[EDITORIALS]Denial Gets Still Harder

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[EDITORIALS]Denial Gets Still Harder

It appears likely that a resolution to ban violence against women will be adopted unanimously at the 57th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. The proposal was made jointly by 39 of the 53 nations on the commission. The crux of the resolution is a mechanism for investigating and pinpointing responsibility for human rights violations and wartime crimes so that perpetrators of violence against women can be indicted and judged in court. Article 1 of the text says that the commission views highly Special Rapporteur Cooma-raswamy's report, which proposed that the Japanese government be held legally accountable for the comfort women stations in the Japanese military, asked compensation for the victims and sought punishment of those responsible. It has become difficult for Japan to escape responsibility by simply repeating that it admits "moral responsibility."

The comfort women stations in the Japanese military during World War II were humanitarian crimes committed against women unparalleled in world history. Nonetheless, the Japanese government has held that the issue is one "of the past" that has been resolved through existing international agreements and bilateral treaties. It has dismissed not only the recommendations made by special rapporteurs of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, but even the repeated recommendations made by the international community, such as compensation for victims of the comfort stations, adopted as the final report of the United Nations Human Rights Sub-commission. In 1999, Japan masked references to the stations in Japanese textbooks. This year, it is going a step further and omitting mention of the stations in seven of the eight junior high school history textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education. Despite the evidence, how can there be people like professor Dakao Sakamoto who blurt out without shame, "The history of comfort stations is toilet history"?

As a responsible member of the international community, the Japanese government should accept and implement the recommendations made in the Commission's resolution and bid farewell to its shameful past. It should honestly record historical facts on the military comfort stations in its textbooks so that history will not repeat itself. It should take punitive action against the perpetrators and compensate the victims.
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