Japan’s opportunityThe U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War II yesterday. The resolution was first submitted in 1997 but failed time and again after intense lobbying by the Japanese government. Finally, it has been adopted after 10 years.
The resolution urges the Japanese government to acknowledge that the imperial army forced innocent young Asian women into sex slavery, offer an apology and take responsibility for this crime. We appreciate the U.S. lawmakers’ wisdom and decisiveness. They adopted the resolution despite lobbying and threats from Japan’s right-wing forces.
We find the resolution very meaningful. It condemns Japan’s distorted perceptions of the comfort women system it used to bolster the morale of its troops. The resolution bemoans the existence of this barbarous institution, calling it the biggest human trafficking crime of the 20th century.
The Japanese government has argued that there are no official documents to prove that the government was involved in the system or that the women in the brothels were forced into the trade.
But the resolution makes it clear that these arguments are lies. It says that Japanese government officials are attempting to deny the 1993 Kono statement, which first officially acknowledged the comfort women system and Japan’s complicity. The resolution also goes on to say that Japanese history textbooks fail to accurately depict Japan’s wartime crimes.
Japan has persistently refused requests to apologize from Korea and China, but the resolution has refuted Japan’s stance on the issue. Japan’s security heavily depends on its alliance with Washington, and now the American people have started to condemn Japan’s brazen attitude.
Japan doesn’t need to make this complicated. It must take the adoption of the resolution as a good chance for change. Japan used all means to stop the resolution, even running a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post denying that force was used against its sex-slave victims. That didn’t work.
Japan is a democratic country with the world’s second-largest economy. It is a leader in the international community, but it has been criticized for its distorted perception of history.
We hope that Japan will implement the resolution faithfully and finally free itself from the shackles of history.
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