US military regulations.

    When a soldier commits rape, he can be court martialed. When a commander allows his troops to rape, he can be court martialed. Proving rape beyond a reasonable doubt can be difficult, so it often goes unpunished. No one will claim it doesn't occur frequently during wartime, just as innocent civilians are often maimed and killed during a war, too.

    But rape as a result of a failure of discipline is not the same as rape that occurs because women are kept prisoners in government controlled camps because some twisted fuck thought that was a good solution to the problem of soldiers breaking discipline and committing random rapes.

    When women are not free to leave and are not free to limit who and how many people they have sex with, they are not prostitutes. When pre-pubescent girls have sex, they are not competent to consent, so they are not prostitutes. When people are told they are going to work in a factory and end up having sex instead with no ability to leave, they are not willing participants.

    You are making the people of Japan look foolish with your ignorant rants. If you don't know the difference between torture and employment, speak for yourself, not for Japan.

  144. mtt says:

    >AlphaCentauri
    When women are not free to leave and are not free to limit who and how many people they have sex with, they are not prostitutes.

    Exactly.
    Hope someone can prove Japanese military is the one which prevented their leaving, not their Korean pimps or prostitution houses.
    US military also demanded Japan and Korea to provide such facilities during occupation. These facts are well known in both Japan and Korea.
    Please stop your typical American hypocrisy which makes me feel like throwing up.
    Sexual crimes are rampant in the US or Korea, not in Japan.
    From that you can guess their solders behaviors.

  145. chuka says:

    mtt:
    You really need to know history.
    I mentioned about former army docor Mr.Aso who wrote in his diary about a Korean comfort woman under his charge who had fled and was brought back by none other than Dr.Aso himself in 1939. His diary in english is available in Amazon.
    It is well known that comfort station management were completely taken over by military and put under the direct control by each troop they belonged to in 1943 to 1945 and all the hired korean managers were let go by military.
    In Japan ,in 1945 after the defeat, provisional Japanese government has offered prostitution service to US occupation force.
    In order to provide women, Japanese government has recruited many destitute and starving women by offering clerical job in office!!!
    Soon VD spread like a wild fire among the US soldiers and US military had to shut the facilities down.
    Sexual crime is also rampant in Japan, but women were very reluctant to report in the past. Now things are changing, I hope.

  146. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @C. S. P. Schofield – The disaster was historic and unexpected, however the facility was ill prepared for even a smaller event. While politicians are having a hissy fit over a statue in another country, they are ignoring other issues facing their nation. (See also sudden support of insane anti-abortion laws in states where official's feel threatened by the wackjob willing to demand laws to padlock vagina's shut. It isn't exclusive to one nation, but seems to be a symptom of longterm exposure to politics.)

    Then there was a comparison of the "horrible" wrongs the people suing are facing vs what I face in my life. This horrible statue is ruining their lives… I have entire states trying to pass 'Jim Crow' laws and the right to treat me as less than human enshrined in law.

    This case seems like a waste of time, energy, & resources to try and erase the past. Did we not have enough problems in the present & future that we need to focus on the past?

  147. Ursus Maritimus says:

    "Japan would never have stooped to allying with the evil Nazis, therefore the claims that Japan did ally with Nazis are false"

    I think they got their Evil scale inverted when it comes to Germany and Japan there… For example, the Kriegsmarine started out generally following the laws of war at sea, until they got ordered to commit war crimes, orders often ignored. In the Nihon Kaigun on the other hand war crimes was the rule from day one, with isolated cases where some commanders ignored orders to kill survivors and civilians.(http://www.amazon.com/Slaughter-Sea-Story-Japans-Crimes/)

    And "Space Battleship Yamamoto". I'd like to see the reaction to "Space Tank Division 'Totenkopf'"…

  148. Rob says:

    And "Space Battleship Yamamoto". I'd like to see the reaction to "Space Tank Division 'Totenkopf'"…

    Be careful what you wish for…

  149. Dan says:

    mmt's posts aside, the truth of the matter isn't even at issue here. If the government of Japan were suing for defamation, it might be, but that isn't the case here. The question is whether a city can spend its money (which obviously is taxpayer money) to express a position which offends some of its citizens, and which may offend some foreign countries. There can be no serious question that the correct answer is yes to both questions.

    The offended citizens have redress, such as it is, through the political process. If there are enough of them who are offended enough, they can influence the city council to change or remove the memorial, or they can vote out (or possibly even recall) the council members. If not, tough–you don't always agree with your government.

  150. CGB says:

    With very simple rewording, a very simple counter suite could be filed against the plaintiffs and their lawyers for the exact same damages.

  151. carroll price says:

    I'm calling bullshit on this entire affair. I have learned from history and from personal experience that anytime armies occupy a country, there's always a surplus of "comfort women" that are more than willing to keep occupying troops entertained – for a price.

