TV & Radio
Congress backs off of wartime Japan rebuke
Lobbyist efforts halt resolution
By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe Staff | October 15, 2006
WASHINGTON -- After four years of writing to lawmakers and trooping up to Capitol Hill, the 2-million-strong Korean-American community was preparing to declare victory last month.
The US Congress was on the verge of approving a first-of-its-kind resolution urging Japan to formally acknowledge its responsibility for the enslavement of more than 200,000 Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, and other women and girls in the 1930s and '40s to provide sex for imperial Japanese soldiers.
The nonbinding resolution had more than 50 Republican and Democratic co sponsors, including the only Japanese-American member of Congress. It had been approved by the House International Relations Committee and was expected to pass in the full House without debate.
But one thing stood in its way: The Japanese government and its powerful team of Washington lobbyists, which argued that it was unnecessary and possibly harmful to international relations.
Behind the scenes, the US Embassy of Japan, which says the measure could harm relations with the United States and trigger an avalanche of other wartime claims, called in one of its biggest guns. Former House majority leader Bob Michel , a senior adviser at Hogan and Hartson , the lobbying firm that has represented Tokyo's interests in Washington for more than four decades, intervened with his old colleagues, including House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Representative Henry Hyde , chairman of the international relations panel, according to two participants in the discussions.
Michel prevailed on House leaders during several conversations throughout the summer to support the Japanese position, they said. Michel declined a request for an interview.
Supporters of the measure, including the Korean American Coalition and the Korean-American Association, were informed last month that the resolution was effectively dead and would not come to a vote, according to several congressional aides.
The saga of House Resolution 759 provides a glimpse into how the powerful lobbying machines of foreign governments can block the will of dozens of US lawmakers. It also offers a lesson in how age-old animosities -- what one aide called ``ethnic politics vs. a foreign embassy" -- often get played out in Washington's corridors of power.
``It is not just about the `comfort women,' " a euphemism for the wartime sex slaves, said Mindy Kotler, head of Asia Policy Point, a non profit organization that focus on the relationship between the United States and Asia-Pacific nations. ``It is a story of the profound and deep Japanese influence in the US foreign policy community." Speaking of Japan's opposition, she added: ``They do not want any discussion of this, period."
During its colonial conquest of its neighbors, the Japanese military established the first comfort-women station in Shanghai in 1932. Over the next 13 years, until Japan's defeat in World War II, the practice grew into a sophisticated network across the region.
Some of the women, from occupied China, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Dutch East Indies, were as young as 12 when they were enslaved.
``In one of the most extensive cases of human trafficking in the 20th century, more than 200,000 women and girls throughout Asia were recruited by force, coercion, or deception, and kept at the mercy of the Japanese military in subhuman conditions under which they were raped, beaten, and forced to have abortions," said a letter signed by more than two dozen lawmakers that was sent to Hastert on Sept. 22 urging him to bring the resolution to a vote.
The resolution called on Japan to formally acknowledge its responsibility; educate future generation about the crimes, including modifying schoolbooks; and follow the recommendations of United Nations and Amnesty International to make amends to the survivors.
The Japanese government insists that it is not trying to paper over the past.
``We have nothing to hide," Hitoshi Noda minister of congressional affairs for Japan's US Embassy, said recently over cups of tea at the mission, separated from South Korea's embassy only by a single brick apartment house. ``But this is not good for relations. We do not want to make this a Korea-Japan conflict or a Japan-Congress conflict. Nothing could come out of this but bad feelings. We would like to deal with the issue internally."
Noda pointed out that Japan has taken significant steps toward ``acknowledging and accepting responsibility for this tragedy."
In 1995, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made the first public apology for the crime and the Japanese government helped establish the private Asian Women's Fund, which has provided more than $10 million in medical and other welfare services for victims, including about $20,000 each to an estimated 285 survivors in the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.
In 2001, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi , in an open letter, extended his ``most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."
Supporters of the US congressional resolution, however, criticize the women's fund as a ``quasi-government effort" and accuse the Japanese government of being too soft on those who still deny that the crimes occurred .
``Some textbooks used in Japan minimize the comfort-women tragedy and distort the Japanese role in these and other crimes committed during World War II," US Representative Lane Evans, an Illinois Democrat and chief sponsor of the resolution, said in a floor speech in May.
Noda acknowledged that some Japanese school texts do not give a full treatment to the tragedy and Japan's role in it. But he contended that part of the reason is out of concern about discussing sexual topics with middle school students.
