Ending Japan’s lies

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Ending Japan’s lies

A document that proves the Japanese government’s forced mobilization of women from its colonies as sex slaves during World War II has been made public. The document, which has long been kept by the National Archives of Japan and was released after a civic group’s request for the information, contains a record of trials at a court in Batavia, Indonesia, in 1949. The court records - a written indictment and sentence against five Japanese officers and four civilians - reveal that a group of Dutch women locked up on the island of Java were ordered to be transferred to four “comfort houses” to engage in forced sex with Japanese officers and soldiers.

The revelations were already used in 1993 by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono under the Cabinet of Kiichi Miyazawa when he issued an official statement recognizing the government’s forced mobilization of the “comfort women.” Yet, in his first term as prime minister in 2007, Shinzo Abe decided to not accept the legitimate accusations of forced exploitation of innocent women as sex slaves - because “any descriptions suggesting our government or military’s involvement were not found in the records we have discovered,” he said.

In his second term as prime minister, Abe adheres to that position, which shows that he doesn’t want to change his mind even when he must have known that there were trial records that prove the truth. It’s shameful that he still sticks to his original position even when his words prove to be sheer lies.

Korea-Japan relations have hit a low since the establishment of diplomatic relationships in 1965, primarily because the Japanese government only rubs salt into our wounds by steadfastly denying its misdeeds during the colonial days instead of regretting or sincerely apologizing for what it did to Koreans during those days.

Some Japanese politicians and right-wing forces are even committing racial violence against Korean residents in Japan, not to speak of the business-as-usual attacks against Korean sentiments. Such a deplorable situation has been getting worse since Japan surrendered its coveted status as the world’s No. 2 economy to China.

Unfettered nationalism is detrimental to the stability of East Asia, which has emerged as the center of the world. That further deprives Japan of its international standing and influence. No matter how affluent its economy or strong its military, stubborn attitudes and the flouting of the need to respect neighbors is tantamount to giving up any mutual respect. We urge the Japanese government to confront the undeniable truth as soon as possible.

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