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ARTICLE: Taiwan Backs Away From Barring Japanese Cartoonist


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
From Yahoo! Asian Markets:
Saturday, March 3 4:36 PM SGT

Taiwan Backs Away From Barring Japanese Cartoonist

TAIPEI (AP)--Taiwan's government backtracked Saturday from a decision to bar the entry of a Japanese cartoonist who says many Taiwanese women volunteered to work as sex slaves for the Japanese army during World War II.
The cabinet said that an interior ministry decision to bar Yoshinori Kobayashi from the island "was still not definite" and officials "were still deliberating" the case.

Interior Minister Chang Po-ya announced Friday that a commission in her department voted to bar Kobayashi from Taiwan next week following a public outcry over his book, "Taiwan Discourse."

The book's cover shows smiling Taiwanese women in traditional Japanese garb eagerly lining up in front of a Japanese officer recruiting "comfort women," a euphemism for wartime sex slaves to the Imperial army.

The book includes interviews with Taiwanese deemed sympathetic to Japan, but no quotes from the hundreds of "comfort women" who say their lives were ruined.

Lawmakers and women's groups have urged bookshops to stop selling the book, which they said is full of Japanese right-wing militaristic theories.

Historians say as many as 200,000 women, mostly from South Korea and the Philippines, were forced to work as sex slaves.

The Japanese government has apologized but refused to offer compensation to individuals, saying it fulfilled its obligations through treaties with other countries. It established a privately financed fund that many former sex slaves refuse to accept compensation from.

The discussions spawned by the book led to an apology from a presidential adviser, businessman Hsu Wen-lung, who said that working as a sex slave was the best way out of poverty.

Many older Taiwanese have fond memories of the social order and economic well-being of the days when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, between 1896 and 1945. They considered the Japanese strict but efficient and incorruptible colonial rulers.

Taiwan's media were outraged by the decision to keep the cartoonist out of the country, calling it an affront to Kobayashi's freedom of speech and expression, and a step backward in the development of democracy here.

Newspapers criticized Chang's decision Saturday as a holdover of the repression of the martial law era, when dissidents were not allowed to visit. Martial law ended in 1987.

The Chinese-language China Times said the move resembled the blacklists on democracy activists that were kept by the former ruling party, the Nationalists.

"The ministry's order is out of step with modern Taiwan by at least a decade," the English-language Taipei Times said in an editorial.

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this book should be allowed to seel since it's freedom of speech right? i guess it's just really offensive- well in that case, just sue (sorry, i forgot that only obese Americans do that)

when they say 'volunteer,' it is probably right to some degree. the women were tricked into believing that they were just going to be recruited to work in a sock factory or something for the soldiers. that's why they volunteered, not to be sex slaves.
I'm currently working on a group discussion about the "memory wars," for a class on Globalization and Identity. I might have something to say about this after I've read all of the articles, one of which makes mention of Kobayashi's work and the 新しい歴史の教科書を作る会...
the women were tricked into believing that they were just going to be recruited to work in a sock factory or something for the soldiers. that's why they volunteered, not to be sex slaves.

That's why the govenment ordered to crack down on the lying recruiters (Japanese and/or Korean) then.
But according to the activist, it was the inexcusable evidnece of goverment's direct involvement...
If I remember correnctly the Korean govenemnt offically showed the document saying the similar thing like the activist, but they mysteriously cancelled it in the site now.
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