The ongoing debacle over the left-wing newspaper Asahi Shimbun’s initial reporting on the Comfort Women 32 years ago has come to a head recently, when the newspaper concluded that interviews with Yoshida Seiji, who had claimed to have aided police kidnappings of Korean women who were forced to become Comfort Women, were in fact false.
Yoshida himself admitted that his testimony was fictitious back in 1996, and after an extensive review of articles published on the Comfort Women issue, the Asahi announced on August 5 that they would retract the articles in which interviews with Yoshida were used.
Although the retraction of these articles means very little in terms of the larger body of historical evidence pointing to the existence of the Comfort Women system, right-wing netizens have been quick to seize an opportunity to denounce issue entirely, spurred on by the fact that Kimura Tadakazu, CEO of the Asahi Shimbun, admitted that he did not think the newspaper had anything to apologise for.
What do you think? Does the Asahi need to apologise?
From Livedoor News:
Asahi Boss Refuses To Give Apology Over False Reporting On Comfort Women “We Cannot Change Historical Fact”
It was revealed on the August 10 broadcast of “Takajin no soko made itte iinkai” (Yomiuri TV) that political commentator Kato Kiyotaka had discussed with Asahi CEO Kimura Tadakazu that the Asahi Shimbun had admitted that its reports on the system of forced military prostitution were mistaken.
From August 5 through 6, the Asahi Shimbun carried articles reviewing their reports on the Comfort Women up to the present. After Yoshida Seiji’s testimony that he forcibly took away Korean women during the war was found to be fictitious, his articles were retracted.
On August 5, when a review article was published in the Asahi Shimbun, Kato questioned CEO Kimura on the company’s stance toward the articles, having had a chance to meet him that day.
Kato talked about the contents of his conversation with Kimura, saying “The Asahi Shimbun said it was going to retract all 16 articles because the interviews with Yoshida Seiji had been erroneous. I said that if they were going that far, then it would be better to clearly print a full-page apology, which would be better for the newspaper”.
However, Kimura refused such an apology, stating that “We cannot change historical fact. And as such, this isn’t something we should be apologizing for”.
Kato insisted that given that the company had retracted so many articles, then for a start they should “publish an apology” and “reprimand people within the company (if those involved 32 years ago are not still there, then this should be directed toward the current CEO, the board, the editors, and the editor in chief etc). Kato stated his concern that not apologising over this incident might conversely have made the issue worse.
Comments from Twitter:
Wow, so refreshing to see them be so boldly anti-Japanese when they’re a Japanese newspaper. Huh? You mean they’re the Japan branch of the Chosun Ilbo?
What the hell are you lot talking about, when it was you who complicated relations between Japan and Korea in the first place!
Shouldn’t they at least give an explanation?
The articles were untrue.
I bet it’s tough for the reporters at the Asahi these days.
If they’re not bothered about an apology for false reporting, then I guess we should just treat the Asahi as a tabloid.
Put historical implications and political sensitivities aside. You were wrong. So apologise unreservedly.
He’s dealing with this completely wrong. He’s taking the piss out of the Japanese people! Seems to me that there’s nothing for it but to summon this scummy CEO and everyone related to him to the Diet, and force them to abolish the newspaper.
CEO Kimura Tadakazu, wasn’t it your newspaper that changed historical facts? (￣◇￣;)
Will never forgive this.
Comments from 2ch.net:
I guess that those historical facts had a basis in lies, huh.
Unbelievable. To think this company can call itself media.
You shouldn’t be going on about historical this and that, you should be talking about an apology for leaking false information.
Don’t be all changing the point! Scum.
This is a really important thing for Japan.
The thing is, it is also a fact that you mistook historical facts, so if you make a mistake, what the hell is the boss doing refusing to apologise! Avoiding an apology means that the way newspapers work in general is going to be a problem!
What the hell is this bastard on about?
Things have ended up this way because they fabricated historical facts!
Just what I’d expect from an anti-Japanese terrorist newspaper.
They’ve inflicted a huge amount of damage on Japan.
Shitty bastard newspaper.
So are we to interpret this as “Anti-Japan therefore innocent”?
I just don’t get this.
What does he even mean by historical fact?
I really don’t understand what Kimura is saying.
Does he mean that they can’t change the fact that they fabricated the facts, so they won’t apologise?
If they’re going to ignore the basic principles of journalism then quit being a newspaper!
If people stop reading the Asahi Shimbun I bet he’ll kneel on the ground and apologise.