After The Asahi Shimbun retracted in August past articles related to Seiji Yoshida, who testified that he forcibly took away Korean women during the war, there was increasing criticism from some media organizations and politicians regarding the impact of Asahi's coverage of the comfort women issue on the international community.

Asahi commissioned the third-party panel to examine the international impact of its coverage. Three reports written by four committee members from different perspectives were appended in the report.

Committee members Yukio Okamoto and Shinichi Kitaoka reported that the generally held view among foreign intellectuals is that the “Japanese military directly, systematically, violently and premeditatedly abducted many women, unleashed violence on them and forcibly made them serve as comfort women.”

They said, “it is difficult to conclude that the Yoshida testimony played a major role in constructing this image, and the evidence that Asahi exercised major influence on the formation of the image is not definitive.”

But they also pointed out that coverage by the Japanese media, mainly by Asahi, “endorsed” the extreme views being made in South Korea about the comfort women issue and helped escalate criticism against Japan over the issue.

Committee member Sumio Hatano analyzed that considering the media coverage in South Korea, “it is difficult to conclude that Asahi’s ‘erroneous’ reports on Yoshida had much impact on the South Korean media.”

On the other hand, Hatano said regarding the top article on the front page of Asahi’s morning edition of Jan. 11, 1992, titled “Documents showing military involvement in comfort stations,” “From the perspective of the impact on Japan-South Korea relations, this 'scoop' had a sweeping effect of fostering public sentiment in South Korea to press for a full investigation into the matter, apology and compensation.”

Committee member Kaori Hayashi conducted a quantitative study of about 14,000 articles about the comfort women issue featured in 10 major newspapers in Britain, the United States, France and Germany as well as five major national dailies in South Korea since the 1990s.

“Asahi’s coverage of the Yoshida testimony and the comfort women issue had no significant impact on the international community,” Hayashi concluded.

She also reported, “Whether or not Asahi’s reports had any influence is only a part of (discussions over) the comfort women issue.”

Hayashi also reported that for politicians close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to make proposals to review the Kono statement or make remarks as if to deny the very existence of the comfort women issue has increased the coverage of the issue in the European and U.S. media.