  152. Dan says:

    Prostitution is indeed a robust industry, and one that tends to grow after the economic and social upheavel associated with conflict. South Korea, where I've spent some time, has a large and varied sex industry. There are occasional stories in the local media about girls who enter the lifestyle due to credit card debt, or debts to loan sharks, etc. And tragic as it may be for individuals to feel compelled to sell sex becasue of economic desperation, its quite another to force people to relocate to distant and/or remote locations and there force them to engage in prostitution. The distinction is important, I think.

  153. Dan says:

    And mtt, why don't you cite some goddamn sources to back up your your statements.

  154. John Finn says:

    After reading some of the comment sections in the links throughout this post, it really is no surprise that someone to me that someone like MTT came here – there seems to be a large number of people with Japanese names and poor English that pop up to deny that the Comfort Women were slaves in every post on the topic. The thought that there are so many people who are analogues to Holocaust deniers actively trying to convince people that this didn't happen is actually pretty disturbing.

  155. AlphaCentauri says:

    It's somewhat disturbing that they deny it happened, but of course, none of us were there and we are assessing the credibility of the witnesses.

    But when they say, "Don't criticize Japan because your country did it, too," whether they believe that or not, it sounds like they are justifying the practice. Those are the people who would be willing to have it happen again if they were ever in the position to imprison so many people.

  156. CJK Fossman says:

    Fukushima —

    The reactors there were of an obsolete and inherently dangerous design known as boiling water reactors. By the way, our good friends at GE Hitachi still sell these things.

    The primary electric power to drive the water pumps comes from the reactors themselves. When the reactors went down, that source of power disappeared. The tsunami took out the backup generators. O crap.

    After the disaster both Jepco and the Japanese government lied to their own people and to the world at large about the severity of the problem.

  157. Fasolt says:

    @carroll price:

    Based on the information provided at the link "br" posted, I'm going to call bullshit on your bullshit statement.

    As a matter of fact, I think the scene at 1:10 of this video describes your statement pretty well.

  158. AlphaCentauri says:

    Just my two cents
    http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

    A revisionist website posts a single report for a single brothel that was owned by a local proprietor rather than the Japanese army. The same site's information about "concentration camps" lists detailed locations of those in the US, a simple list of those in German occupied Europe, and doesn't discuss any of the atrocities that went on in the death camps.

    The fact that you couldn't find any other interrogations of "comfort women" in the entire theater of the Pacific to support your argument is pretty damning evidence, I think.

  159. bluegray says:

    I wonder why everyone ignoring the US Military official report which clearly defined that they are nothing more than a prostitute or professional camp follower…

  160. bluegray says:

    Just because somebody tells you something and they say it with confidence, just because they say it with lots of detail, just because they express emotion when they say it, it doesn’t mean that it really happened.
    We can’t reliably distinguish true memories from false memories.
    We need independent corroboration.
    We should all keep in mind – we’d do well to – that memory, like liberty, is a fragile thing.

  161. Toki says:

    This lawsuit is so unfortunate, I am a Japanese and feel that the statue needs to remain as a reminder to not only current generation of Japanese but the also future generations. Politician in Japan are really bad at making foreign policy, and a small nationalists politician keeps making the headlines while the good ones are being buried regardless citizen support.

    On the matter of name change for Sea of Japan, that is just ridiculous.

  162. PeterM1965 says:

    Perhaps the question should be "Why is there a monument to comfort girls in Glendale, CA?" None of the crimes were committed by Americans and none of the comfort women were Americans, so why is it here to begin with?

  163. Bill Poser says:

    A point that Japanese people can and should make is that it was not only Korean and other foreign women who were forced into prostitution. Prior to the war, large numbers of poor peasant girls were recruited in Japan under false pretences, told that they would be working as maids, waitresses, and so forth, to work in Japanese settlements abroad (some of them colonies, some in places not under Japanese control). They were then forced into prostitution. These women, known in Japanese as karayukisan "people who went to China",were not well treated when they returned to Japan after the war. There is a heartbreaking movie about this in Japanese called Sandakan 8 after brothel number 8 in the city of Sandakan in Borneo. It is wrong to see this simply as an issue of mistreatment of non-Japanese as it was really a matter of mistreatment of vulnerable women, Japanese and non-Japanese.

  164. Toshimi Minoura says:

    > I wonder why everyone ignoring the US Military official report which clearly defined that they are nothing more than a prostitute or professional camp follower…

    Even this report states the following:

    ""Early in May of 1942 Japanese agents arrived in Korea for the purpose of enlisting Korean girls for "comfort service" in newly conquered Japanese territories in Southeast Asia. The nature of this "service" was not specified but it was assumed to be work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy. The inducement used by these agents was plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off the family debts, easy work, and the prospect of a new life in a new land, Singapore. On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen.""

