On January 17th, 2016, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken had an interview with NHK during his visit to Japan. NHK reported that Deputy Secretary expressed the United States’ support for the accord between South Korean and Japan regarding the “comfort women” issues and called for the Korean American community’s support and end to its opposition.

KACE pointed out in early February that such remarks can lead to a serious problem in the United States and requested for an apology to the Korean American community. Especially, if the Deputy Secretary’s remarks were true to NHK’s report, KACE asked for his resignation.

Deputy Secretary Blinken responded to our request by offering clarification. He reaffirmed that the position of the United States on the issue is that “the trafficking of women for sexual purposes by the Japanese military during World War II ‘was a terrible, egregious violation of human rights,'” and that the United States’ support for the agreement is “as a means to foster healing and reconciliation for the surviving victims and, in the process, strengthen relations between our two close friends and allies.”

He emphasized that NHK “incorrectly characterize[d]” his remarks and that the U.S. government strongly believes “in our First Amendment as a fundamental premise of our democracy,” a point which NHK did not report.

Deputy Secretary Blinken’s clarification reveals that the misreport by NHK was an effort to deliberately mar Korean Americans’ efforts to support the “comfort women” survivors. Despite such interference, KACE is determined to continue raising awareness and bringing justice until the victims and survivors recover their dignity and human rights.

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