Japanese group launches 18C racial discrimination case over ‘comfort women’ memorial in Sydney

Japanese group launches 18C racial discrimination case over ‘comfort women’ memorial in Sydney, by Hayden Cooper.

A memorial commemorating sex slaves of the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II has become the subject of a Section 18C racial discrimination complaint.

The Australia-Japan Community Network is lodging the case, claiming the Sydney memorial promotes racial hatred and division. …

It was erected by Sydney’s Korean community “in memory of the history of suffering endured by the young girls and women known as ‘Comfort Women’ who were forced into sexual slavery by the military of the government of imperial Japan”.

An estimated 200,000 women were forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during WWII. The majority were believed to be Korean or Chinese.

Apparently 18C applies to the memorial:

The Japanese community lodged its official complaint with the Human Rights Commission, accusing the Uniting Church of breaching Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Section 18C states it is unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person on the basis of “race, colour, or national or ethnic origin”.

The complaint … says by hosting the memorial, the Uniting Church, church president Stuart McMillan, and Reverend Crews have, “offended, insulted, humiliated and intimidated the applicants because of their race, national and ethnic origin”.

Not that it is relevant to the role of 18C in suppressing speech (what, now we are not allowed to comment on historical events? what next, cannot mention the holocaust?), but there is another side to the comfort women charges:

Many Japanese dispute the accuracy of figures surrounding the ‘comfort women’ victims.

One member of the Australian-Japanese community — who wanted to be known only by her first name, Emiko — told 7.30 she believed only 20,000 women worked in the system, and they were not forced into slavery.

“In my opinion, using ‘sex slaves’ is not appropriate,” she said, “Because they are prostitutes … they were paid really well. They earned enormous money.”

Australian War Memorial Charged Under 18C! by the Australian Taxpayers Alliance.

Japan has just lodged an 18C complaint against an Australian War Memorial.

That is right. The Australia-Japan Community Network has just formally lodged a complaint against a Sydney Memorial remembering their atrocities in WWII.

This is not a joke. It really has just happened. Papers were lodged with the Human Rights Commission today. Japan took over 200,000 sex slaves during WW2. They murdered, tortured, and brutalised Aussie soldiers. They broke every rule of war imaginable. And now we are not even allowed to remember that?

This is just sick – and shows why we we desperately need to repeal s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Because this kind of offensive litigation is just not on.

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought is at the centre of Australian democracy. If we can’t even remember the atrocities of WWII because true history might offend someone, it makes is no better than a petty dictatorship.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights is asking for submissions right now about reforming s18C.

Go to their website to send a submission to the Parliamentary Committee on 18C (it takes less than a minute).

Liberty is vital, and the answer to wrong speech is correct speech!

What can be said in the United States and Britain apparently cannot be said in Australia, because of 18C. Here is Yoshiko Shimada, performing “On Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman” in 2012 outside the Japanese embassy in London in 2012:


And there are now several memorials to the comfort women in the US (2015 video):