Skip to content

26 July 2021
SUGIHARA Seishiro, Chairman

We, the International Research Institute of Controversial Histories (iRICH), are a research institute with the principal aim of recognizing true history by tackling historical controversies of international significance based on fair historical research for the purpose of preserving the honor and dignity of Japan and the Japanese people. Among our major tasks is the resolution of the increasingly tumultuous comfort women issue.

Regarding history, there are those who make criticisms and baseless accusations that go against immutable facts. There will be those who will deny the truth without fact-based objection and they do this merely out of spite. These things only confuse the global audience. The comfort women issue of today is in fact a typical example of critics sowing confusion.

When such confusion over history exists, it is the historical researchers’ duty to probe into the facts, put the facts into an overall context (for the comfort women issue, the use of “comfort women” by other countries) and ascertain the values at the time. In the face of hostility, the historical researchers’ mission is to overturn unfounded claims, thereby building peaceful relationships between people and nations and to contribute to development harmonious human relations in the 21st century. Researchers have been guaranteed “academic freedom” for these purposes.

A number of present-day researchers, however, have abandoned this duty and mission. Participating in activities that disrupt harmonious human relations under the flag of “academic freedom” is vile. These so-called researchers have harmed “academic freedom” for the rest of us and should really no longer be considered “researchers”.

Recently, an objective, academic work written by Professor Mark Ramseyer of Harvard Law School, concerning the comfort women issue outlined a clear picture of indentured prostitution based on game theory, came under fire. Rather than though discussion of the facts, critics launched a petition demanding that the journal retract his paper. As of May 2021, 3,665 researchers signed this petition.

A campaign like this, wherein a mob demands the retraction of a previously accepted scholarly work, goes against courteous discussion and directly imperils the very basis of “academic freedom”.

Accordingly, on April 24, we held an emergency symposium at Seiryo Kaikan in Tokyo to protest this trail-by-mob and gave Professor Ramseyer support. The speakers who gathered are truly experts on the comfort women issue and the symposium was to date the most significant meeting concerning research on the comfort women issue held in Japan. Professor Ramseyer contributed a video message from the U.S. and, from South Korea, Professor LEE Woo-yeon, who is renounced for his study of the comfort women issue, also contributed a video message. Our symposium could very well be considered very international.

In addition, on June 3, we sent an open letter to the Science Council of Japan, which, coincidentally, attracted attention since the end of 2020 over an issue concerning government appointment of Council members. We urged the Council to respond to the petition drive demanding the retraction of the Ramseyer paper. The iRICH, held a press conference on that day to directly appeal to the public as well.

As of our deadline, June 30, the Science Council of Japan has yet to respond.

The lack of response from an organization funded by the Japanese people for academic research within Japan is extremely troubling, especially over a matter of academic freedom, a matter that affects each member of the Science Council of Japan. The lack of response highly suggests that the Science Council of Japan agrees with the mob campaign to force retraction of a work of research and agrees that curtailing “academic freedom” regarding the comfort women issue is the right thing to do. If so, then public funding for the Science Council of Japan should be stopped immediately.

On July 9, we again requested a response from the Council to our questions posed on June 3. We sent additional questions based on the fact that have been found after the first open letter.

It is the hope of iRICH that the Science Council of Japan is a just and impartial organization. We also hope that the Council truly believes in “academic freedom” for the sake of advancing knowledge. To guarantee “academic freedom”, we suggest that: (1)  researchers’ ethics be made clear, (2) a system be established wherein measures are undertaken to resolve problems of ethics, and (3) a framework be in place wherein divergent theories can be considered, reconciled and converged to the extent possible. The Science Council of Japan operates via public funding and for the sake of “academic freedom” in Japan, it should be able to perform these three roles. Regarding (1), the Science Council of Japan has already established the “Code of Conduct for Scientists” in 2006, revised in 2013. The Council has yet to establish (2) and (3).

As iRICH explained at great length at the July 9 press conference, the petition demanding withdrawal of the Ramseyer paper is clearly an act that goes against the Science Council of Japan’s own Code of Conduct for Scientists. Should the Council remain silent regarding the petition and its Code of Conduct, then the Council is not really operating in the interest of the Japanese people and the Government of Japan should cut its over 1 billion yen annual budget. The iRICH is determined to pursue the matter with the Science Council of Japan to a successful conclusion, wherein we can clearly state that the Council absolutely respects “academic freedom” and thereby operates in the interest of the Japanese people. We welcome and appreciate the broad support of the public.

Thank you very much, Mr. Vice-President,

The foreign minister of ROK Kang Kyung brought the comfort women issue to this council for 3 consecutive years despite the bilateral agreement signed between Japan and ROK, stipulating "the comfort women issue has been resolved finally and irreversibly."

Japan paid about 9.3 million dollars from taxpayer's money to support comfort women based on the agreement in 2015. However, spending is unaccounted-for.

Last month, one of the former comfort women Lee Yong-soo held press conferences and said, “I’ve been exploited by YUN Mi-hyang” who used to be a leader of a comfort women supporting organization funded by ROK government and its citizens.

According to her, YUN Mi-hyang collected huge amounts of donations for 30 years, however, the donations were hardly used for former comfort women but used to purchase real estate properties for her own.

She also said that “Comfort women were not Sex-slaves.”

Recently, the ROK government ironically passed a resolution to make it illegal to “revise histories.”

History is not what is judged by the court.

Mr. Vice-President,

We request this Council to recommend to the ROK government,

1. Stop abusing elderly women for the monetary benefit and to bash Japan,

2. Disclose the use of funds donated by the Japanese government,

3. Stop Japan-bashing based on falsified stories and lies, and

4. Stop violating the bilateral agreement between Japan and ROK. Thank you very much, Mr. Vice-President.

The Japanese Government invites Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan as a state guest upon China’s request.

