Truth does not bendThe more we think about it, the more despicable it seems. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could simply admit that Japan forcibly conscripted “comfort women,” but instead he is now making a mendacious distinction between “forced in a broad sense” and “forced in a narrow sense,” denying that the latter took place. What an embarrassment.
In 1993, then Japanese Prime Minister Yohei Kono issued a statement in which he admitted that Japan’s Imperial Army had conscripted women by force to become sex slaves for its soldiers. If Mr. Abe plans to accept the spirit of Mr. Kono’s statement, he should say so. Instead, he says he will accept it only “in principle” and, by adding this equivocation, he has brought shame upon the nation he leads. Maybe Mr. Abe thinks he can appease his nationalist supporters by trampling on the comfort women with his rhetoric. Maybe he thinks these women are too old and too weak to protest and that he can add his linguistic abuse to the suffering they experienced many years ago.
Speaking before Japan’s House of Councillors on Monday, Mr. Abe said, “Government officials did not go into houses to kidnap women. There was no evidence of force in this narrow sense.” He then said, “there might be cases that involved some force. Using the term in a broad sense, there might have been force.” He then confessed, with reluctance, that he accepts the Kono Statement in principle but added that “Japan will not apologize even if the U.S. House of Representatives adopts a resolution on comfort women.” Even though Japan repeatedly claims that it has apologized, Mr. Abe’s statement provokes contempt, especially as Shoichi Nakagawa, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, made a pledge to revise the Kono Statementimmediately after Mr. Abe’s remarks. It has become difficult to trust Japan, given that the Kono Statement itself was inadequate.
Research proves that Japan used many methods to enslave comfort women including kidnapping, threats and employment fraud. There are direct and indirect evidence and the testimonies of victims. As the number of victims dwindle through death, Mr. Abe plays with words like “broad ” and “narrow” in a way that insults these brave women and raises concerns about Korea-Japan relations.
Mr. Abe should reflect on why the media throughout Asia and the Western world have condemned his remarks. They are speaking for the comfort women, whose stories cannot be silenced by death or deception.