Apology for inappropriate expressions used in comfort women articles

Apology for inappropriate expressions used in comfort women articles
Flowers are placed in front of the controversial Comfort Women Statue in Glendale, California on September 9, 2014.

An in-house review has found that The Daily Yomiuri (hereafter referred to as the DY, and now The Japan News) used "sex slave" and other inappropriate expressions in a total of 97 articles from February 1992 to January 2013 in its reporting on the issue of so-called comfort women.

The Japan News apologises for having used these misleading expressions and will add a note stating that they were inappropriate to all the articles in question in our database. We also have a list of the articles on our website (the-japan-news.com).

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese edition) likewise expressed an apology in its Friday edition.

Among articles related to the comfort women issue - those translated from Yomiuri Shimbun stories and DY original stories - there are 85 articles in which "sex slave" and other words with the same meaning were used in an inappropriate manner.

The expression "comfort women" was difficult to understand for non-Japanese who did not have knowledge of the subject. Therefore the DY, based on an inaccurate perception and using foreign news agencies' reports as reference, added such explanations as "women who were forced into sexual slavery" that did not appear in The Yomiuri Shimbun's original stories.

For example, the Henshu Techo front page column carried in The Yomiuri Shimbun's edition for Aug. 30, 1997, contained the words "about descriptions of comfort women and others." However, "Jottings," the DY's translated version of the column, said, "the issue of 'comfort women,' who were forced into sexual servitude by the Imperial Japanese Army."

There were also 12 articles that did not use "sex slave" or other words with that meaning, but defined comfort women in such terms as "forced into prostitution by the military," as if coercion by the Japanese government or the army was an objective fact.

A statement on comfort women issued in 1993 by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono stated that ".... at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments [of comfort women]." The meaning was accurately presented by the DY initially.

However, the DY later simplified the meaning of the statement into, for example, "The government admitted that the Imperial Japanese Army forcibly recruited women" and used misleading expressions in some cases.

The following is the list of the DY articles which contain inappropriate expressions (The headlines with the date of publication in the parentheses):

1992

S. Korea Rejects North's Proposal For Compensation (Feb. 21): Political Pulse (May 11): Korea Probing 'Comfort Women' (July 4): 42 Taiwanese Said Served As 'Comfort Women' (July 11): Editorial / Need To Resolve A Discomforting Issue (July 14): Sex Slavery Issue Not Settled Yet (Sept. 8): Ramos Defends Rights Record During Years Under Marcos (Sept. 27): Turning Point For Japan-China Relations (Sept. 30): Kim Lists Japan First On Overseas Visit If Elected (Sept. 30): Govt, Red Cross Mull 'Comfort Women' Pact (Oct. 10): 'Comfort Women' Move Shelved (Nov. 18): International Hearing Set On 'Comfort Women' Issue (Nov. 26): In music, films, and on stage, cultural happenings (Dec. 26): Editorial / Scandal Battered Hopes In '92 (Dec. 31)

1993

18 'comfort women' file suit (April 3): High school teachers wrestle with 'comfort women' issue (July 21): Japan to admit 'comfort women' forced to serve (July 24): Miyazawa making bid to deal with old issues (July 25): SDPJ moves to become 'realistic' (Aug. 26): ROK's Hann to visit Japan (Aug. 30): 'Comfort women' settlement sought (Aug. 31): Yamahana sets new path in Seoul (Sept. 8): Comfort women names found on POW list (Oct. 9): Editorial / Hopes for Japan-South Korea summit (Nov. 6): A painful tale about 'comfort' women (Nov. 20)

1994

South Koreans protest occupation (March 3): Kim advocates new bilateral partnership in Asia-Pacific age (March 26): Measures planned for comfort women (July 7): Fund plans discussed (Aug. 25): Forging future of Asia/ Murayama finds past not main issue (Aug. 31): 100 billion yen plan unveiled to cover war reparations (Sept. 1): East Asian Women's Forum set for Tokyo (Sept. 8): Igarashi gets warm response to 'comfort women' fund plan (Oct. 31): Coalition panel urges 'private' fund to help comfort women (Dec. 7): Funds for students, sex slaves (Dec. 21)

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