U.S. Representative Mike Honda and Representative Steve Israel have cautioned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about revising the 1993 apology over sexual enslavement during World War II. They say that this move will set back relations between Japan and the United States, as well as severely affecting relations with its Asian neighbors.
Honda, who spearheaded a 2007 House resolution that took Japan to task for forcing women from China, Korea, the Philippines, into sexual slavery, said that aging former “comfort women” are “still waiting for an appropriate apology” from Japan for what they suffered. In a letter sent by the two Democratic congressmen, they said that if Abe’s administration revises the 1993 apology, it “would have grave implications for the US-Japanese relationship”. It could also ignite unnecessary provocation with its neighboring countries and increase tensions with countries like China and South Korea, who are already on edge due to territorial disputes.
A 1993 apology issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono offered “sincere apologies” for the “immeasurable pain and suffering” inflicted on comfort women. Two years later the Japanese government issued a broader apology expressing “deep remorse” for their war actions. During Abe’s first tenure as Prime Minister, he made controversial statements about comfort women and called for a revision of the 1993 apology. His view is supported by a lot of conservatives who claim to this day that the women were not coerced into prostitution during World War II. Upon returning to office in December 2012, Abe said that they will be crafting a “future-oriented” statement on World War II, but refused to comment on the comfort women apology because it wasn’t issued by a prime minister, so it wasn’t in his purview.[ via Inquirer ]