Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should be cautious and leave historical issues to be debated by academics. This was the recommendation made by Motohiro Oono, an upper house member of the opposing Democratic Party of Japan, about Abe’s plans to revise what is known as the Kono statement.
In 1993, top government spokesperson Yohei Kono delivered an apology on behalf of the Japanese nation for the suffering of the so-called “comfort women“, women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II, mostly coming from China and South Korea. Shinzo Abe, whose Liberal Democratic Party ousted the DPJ in the general elections last December, has hinted at calling for a review and possible revision of the statement, contesting the historical accuracy of the “comfort women”. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation think-tank in Washington, Oono called such moves to be counterproductive and would likely deteriorate the already fragile relationships between Japan and its neighbors.
The Japanese government’s chief spokesperson, Yoshihide Suga, does agree that only history experts should study the Kono statement. But Suga also emphasized that Japan already honors a broader apology to World War II victims made by then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of Japan’s surrender. This historical dispute is adding to the tension between Japan, China, and South Korea, who are already embroiled in a bitter territorial dispute over two different sets of islands. The U.S. is keeping a close eye on these issues as it attempts to consolidate its allies Japan and South Korea to keep China in check. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday spoke by phone with Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida who will be visiting Washington next Friday.
[ via Canada.com ]