The Chinese Government has trampled upon the peoples’ right of self-determination in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region better known as East Turkistan.  Also, in Tibet, South Mongolia and other ethnic minorities.

It’s been reported within the Uighur Region, the Chinese Government forcibly detained more than one million Uighur people in concentration camps and is undertaking a policy of ethnic cleansing.                                   

Currently in Hong Kong the Chinese Government oppresses the democratic movements.

Around fifteen Japanese are unlawfully in custody within China on charges of allegedly “spying.”

Under these circumstances if the Japanese Government invites Chinese President as a state guest and shake hands with the Japanese Emperor it will give the wrong message the international society. Japan won’t tolerate utter disregard of human rights.

We request this Council to recommend the Japanese government;

1. The Japanese Government should cancel the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping as a state guest which he is not welcomed by Japanese people.

We also request this Council to recommend the Chinese government;

1. The Chinese Government should duly observe the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and faithfully fulfill the recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

2. Release 15 Japanese people detained unlawfully.

3. Release Uyghur people who are detained in the concentration camps immediately.

Madam Vice President, do you think over one million Uyghurs committed crimes?

Are they terrorists? We don’t think so.

I thank you very much Madam Vice President.

Thank you, Chair,

During the Right of Reply in this session, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea responded to the statement made by the Japanese Representative at the High Level Segment. 

DPRK argued issues related to the “forced laborers” which were not forced, “sex slaves” who were “war time prostitutes” and North Korean schools subsidiaries. 

But his arguments were totally baseless.

Regarding the abduction issue, DPRK has been continuously blamed by the international community as one of the worst inhumane crimes.  

Koreans who worked for the Japanese companies during World War II were just “wartime laborers” rather than “forced laborers,” and entirely different from “slave laborers” which DPRK representative said in his speech. 

Comfort women were “wartime prostitutes.”  We strongly believe the most important thing to resolve historical issues are “fact-centered approach” rather than “victim-centered approach” which rests merely on emotions and subjectivities.

A “victim-centered approach” relies exclusively on the oral testimonies of self-proclaimed comfort women.  However testimonies must be substantiated with evidences and subjected to cross-examination.  Indeed, testimonies by so-called comfort women are not based on hard evidence.

South Korean schools are getting government subsidiaries based on the rule of the Ministry of Education however North Korean schools are not following it.

But if they follow the rules, they can get it even from the next day.

DPRK is requested to sincerely face the problems, stop violating the human rights and return all the abductees abducted from Japan which DPRK admitted that their agents kidnapped. 

Thank you very much.

Thank you, Madam Vice President,

The Republic of Korea’s Supreme Court ruled Japanese companies must pay compensation to Koreans for having been “forced” into labor during World War II.

Koreans who worked for Japanese companies at the time chose to work seeking a good wage based on their own will.

Mobilization of Korean-Japanese nationals for a mere six months was not forced and entirely within international law.

The compensation between Japan and the ROK was resolved completely and finally by the Japan-ROK agreement signed in 1965.

The Japanese Supreme Court also ruled “an individual demand is nullified.”

Demanding compensation from Japanese companies based on the Korean Supreme Court ruling is tantamount to revoking a legally binding treaty signed between two nations, which violating Japan’s sovereignty and trampling upon the rights of the Japanese people.

Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha addressed at this council last year and last week, repeatedly violating the same treaty and additional bilateral treaty signed in December 2015 related to the Comfort Women issue. Treaty is a promise between nations. Even kids know the braking promise is wrong.

Before talking about the comfort women issue, Kang Kyung-wha needs to apologize to the victims of the sexual violence committed by South Korean troops during the Vietnam War and take victim-centered measures.

Why this council is tolerating the nation who always violates the bilateral treaties?

We demand this council to instruct South Korean Government to immediately undertake measures to correct their errant diplomatic relations and sincerely apologize to the Vietnamese victims called Lai-Dai-Han. 

I thank you very much for you attention, Madam Vice President.

Chairman, Seishiro Sugihara

Today, in the 21st century, a war of controversy over another country’s history should never be allowed essentially. However, Japan has been subject to groundless war on history staged by other countries and history of Japan has been unreasonably degraded.

Moreover, presently in the 21st century, there still exist states that are totally dominated by a single party or family. In such states, a dictatorial party or family tries to maintain its absolute rule, harshly oppressing the people’s human rights domestically, and incessantly carrying out the policy of expansion and enlargement internationally to have the people realize the value of the despotic rule. They disrupt international order without limit. Therefore, any state ruled by a single party or family is an entity totally impermissible in the 21st century. In carrying out its policy of expansion and enlargement, such state not only uses military forces but also stages historical, legal and psychological warfare.

On September 10, 2013, the People’s Campaign for the Truth of Comfort Women was organized, unifying various bodies which had been individually fighting to resolve the issue of comfort women. In July 2014, this organization sent its first research delegation to the United Nations in Geneva. In July 2015, the organization made a speech at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for the first time.

In the first place, words “sex slaves” referring to comfort women were first used when a certain Japanese lawyer said that comfort women were “sex slaves” during his speech at the United Nations in 1992. Had there been an organization like this at the time and had a delegation been sent to the United Nations to immediately protest and counterargue against the lawyer’s speech, the idea of identifying comfort women with sex slaves would have never been conceived nor disseminated to the world. The movement of building statues of comfort women all over the world on the part of Korea would have never taken place.

Through this bitter experience, we have learned how important it is to disseminate historical controversy to the world. We have started this study institute to disseminate historical controversy to the world from the standpoint of Japan, to protect Japan from groundless criticism against our history and cope with the boundless warfare over history. We are firmly determined to play a vital role in this endeavor.