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bad neighbors
Japan Won't Retract Comfort Women Apology

The Japanese government announced today that it would not be retracting a landmark 1993 apology to “comfort women” whom the Japanese military forced to become sex slaves during WWII. Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, said two weeks ago that a government-appointed council of experts would review the evidence upon which the apology, known as the Kono statement, was based. That review will still go forward, Suga said yesterday, but the apology would remain intact as originally offered.

No doubt some right-wing parliamentarians and like-minded Japanese will be disappointed. Some members of Abe’s party believe the comfort women were ordinary prostitutes, and that the Japanese Imperial army is far from guilty of coercing them into doing anything. China and South Korea, where many of the women came from, are irked, to say the least, by these assertions. The debate has gone all the way to a small town in California, where a Japanese parliamentarian recently arrived to urge the city to destroy a comfort women statue erected by the South Korean immigrant community, saying it provokes “false propaganda.”

As Martin Fackler reports for the New York Times, the Japanese government’s review of the apology could be an attempt to placate the more fiery right-wingers in Abe’s party. “We have no intention to rethink the Kono Statement,” Suga said. The review will be conducted in secret.

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  • stan

    Lots of uses of “right-wingers”. The term doesn’t add anything to understanding of the story, but it does manage to plant a negative association with the term for purposes of domestic politics here in the US.


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