Statement in support of Professor Arima: “Don’t allow the suppression of freedom of speech and learning – Resist the signature campaign calling for the dismissal of Professor Tetsuo Arima” – Nadeshiko Action Japanese Women for Justice and Peace

The International Institute for Historical Perspectives resolutely protests any act of suppression of freedom of speech and scholarship.

At present, an unusual and serious situation has arisen in which a signature campaign has been launched against Professor Tetsuo Arima (Waseda University), accusing him of being a “racist” and calling for his dismissal. This issue is not just about Professor Arima alone. It is a serious situation that threatens the freedom of speech and learning.

Freedom of speech and learning is based on respecting the opinions of others while asserting one’s own opinions through speech for speech and learning for learning. In other words, this is the main principle that protects freedom of speech and learning. However, the act of breaking this principle and trying to block opinions and arguments that do not match one’s own principles by signing a petition calling for dismissal is violence based on numbers, intimidation, and even a crime. The act of suppressing academic freedom and freedom of speech is strongly condemned, and the people who are affected by it must be protected from any threats and intimidation.

The online petition calling for Professor Arima’s dismissal [1] slanders him as “incitement to discrimination,” “advocate of hate speech,” “comfort women hater,” “history denying remark,” “sexist,” and so on. It cites four tweets from Professor Arima’s Twitter account as evidence for its claims. (See attached document)

The first statement is that it is well known that Koreans and people of Korean descent are opening Japanese restaurants overseas. The second statement is a criticism of the Hate Speech Elimination Ordinance that targets only people from outside Japan in Japan. As for the third statement, “comfort women were better off than Japanese soldiers,” it is a fact that comfort women were paid more than Japanese soldiers, and their hygiene and work regulations were followed, and as for “most Japanese comfort women,” there were many Japanese comfort women. Fourth, if you read the entire statement, it is a historical fact and Professor Arima’s impression. What in the world is “incitement to discrimination,” “advocacy of hate speech,” “comfort women hate,” “history denying remarks,” or “sexism” in these professor’s statements? Such slander and defamation must be regarded as character assassination to humiliate others.

We at the Institute are determined to thoroughly denounce such despicable acts that infringe on freedom of speech and learning, and attack personalities with baseless slander.

To this end, we request that the Science Council of Japan and Waseda University issue a statement criticizing the above-mentioned series of acts that may undermine academic freedom. We also request that Professor Arima, who has been exposed to unjustified slander and defamation, be given generous compensation for the serious psychological damage he has suffered.

The following is a detailed description of the actual situation of the suppression of Professor Arima’s speech.

Professor Tetsuo Arima

Professor Tetsuo Arima of the Graduate School of Social Sciences at Waseda University is an expert in modern history, media studies, and public records. In July of this year (2021), he published “All the ‘comfort women’ had consensual contracts: The Impact of the Ramseyer Thesis”[2] and has also published an article on the Ramseyer Thesis[3]. 3] He has also published a paper on the Ramseyer paper on his YouTube channel[4] and Twitter[5]. He also took the stage at the emergency symposium “International History Debate over the Ramseyer Paper”[6] held by the Institute in April, and presented “Media Issues over Criticism of the Ramseyer Paper,” calling for respect for academic freedom regarding the Ramseyer paper.

Signing a petition calling for his dismissal

On October 5, an online petition “We demand the dismissal and prevention of the recurrence of professors who repeatedly incite discrimination and deny history” [7] was launched to criticize Professor Arima for “hating comfort women, denying history, and inciting serious discrimination” by taking up some of his words. At the same time, some South Korean media started to report criticism of Professor Arima and publicize the petition, and Japanese news sites reprinted it. In the first seven days, more than 8,400 signatures were collected. (As of October 12)

[Signature drive to protect Professor Arima

Two days later, an online petition “Let’s protest against the suppression of speech by certain groups against Professor Tetsuo Arima of Waseda University, call for prompt action by the police against such crimes, and demand a revision of the law to severely punish such crimes” [9] was launched in response to this petition. The number of signatures grew as volunteers spread the message, and in five days we collected more than 13,000 signatures. In terms of numbers, this means that there are many people who support Professor Arima. However, will the news media in Japan and Korea report this favorably?

But will the Japanese and Korean news media report it favorably?

It is not only the Japanese media that is reporting what the Korean media is receiving. It is not only the Japanese media that reports on the Korean media’s news, but also the Korean media, which is active in sending out news in English, that greatly affects the tone of the news overseas. It is difficult for information from the Japanese side to be conveyed correctly to foreign media and scholars who believe that the comfort women sex slave theory is correct. As in the case of Professor Ramseyer’s bashing [10], criticism of Professor Arima may begin overseas as well.

[Influence of Leftist NGOs on the UN

In addition, there is a good possibility that so-called leftist NGOs in Japan will report Professor Ramseyer and Professor Arima to the UN Commission on Human Rights Treaties as “haters against comfort women. The committee has repeatedly recommended to the Japanese government to “stop making defamatory statements against the victims (former comfort women)”[11] based on the opinions of NGOs. It may replace references to the truth about the comfort women with hate and use that recommendation with the authority of the United Nations behind it.

What will the International Institute for Historical Perspectives do in the future?

In terms of the number of signatures, support for Professor Arima is gaining momentum, but it is dangerous to rest on our laurels. We will continue to protest against the suppression of Professor Arima’s speech by numbers following Professor Ramseyer’s, and once again strongly emphasize the importance of protecting freedom of speech and learning.

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