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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 October 1 - 7  > Group formed to support blackmailed university regarding ‘comfort women’ Asahi reports
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2014 October 1 - 7 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Group formed to support blackmailed university regarding ‘comfort women’ Asahi reports

October 1, 2 & 7, 2014

University professors and teaching staff, writers, and journalists on October 6 formed a group to support a university receiving bomb threats connected to Asahi Shimbun reports on the Japanese military’s “comfort women” system.

Founders of the group at a press conference held in the Diet building argued that threats are tantamount to “terrorist attacks on democracy” and called for cooperation in efforts to “protect freedom and democracy” beyond differences in political thoughts, beliefs, or positions.

Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo City in Hokkaido has been blackmailed into dismissing a part-time lecturer who was an Asahi Shimbun journalist involved in the writing of articles about comfort women. The university in May and July received threatening messages such as, “Dismiss him or your students will get hurt,” and “A gas cylinder will be set off to explode.” The lecturer’s family also received a threatening letter that reads, “He will be driven to suicide.” The university later published a statement stating that it will stand up to intimidation. Sapporo City Mayor Ueda Fumio at a city assembly plenary session also stated, “Such an act is unpardonable.”

Professor Emeritus of Keio University Kobayashi Setsu before the press corps said, “It constitutes a crime of forcible obstruction of business.” University of Tokyo Professor Komori Yoichi said, “It is a despicable attack against journalism and academia.”

As of October 5, 401 prominent figures such as the Sapporo City mayor and former Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party Nonaka Hiromu have expressed their support to the newly-formed group.

In addition to Hokusei Gakuen University, Tezukayama Gakuin University in Osaka faced similar intimidation tactics, resulting in the resignation of a professor who was a former Asahi reporter.

Asahi Shimbun in August retracted a series of its reports on the Yoshida Testimony that Korean women had been forcibly taken away because the testimony was found out to be false. The daily mentioned that the reporter who wrote an article about the testimony for the first time was the Tezukayama Gakuin University professor who was an Asahi reporter at that time. However, the paper at a later date again retracted this news after confirming that it was a different reporter who wrote that article.
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