Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that what the comfort women had to endure during the war was “heart-wrenching.” The issue of these women, who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, has long been a source of contention between Japan and its neighbours, particularly South Korea.
“When I think of all the comfort women, it’s really heart-wrenching,” were Abe’s exact words during a press briefing at his visit in Iwate Prefecture. He added that Japan would want to make a “big contribution” to ensure that something like this would never happen again in the 21st century. When asked what are his concrete plans to do so, Abe said that he will continue to explain to the international community “Japan’s point of view and its policies.” This may probably include upholding the past administrations’ apologies for Japan’s wartime atrocities and specifically the famous “Kono statement” of 1993 made by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono which apologized to all the comfort women who were victimized.
Some might find Abe’s statement surprising, given the usually right-wing politics he is famous for. This comes on the heels of US President Barack Obama’s statement about the issue during his recent visit to South Korea, calling on Japan to initiate actions that would settle the issue so that the two East Asian countries could resume good diplomatic relations.
[ via The Mainichi ]