US Supreme Court Denies Japanese Attempt to Remove Comfort Woman Statue In California

This does seem pretty stupid for the Japanese government to oppose this statue since it is sitting in a public park and not right in front of a Japanese embassy or consulate like we have seen in Korea.  How would the Japanese public feel if the US launched a lawsuit to take down statues remembering atomic bombing victims?:

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce places a bouquet on a bench next to the bronze comfort woman statue in Glendale, California, in January 2014. / Korea Times file

The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed Japanese government efforts to remove from California a “comfort women” statue that symbolizes victims of Japan’s sexual slavery during World War II.

The court on Monday decided not to review the case brought by U.S. plaintiffs who were supported by the Japanese government. It ended Japan’s three-year bid to remove the statue. U.S. politicians involved in the case and civil rights groups applauded the decision.

Glendale’s comfort woman statue is the first erected outside Korea.

U.S. Republican Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Japan Times: “By remembering the past, including the women who suffered immensely, we help ensure these atrocities are never committed again.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Nearly 10,000 California National Guard Soldiers Ordered to Pay Back Reenlistment Bonuses

Here is a story that is likely to get the blood boiling for many people this morning:

Soldiers from the California Army National Guard have been ordered to return enlistment bonuses they received a decade ago when the Pentagon needed troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (California Army National Guard)

Soldiers from the California Army National Guard have been ordered to return enlistment bonuses they received a decade ago when the Pentagon needed troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (California Army National Guard)

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.  [LA Times]

You can read the rest at the link, but basically California National Guard personnel were illegally giving out federal reenlistment bonuses to personnel who did not qualify in order to meet their quotas:

In 2010, after reports surfaced of improper payments, a federal investigation found that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were given to California Guard soldiers who did not qualify for them, or were approved despite paperwork errors.

Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California Guard’s incentive manager, pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false claims of $15.2 million and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Three officers also pleaded guilty to fraud and were put on probation after paying restitution.

Instead of forgiving the improper bonuses, the California Guard assigned 42 auditors to comb through paperwork for bonuses and other incentive payments given to 14,000 soldiers, a process that was finally completed last month.

Roughly 9,700 current and retired soldiers have been told by the California Guard to repay some or all of their bonuses and the recoupment effort has recovered more than $22 million so far.

The way I look at it is if the personnel who were given the bonuses did not know they were improperly given then why should they be forced to pay it back when they fulfilled their end of the contract?  This looks like something Congress needs to take a hard look at and rectify.

Korean Man Arrested for Multiple Rapes in California

People should be careful who they meet up with through Kakao:

A Korean man in his 20s got arrested for having multiple sexual activities with underage girls that he met through the social network.

Anaheim police department arrested a Korean man Mr. Kim last 29th of March for having sexual relationships and raping teen girls.

According to the Anaheim police, Kim contacted a 13-year-old girl through messaging app on the phone in 2014.

Kim then met the teen girl at a shopping mall in Irvine and took her to his house in La Habra and raped her.

The Anaheim police officers started sting operation and engaged in social network with Mr. Kim, disguised as the girl. Kim, thinking the officers were teenage girl, sent photos of his private body parts and offered her to have sexual activities.

Kim went out to the park in Anaheim not realizing the girl was actually the police officer and was arrested.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Comfort Women Protest In California

A performance is under way in front of a statue at a park of a public library in Glendale, California, on July 28, 2014, in memory of the victims of Japan’s sex slavery during World War II. The statue of a girl was built last year to mourn the victims. It is a replica of the one set up in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Despite Japan’s strong protest, the city government provided the land for the statue, which is designed to urge Japan to apologize and compensate the victims of the wartime sex slavery. Japan has so far refused to do so, while denying historic facts. Historians estimate that more than 200,000 Asian women, mostly Koreans, were forced to serve as sex slaves for front-line Japanese soldiers in the war. (Yonhap)