(Sankei: February 5, 2016 – p. 3)
By Masaru Nakamura
LOS ANGELES – Sankei has learned that a civic group of Korean-Americans is conducting a signature drive demanding the dismissal of Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on account of his support for the agreement between Japan and South Korea stipulating that the comfort women issue has been resolved finally and irreversibly. The Korean-American group’s relentless criticism directed not only at the governments of Japan and South Korea but also at a top U.S. government official is conspicuous. In his interview with NHK on Jan. 17, Blinken said: “We call on people everywhere, including in the United States, to support the agreement, and hope that their actions will follow in the spirit of the agreement,” issuing a warning to Korean-American civic groups.
In late January, certain Korean-Americans who are opposed to the agreement held a demonstration in front of the Federal Building where the State Department’s Los Angeles Office is located. A group that calls itself “Korean-American Civic Groups for ‘Comfort Women'” has launched a petition website demanding measures such as the dismissal of Blinken.
In the petition entitled “Fire Deputy Sec. Blinken for Treading on Our Civic Rights,” the group says the Japan-ROK agreement is “appeasing to Japan’s attempt at covering up the crimes against humanity that Japan committed by kidnapping, raping, and enslaving about 200,000 girls and women [sic].” The petition also notes that “all Americans should be outraged that a senior government official volunteered to be an accomplice to the war crimes.”
The civic group has set a goal of collecting the signatures of 500 people to send to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Although more than 70% of the 500 signatures have reportedly been collected, there is a possibility that many of the signatures are from South Koreans.
Secretary Kerry and other U.S. officials issued statements welcoming the agreement between Japan and South Korea. In addition, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner stated, “We hope for support for the agreement and its full implementation,” with Korean-American groups critical of the agreement in mind.
Moves not only to criticize the Japan-ROK agreement but to demand the dismissal of a senior U.S. government official will probably be viewed as extraordinary even in America.