    ""Although a few had been connected with "oldest profession on earth" before. The contract they signed bound them to Army regulations and to war for the "house master " for a period of from six months to a year depending on the family debt for which they were advanced …""

    ""Approximately 800 of these girls were recruited in this manner and they landed with their Japanese "house master " at Rangoon around August 20th, 1942. They came in groups of from eight to twenty-two. From here they were distributed to various parts of Burma, usually to fair sized towns near Japanese Army camps.""

  165. robert johnson says:

    very unfortunate

  166. robert johnson says:

    PeterM1965 and Toshimi, get a clue already, before spouting nonsense.

  167. perlhaqr says:

    So, easy peasy: City of Glendale deeds the statue and the 5 feet of land surrounding it to the "Victims of Imperial Japanese Rape Foundation". Boom, done.

  168. Charles Shao says:

    If those Comfort Women's suffering doesn't set these plaintiff's hearts aflutter, why a monument make them so fearful? I wonder they do have hearts.

  169. r says:

    With a little bit of searching here's what I found:
    'War Interrogation Report No. 49' Documents from the united states army in 1944 that says these 'comfort women' were paid prostitutes.

    What everyone got was WAR PROPAGANDA.
    —–
    Do some simple research…and THEN decide based upon Facts.
    —-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryU-omrHw1Q
    —-
    http://texas-daddy.com/comfortwomen.htm
    =====

  170. Haengja Ko says:

    If the City of Glendale defends that it is the right of freedom of speech, the wording by the statue should be a fact based on sufficient and concrete evidence. But there is no solid evidence to prove that more than 200, 000 women were taken by the Imperial Japanese Army from their home.

    Do council members aware that Korean parents sold their daughters to Korean pimps and forced them to be prostitutes for money?

    Do council members aware that many of the comfort stations were owned and operated by Korean pimps?

    Do council members aware that Korean kidnapped Korean girls and forced them to be prostitutes in the Korean Peninsula during 1935 and 1945?

    Korean scholar, C. Sarah Soh wrote in her academic paper.

    "In fact, the survivors’ testimonials amply illustrate that during the war Korean men and women actively collaborated in the recruitment of young compatriots to service the Japanese military and also ran comfort stations. "

    Korean scholar, Byeong-jik An, states that many of the comfort stations during WWII in the battlefield were owned and managed by Korean people.

    Council members of the City of Glendale should have studied more carefully on this issue before making decision to erect statue.

  171. really? says:

    so, to poster 'r', your source is a guy named "texas daddy", who by the way seems completely legit and totally unbiased whatsoever.

    what a joke.

  172. Dan says:

    Haengja Ko,
    There is no requirement at all that the city's speech be factually accurate. The Glendale City Council is entirely free to pass a resolution stating (for example) that pi is exactly equal to 3.0, and to spend city money to erect a monument to that "fact", notwithstanding that it's factually incorrect. If their citizens don't like it, they have political recourse–they can show up at city council meetings, write letters, attempt to recall the council members, or vote them out at the next election. But they have no recourse in the courts.

  173. AlphaCentauri says:

    Do council members aware that Korean parents sold their daughters to Korean pimps and forced them to be prostitutes for money?

    Do council members aware that many of the comfort stations were owned and operated by Korean pimps?

    Do council members aware that Korean kidnapped Korean girls and forced them to be prostitutes in the Korean Peninsula during 1935 and 1945?

    So your point is that it's okay to own sex slaves as long as you buy them from someone else?

  174. Mister Ed says:

    @AlphaCentauri

    The vast majority were not sex slaves. That's the point. The vast majority were just prostitutes recruited by Koreans, employed or "traded" where they were debt bound by Korean run brothel owners in exactly the same way as the UN estimate 1,000,000 Korean women who ended up being used by the US Military in Korea by 1950.

    If it was really such a terrible thing, and such an offence to Korean society, why did the number of women trick, forced, coerced or willing to prostitute themselves … including original comfort women … increase 5 times more than the biggest estimate of those serving the Japanese Imperial Army?

    And the 200,000 figure was only ever that, a high estimate calculated by a Japanese academic, of which more than 20 years later no evidence supports. The other figures were 20 to 40,000. A figure on a par with the number of Vietnamese women raped by the US and Korean mercenary forces during the Korean War.

    These statues are not "public art", they are part of an internationally coordinated race hate or nationalistic propaganda war against Japan by South Koreans. One that is conveniently accommodated by Americans as it distracts from its own iniquitous crimes in NE Asia and the turning of it into a brothel on an industrial scale.

    A campaign strategy that China is now aping and adopting to weaken US public support for its alliance with Japan and American forces presence in the area. One that appeals to the foundation of WWII war time propaganda rooted in the American mind.

    No Japanese person alive has any responsibility for the events of the past. Nether guilt, shame or legal responsibility is hereditary.

    These statues are nothing more than statements of a false and malicious race hate design to do political and economic damage to blameless individuals.

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