Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Japan’s “Comfort Women”

Japan’s “Comfort Women”
admin January 15, 2012 Today I Learned

During World War II, up to 200,000 “comfort women”, some as young as 11 years old, were forced to deliver sexual services to Japanese soldiers. The majority. such as Moon Pil-Ki, came from North Korea, which was occupied by the Japanese military. Others were from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Dutch East Indies, and other Japanese-occupied regions. Japanese authorities believed that by providing sex on demand, the soldiers’ morale, and thereby effectiveness, would be improved.

Many comfort women were tricked or defrauded, while others were kidnapped. “I was playing jump-rope in front of my house when an automobile pulled over. I have never seen a car before in my village. When the driver offered me a ride, I, curious and naive, climbed in with my friend,” said Kim Yoon Shim, about her abduction at the age of 13.

In the late 1980s the story of the comfort women began to emerge. in 1991, a South Korean woman, Grandma Kim Hak Soon, became the first person to speak publicly about the existence of comfort women. Other survivors came forward, and the international community became aware of the wartime practices. Documents retrieved by history professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki forced the Japanese Government to admit involvement of the state om the operation of comfort stations. Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi expressed his regret and apologies during his state visit to South Korea in January 1992. The issue of legal responsibility and compensation is still unresolved.

Has Anybody Seen Our Nuclear Bomb?5
admin February 12, 2012 Today I Learned

On the night of February 5, 1958, a B-47 bomber carrying a hydrogen bomb on a training flight off the U.S. coast of Georgia collided with an F-86 fighter. The bomber was severely damaged, so before attempting to land, the pilot jettisoned the bomb into the tidal sands of Wassaw Sound off Tybee Island.

The Air Force looked for the bomb for two months before calling the search off and requesting a new H-bomb to replace the one it had lost. This was a major embarressement for all concerned; since 1945, the U.S. had lost more than 10 nuclear weapons. In a joint statement to the press, the Defense Department and the Atomic Energy Commission, admitted that radioactivity could be “scattered” by the detonation of the H-bomb, but down-played the possibility of that ever happening.

Remarkably, though the “Tybee Bomb” had long been a subject of local lore, the incident drew little attention until some four decades later when a deep-sea salvage company, run by former Air Force personnel and a CIA agent, believed it had found the location of the 7,600-pound (3,500 kg) bomb. The media got hold of the story, and the case of the “Tybee Bomb” came under national scrutiny.

There remains controversy over whether to undertake the long and costly process of once more attempting to recover the bomb. While there is no official acknowledgment – apart from the pilot’s testimony – that the bomb had its plutonium capsule attached, it does contain a store of uranium, which presents the possibility of an environmental disaster. The bomb also holds some 400 pounds (180 kg) of conventional explosives. Some experts, however, believe that given the presence of unstable chemicals and deteriorating explosives, it is safer to leave the bomb intact – wherever it might be.

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