He insisted that Japan fully accepts its responsibilities to the so-called comfort women, but believes the House resolution is misplaced and badly timed.
Japan has just elected a new prime minister, Shinzo Abe , who has made fostering better relations with Japan's neighbors a top priority. Noda also said he fears the measure could spark other war time claims.
Several treaties after World War II waived future claims against Japan -- including the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 that ab solved Japan of financial responsibility for its wartime crimes and a similar pact between Japan and South Korea in 1965.
At a time when the United States is counting on both Japan and South Korea to help confront North Korea's nuclear program, the sensitivity of the House resolution extends to the Bush administration.
``It is very important to our interests that the Republic of Korea and Japan have a good relationship," Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs recently told the House International Relations Committee.
Bryan Bender can be reached at email@example.com.
Los Angeles TIMES ENDORSEMENTS
Schwarzenegger for Governor
The governor has learned how to work with the Legislature and chart a moderate course for California.
October 15, 2006
AFTER HIS HISTORIC ELECTION in the 2003 recall, followed by some early promise and a disappointing sophomore year, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a solid, pragmatic governor who has steered a moderate course for California. He deserves a sequel.
In the last year, the Republican has formed relationships with legislative leaders that focused the usually fractious and often obstructive Democrats on a productive agenda. Together, they have given Californians a historic law to combat global warming, a prescription drug plan and a reasonable increase in the minimum wage. If he is reelected, the governor says, "we're going to continue in a bipartisan way."
That's encouraging — and there's reason to believe it's not simply a sound bite. The governor says he now realizes he made a mistake last year in trying to strong-arm the Legislature and browbeat the voters with his ill-advised and ill-fated special election. And a look at his track record suggests that Schwarzenegger is more comfortable the closer he is to California's center of political gravity.
In fact, he may embody it. On the environment, on stem cell research and on reproductive choice, he has distinguished himself from the Bush administration and other conservatives on the national scene. He respects the still-thriving spirit of the state's taxpayer revolt yet also understands California's heritage of building for the future.
His priorities for the next term, Schwarzenegger says, include reforming the state's dysfunctional prisons and another try at fixing California's jury-rigged redistricting system. His previous attempts to address both problems failed miserably. Paradoxically, however, he may be in a better position to address these issues — and others, such as the state's structural budget deficit — because he is a Republican. A little partisanship can be healthy in Sacramento, if it serves as a check on the excesses of the legislative or executive branch. And Schwarzenegger and the Democrats in the Legislature now better understand how they give each other political cover.
No such dynamic would exist if Schwarzenegger's opponent, Democratic state Treasurer Phil Angelides, were elected. Some of his criticisms of the governor are valid; Angelides is correct to note that Schwarzenegger is too hazy about how he plans to close the state's perpetual budget shortfall. To the extent that the challenger is more candid, however, his prescription of raising some personal income and corporate taxes is the wrong one.
Schwarzenegger correctly senses that a leader with good instincts and confidence is more effective — and more inspiring — than one with a good plan and a lot of details. Angelides may be more specific about many of California's problems. But Schwarzenegger is more likely to solve them. The Times endorses Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor.
米国中間選挙 中絶やＥＳ細胞 共和党、倫理観で苦慮
北海道新聞 2006/10/15 08:12
［ロサンゼルス １１日 ロイター］ 俳優から政治家に転身した米カリフォルニア州のアーノルド・シュワルツェネッガー知事（共和党）は１１日、ＮＢＣテレビの人気トーク番組「The Tonight Show with Jay Leno」に出演し、自身とブッシュ大統領の違いを強調してみせた。
Angelides finding it tough to win over voters in his party
- Tom Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Saturday, October 14, 2006
(10-14) 04:00 PDT Sacramento -- Mary Canavan, a 62-year-old real estate agent from Berkeley, stands as one of the biggest barriers to Democrat Phil Angelides becoming governor.
After weeks of putting off a decision, the lifelong Democrat said she is almost certain to cast her vote for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- a choice lots of Democrats up and down the state are considering, including many living in the liberal strongholds of the Bay Area.
"It depresses me to say it, but I've got no compelling reason to vote for Angelides," she said. "I've never supported anyone but Democrats -- I think I might have voted once for a Republican. But I just think the Democrats in this state are having a real hard time communicating a message -- and that's appalling."
Democrats are the state's majority party with almost 6.7 million members -- 1.3 million more than Republicans -- and thus play a defining role in the outcome of virtually every election.
