[EDITORIALS]A strong message to JapanA U.S. House Committee on International Relations unanimously passed a resolution holding Japan accountable for sexually enslaving women during World War II.
This is interesting ― this is the first time the U.S. Congress has passed a resolution pertaining to Japan’s “comfort women.” The resolution not only admits the fact that Japan forced women into sexual slavery but also urges the Japanese government to accept its historical responsibility.
It also orders the Japanese government to educate present and future generations of Japanese on the inhumane and criminal act, and to take additional measures to help the victims by following the advice of international humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International.
The resolution, however, has no way to make Japan take these steps.
Yet it is most likely that the resolution might be effective in pressuring the Japanese government on various fronts, including paying compensations to victims, by reminding not only American society but also the entire world of the savage acts Japan committed.
The Japanese government in the early 1990s through its own investigation partially admitted to using comfort women and appeared to be moving to a public apology.
However, since then, there has been no significant action taken by the Japanese government. Additionally, some Japanese politicians from time to time argue that the comfort women did not exist and that there were no sex slaves.
Some even insisted that the term “comfort women” be taken out of textbooks.
The Japanese government should look seriously into why the U.S. Congress decided to pass the resolution on comfort women at this point of time.
They should be aware that its recent conflicts with its neighbors, such as Korea and China, over history was influential in the House’s decision.
The U.S. House committee, following the resolution on comfort women, opened a hearing to determine the influence that the worsening relations between Japan and its neighbors over historical issues, such as the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and the distortion of history textbooks, might have on U.S. interests in East Asia.
Japan should humbly accept that it committed wrongdoings in the past and show its determination not to make the same mistakes, through words and actions.