Protesters gather in downtown LA to speak against Abe during visit

May 1, 2015
Protesters came with signs and breathing masks with a taped X on them to signify that Abe's "Silence" (Korea Times/Brian Han)

Protesters came with signs and breathing masks with a taped X on them to their “unhappiness with Abe’s silence on the issue.” as explained by a participant. (Korea Times/Brian Han)

By Brian Han

Hundreds of activists gathered on Friday outside the Biltmore hotel in downtown Los Angeles to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s lack of an outright apology for Japan’s World War II actions regarding sexual slavery.

Abe is in Los Angeles to discuss trade with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and was welcomed to speak at the White House earlier this week.

A diverse crowd including Korean, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese descent shouted phrases demanding Abe to show genuine remorse while politicians and donors drove in through the entrance for a luncheon with the prime minister.

The dry 90-degree heat didn’t stop protesters from standing outside for several hours to voice their cause.

The demonstration follows on the heels of Abe’s speech to the U.S. Congress in which many hoped to see him repent for Japan’s sexual enslavement of women during the war.

Instead Abe admitted a brief regret during his 45-minute speech Wednesday, which was seen as more of an avoidance of the issue by many who felt his words were not enough.

“It’s a bit embarrassing that he didn’t just say what he needed to say,” Japanese citizen Miko Yuzuki said. “I feel like he’s stirring a lot of trouble that could be avoided.”

Yuzuki came to address a different issue though.

Miko Yuzuki came to protest Abe for a few reasons including the handling of the 2011 nuclear meltdown of Fukushima. (Korea Times/Brian Han)

Miko Yuzuki came to protest Abe for a few reasons including the handling of the 2011 nuclear meltdown of Fukushima. (Korea Times/Brian Han)

“The Fukushima nuclear meltdown is a big problem for me because I have friends who lost everything to it,” she said while tearing up. “There are still kids in that area who are exposed to contamination. The Japanese media and government are trying to cover it up to help their 2020 Olympic bid, but it’s not worth it. None of it is worth it”

Many from the Korean Veterans Association in America lined up on the sidewalk handing out flyers and signs that read “Do what Germany did,” and “Denial brings Japan shame,” among many others.

“It is shame and disappointment Abe brings to whole world,” a veteran surnamed Park said. “Germany shows honor and Japan should too.”

Park is referring to Germany’s full fledged apology regarding the country’s actions during World War II.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Abe to address the issue three weeks ago when they met in Tokyo.

Alexander Feng, 34, holds two signs

Alexander Feng, 34, holds two signs — one regarding Japan’s editing of school textbooks and the other urging Japan to follow in Germany’s footsteps. (Korea Times/Brian Han)

Some protesters stood on street corners to answer questions for any curious passersby.

“My role here today is to inform those who do not know what is going on,” Alexander Feng, 34, said. “Not only is [Abe] failing to apologize, but he’s trying to erase history in his country’s favor. How ignorant can a person be to think that such an action would not upset many people and create more problems.”

Feng is referring to an incident in January when Japan got caught up in a controversy by trying to get rid of passages in U.S. history books regarding its past involvement with sexual slavery.

A few young bystanders were participating as well by passing out flyers.

“I didn’t know what all this was until today, but I think it’s something I can get behind,” Marco Gutierrez, 15, said. “Like, I don’t get why this Abe guy won’t just say sorry.”

Gutierrez, who did not use his real name because he was supposed to be in school, and his two friends even engaged in chants denouncing the Japanese prime minister.




  1. horangihgomtoki

    May 2, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    Why do Koreans only bitch about Japan?

    It was US that divided Korea and gave half to Stalin.

    It was US that set the grounds for the Korean War.

    It was US that committed genocide in Korea with massive aerial bombing.

    It is now US that is using Korean collaborators to push homosexual marriage on Korea.

    South Korea is a political and cultural colony of the US.

    And Korean elites are slaves of American elites.

    US is ruled by globalist Zionists, and they don’t care about Korea.
    They just want to contain China and will work if Japan if necessary. To American elites, Korea is just a running dog, and Koreans are seen as stupid children who get plastic surgery and dye their hair to look white.
    Koreans are under the delusion that Korea is an equal partner of America. Korea is a pawn in the geo-political game.

    But cowardly Koreans only pick on Japanese but they never demand Americans to come clean about the division of Korea and the massive genocidal bombing of the north.

    • thomas

      May 2, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      TO: horangihgomtoki
      Your idiotic point of view is likely the byproduct of your upbringing and false sense of superiority. Because you like to think you know “your” history, I will provide you with one history lesson. Japan is not a hegemonic state, never was and never will be. You chose the wrong side and ultimately was crushed by the Allied forces. If honor is indeed a staple of Japanese culture, it certainly does not exist from your comments. I’ll try to make it simple for you to understand. Be a man and own up!

    • Michael Do

      May 2, 2015 at 5:55 PM

      So you’re OK with Japan denying comfort women exist. Denying the Comfort women is just like denying the Holocaust. Also you accussed South Korea of being a US colony. Why didn’t you do the same for Japan, aren’t their US bases in Japan (Does Yokota, Misawa, and Kadena Air base sound familiar to you). Japan committed war crimes against American too, why aren’t you criticizing Japan for that too?

  2. Younghyun Kim

    May 4, 2015 at 3:25 AM

    A lot of the enlightened people will speak up for our era’s real truth of history, barring those all who were against it. Needless to say, it itself has no choice but to distort or deny their shameful histroical facts and let themsveles speak up against our era’s consolidating and harmonizing mood for/with world peace and justice. It is deplorable that Japan was going on not to consent with and accept a lot of the victims’ surely demand on Abe’s genuine apology and remorse for their country’s unpardonable atrocities against a lot of Asian weak women and others.

    The world will never remain idly to keep an eye on their ongoing historical distortions. I as a weak world worldling call for Japan’s grave reflection. If Japan keeps having an easy conscience, they or Japan and Japanese will never go tegother and also, can never be a reliable neighboring country that must make its amicable relations with the whole countries.

    2015. 05. 04. in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do from Younghyun Kim

    • Kou Min Tang

      May 5, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      Truth without evidence that only convenient for Korea. That is not truth. Truth today is many Chinese youth dislike Korean and like Japan because Japan has been a very good nation actually for last 50 years. If Korean can not see such truth, better stay in fantasy and other nation will even care less about Korean.

  3. Kou Min Tang

    May 5, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    Korean people only care about money. Korean talk big being better than Japanese yet all they buy is made in Japan. Drive Lexus, not Hyndai to proud themselves… I am chiease and love Japan and dislike Korean. Chinese government better act as a big leader to be friend with today’s trustable nation, not a coward who only attach themselves with China until they no longer needed to betray China soon.