The South Korean Foreign Ministry denounced Japan’s perceived efforts to take back its past apology to women who were forced into sexual slavery during the Second World War. The official, who declined to be named, said that Japan must be wary of taking actions that are thoughtless, which would cause “unbearable pains and scars” to the victims, known as “comfort women”, once again.
The official released the statement a day after Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga mentioned that a review on the interviews with 16 South Korean comfort women is being mapped out. The interviews, done in 1993, was the basis of the popular Kono Statement, a public apology by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono for the forced prostitution of some women by the Japanese Imperial Army. Speaking at a lower house budget meeting, Suga said that the review of the 21-year old interviews would be done by a government-led team with the aim of getting an academic perspective from the statements.
The official from the ministry said that Suga’s emphasis on verifying the accounts of the comfort women could be interpreted as Japan’s attempt to “refute the Kono Statement and turn back the clock of history.” He stressed that the Kono Statement is Japan’s admission of the direct and indirect hand of the Japanese Imperial Army in forcing women to be sex slaves during the war. Some Japanese nationalists maintained that no official document has been produced to support the claim that the women were coerced. The issue of “comfort women” has long stressed diplomatic relations between the two Asian neighbours with South Korean President Park Geun-hye continuing to refuse a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe because of his wrong perception of history and failure to repent for his nation’s past aggressions.
[via Global Times]