Japan ‘won’t apologise again’ over sex slaves(FT.com)

Japan “won’t apologise again” over sex slaves
By David Pilling in Tokyo and Song Jung-a in Seoul
[Financial Times FT.com Published: March 5 2007 05:54 | Last updated: March 5 2007 09:00]

Shinzo Abe, prime minister, told parliament Monday he would not apologise again for Japan’s behaviour during the second world war when it forced tens of thousands of Asian women to work in Imperial Army brothels.

In remarks that could dent improving relations with Asian neighbours and even strain ties with the US, Japan’s closest ally, he disputed the accuracy of a draft US Congress resolution condemning Japan’s wartime activities and calling for an apology.

Mr Abe said: “There will be no instance in which we apologise because of a resolution. The draft resolution is not based on objective facts.”

Yasuhisa Shiozaki, chief cabinet secretary, said Mr Abe would stick to a 1993 apology in which Japan acknowledged and apologised for coercion “in the broad sense.”

Some on the right in Japan, including Mr Abe, concede that the Japanese military recruited sex slaves through middlemen, but deny direct coercion.

Jeffrey Kingston, professor of Asian studies at Temple University in Tokyo, said: “It reminds me of [former US president Bill] Clinton’s: It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is. This kind of legalistic loophole doesn’t play well.”

Prof Kingston said there was no doubt Japan systematically organised the recruitment of sex slaves on a mass and unprecedented scale. Some Japanese historians dispute that, saying prostitutes voluntarily responded to a market need.

Gerry Curtis, Burgess professor of political science at Columbia University, said girls as young as 14 were recruited to Japanese brothels to service Japanese soldiers. “They should say it was a terrible thing to do and let it go,” he said. “This does terrible damage to Japan’s image.”

Yang Seung-ham, a professor of politics and diplomacy at Yonsei Univeristy, said Mr Abe’s comments could have a more damaging impact on Korea-Japan relations than visits by Junichiro Koizumi, his predecessor, to the controversial Yasukuni shrine. “His inappropriate comments show that Tokyo is not willing to improve its relations with Korea, China and other Asian countries,” he said.

A cross-party group of 30 South Korean politicians issued a statement saying: “Attempts to cover up atrocities committed against comfort women are as futile as attempts to cover up heaven with your palm.” It added: “The more Japan attempts to cover this up, the heavier its responsibility for its oppressive colonial rule and cruel war crimes will become.”

South Korea’s foreign ministry, which on the weekend expressed its “strong regret” over earlier comments from Mr Abe, said his attitude “cast doubts on the sincerity of Japan’s regret and atonement” as expressed in the 1993 apology.

Commentators in Japan differed as to whether Mr Abe was trying to shore up his rightwing support base at home or was simply expressing sincerely held views that Japan was too often singled out for wartime atrocities.

Historians around Mr Abe also resent what they regard as US meddling in Japan’s affairs after the introduction of a draft resolution on the “comfort women” issue by US House of Representatives member Michael Honda, a California Democrat.

On Friday, John Negroponte, deputy secretary of state, described Japan’s treatment of Asian sex slaves as “most deplorable”.



 30人の韓国政治家の超党派グループは声明を出した。その声明は次のように言っている。「従軍慰安婦にたいして犯された残虐行為を覆い隠そうという試みは、あなたの手のひらで天国を包み込もうとする試みと同じほど無駄である」。さらにこう続けている。 「日本がこれを覆い隠そうとすればするほど、日本がおこなった圧制的な植民地支配と残虐な戦争犯罪にたいするその責任はますます重くなるだろう」


Similar Articles:

  1. 壊れる前に… - trackback on 2007/03/08 at 00:00:53

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <img localsrc="" alt="">

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: