The Japanese government has started its planned review of the 1993 Kono statement, an apology made to the victims of wartime sexual slavery, also known as “comfort women.” But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emphasized that there are no plans to revise the statement, but only to find out how they were able to reach that conclusion and apology.
Ever since Suga stated a few weeks ago that there will be a review of the Kono Statement, named after then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono who drafted the official apology, there were some fears and criticism that the current administration would revise or backtrack from this landmark statement. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said assured the public that under his rule, there will be no revision to their stand about Japan’s role in the plight of the comfort women. Suga stressed that this review is to check on the historical facts that the Kono Statement is based on and that the “verifying team” will be composed of three women and two men or “five intellectuals” whose identities will be kept secret.
Part of the evidence they will be reviewing are the 16 statements from Korean “comfort women” regarding their experiences with the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II when they were forced into sexual slavery for them. What is unclear however is what the government will do if upon review, they find that there are some discrepancies with the sword statements and documents. Countries who were most affected by this issue, like China, South Korea and the Philippines have been constantly demanding that Japan make a formal apology and justly compensate the victims and their families. But some right-wing politicians have questioned the veracity of the Kono statement and some have been quoted as saying this whole comfort women issue is being overblown. This is one of the reasons why relations between Japan and its East Asian neighbours are at a standstill.
[ via Bangkok Post ]