Last night, San Francisco Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution, supporting recent curriculum revision proposed by California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission. California Department of Education will consider this revision on May 11 and 12.
During the public comment period of January and February of this year, about 20,000 California residents expressed support for the inclusion of ‘Comfort Women’ history in California textbook via emails and petitions.
Emily Murase, SF BOE commissioner and the Executive Director at the SF Department on the Status of Women who has a deep connection to Prime Minister Abe and the ultra right wing revisionists in Japan, tried to block this resolution once again, as she did in the Department on the Status of Women last year. She argued that the Japanese military sexual slavery issue has been completely resolved by the controversial Japan-Korea Agreement of last December – which was rejected by the victims in unison – and, therefore, the resolution needs to focus on the “other” sexual violence against women such as Africa.
History denialists lined up and made arguments such as “Comfort Women are a group of liars who were actually voluntary prostitutes,” misusing “IWG” report and Sarah Soh’s book.
CWJC (Comfort Women Justice Coalition), a multi-community organization that is working on the SF ‘Comfort Women’ memorial project made counter-arguments.
The unanimous decision will be another positive input for the efforts by the California Department of Education to teach our children about the state-commissioned system of military sexual slavery, an unprecedented crime in its scale and brutality.
We congratulate and appreciate the bold step SF BOE has taken.
Phyllis Kim (김현정 사무국장)
Korean American Forum of California
Picture: Flowers lie at the Glendale memorial to comfort women (Roger Wilson-Glendale News Press)
Dear Ms. Murase,
If you insist that you didn’t try to “block” the resolution, what were you doing then, when you intervened with EVERY resolution that was proposed in the commission and board you belonged, arguing “Japan already apologized” and “other countries, such as Congo, also enslave women and girls…” and demanding wordy amendment be made to those resolutions to dilute the point that advocated justice for the ‘Comfort Women’ victims?
In doing so, you were trying to downplay the largest government-commissioned sexual enslavement of women in modern history as something mundane and something that “everyone else does”.
If all you wanted to do was to include the “fact” that refers to the Japan – S.Korea agreement in the recent resolution at the SF BOE, how about the “fact” that it has been rejected by ALL victims in different countries and supporters in unison, due to its utter exclusion of the victims and blatant demand of Japanese government to REMOVE the Comfort Women statue in Seoul and SILENCE the victims in international community such as UN?
None of the SEVEN DEMANDS by the victims were reflected in the agreement – they are 1. Full acknowledgement of the military sexual slavery by the Japanese government 2. Thorough and complete investigation 3. Formal apology from the Diet 4. Legal reparations to ALL victims 5. Prosecutions of the criminals 6. Ongoing education in Japan 7. Building memorials and museums to remember.
If you care about women’s human rights, please urge Mr. Abe to squarely face the government responsibility and accept the 7 demands by the victims based on international standard. Germans did this and make sure their children learn about the past wrongdoing of their country so that they don’t make the same mistake again. Japan should do the same.
This is a mischaracterization of my position. I did not try to “block” this resolution. I wanted to include a reference to the fact that Korea and Japan had reached an agreement on the issue last December. I never mentioned Africa at the meeting. I support the inclusion of the history of comfort women in curriculum and voted in favor of the resolution. Please do not spread inaccuracies.