Polls show that only about 60 percent of Democrats support Angelides -- well below the 70 percent benchmark considered necessary for his success.
Schwarzenegger is attracting up to 21 percent of Democrats, according to a September poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Meanwhile, the governor has almost 80 percent of GOP voters and nearly 50 percent of independents.
Most polls also show Schwarzenegger enjoying surprising strength in Los Angeles County and in the Bay Area -- both places that typically vote heavily Democratic and that the state treasurer needs to win.
The governor's showing is a big turnaround from only a year ago. On the eve of the unpopular 2005 special election, 81 percent of Democrats told the Field Poll they were not inclined to support Schwarzenegger for re-election.
Voters explained that their change of heart is the result of both actions by the governor that they favor and failure so far by Angelides to rally voters to his side.
Many voters said they simply don't have a sense of what kind of leader Angelides would be.
"I don't know what he supports -- does he support universal health care or the minimum wage? I don't know," said Oakland resident Doug Latimer, 50, an independent voter who remains undecided in the governor's race.
"I don't know what his particular stands are on environmental issues," he said. "That's a failure that falls on him and falls on the strategy of the Democratic Party -- the press as well. We should know all this by now."
Michael Feeley, 53, of Berkeley, is a registered Democrat but said he will be voting for Schwarzenegger.
"The biggest thing the governor has done, since making some horrible mistakes last year, is that he's been working with the Democrats," Feeley said. "I like that. I think he's done a good job bringing the two sides together."
Feeley noted as examples compromise agreements that the governor worked out with the Legislature's Democratic leaders on restricting greenhouse gases and on raising the minimum wage.
Bill Carrick, senior strategist for Angelides, said he is not surprised to hear voters complain that they do not know enough about his candidate -- even with less than a month to go before the election. He said Angelides has suffered from not having as much campaign cash as he would have liked.
"The reality is that we went through a primary with a lot of negative back-and-forth, and then to a general election with a depleted treasury and very limited ability to go on the air," he said.
The Democratic Party, not encumbered by the same contribution limits, has spent $14 million trying to fill the void. But Carrick noted that the party ads could not be used to promote Angelides himself, because of new campaign rules.
"We ended up with the situation in which we had to decide whether to spend the money trying to ID Phil in August or in October," he said. "We made the decision -- and, in my judgment, the proper one -- to spend the money in October."
A new biographical ad began running statewide on Tuesday. Carrick said that as the campaign rolls out, voters will learn more about Angelides and, he believes, many will chose to vote for him over Schwarzenegger -- especially Democrats.
"There are two sets of voters that we want to talk to: the Democrats, of course, and the 'decline-to-state,' " Carrick said. "The more information voters have about Phil, the more likely they are to vote for him."
Still, Angelides' mission is complicated by the fact that another big group of voters have formed an opinion about the state treasurer -- a negative one.
A Field Poll conducted in September found 22 percent of voters have yet to form an opinion about Angelides, but 43 percent said they already had formed an unfavorable view of him.
Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said those unfavorable views are likely the result of voters getting their first impression of Angelides from millions of dollars of worth of TV ads put on by the Schwarzenegger campaign that criticized the Democratic candidate's plans to raise taxes.
"That's really a problem," DiCamillo said. "A large chunk of voters have formed an opinion based on an issue that not you but your opponent has framed."
DiCamillo said it is critical for Angelides to get Democrats back. He noted that the last Democrat who lost a gubernatorial race -- Kathleen Brown, who was defeated in 1994 -- had 65 percent of Democrats heading into the final month. Her opponent, incumbent Pete Wilson, had corralled 80 percent of GOP voters.
Dianne Feinstein, who lost to Wilson in 1990, also never attracted more than 65 percent of Democrats in pre-election polls, DiCamillo said.
"We're seeing Angelides is in the same boat," DiCamillo said. "He's got to turn this around."
Some voters said they still think there's time.
"Right now, if the election were tomorrow and I had to choose between the two of them, I'd either abstain on that office or even, maybe, vote for Arnold -- as much as that makes me cringe," said Ryan Kelling, 27, of Walnut Creek, who is registered as a decline-to-state but described himself as a left-leaning voter.
Kelling said Angelides seems to have spent all his time on the "anti-Arnold" platform. "I relish the opportunity to hear from Angelides about who he is and why I should vote for him," he said.
E-mail Tom Chorneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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毎日新聞 2006年10月12日 東京朝刊