In 1993, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono made the most full-throated admission and apology acknowledging that Japan had coerced women across Asia into being sex slaves—euphemistically referred to as “Comfort Women”—for the Japanese military during the Pacific War. More recently, however, conservative politicians such as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura have engaged in a campaign that is less about carving out a path toward reconciliation than to overwrite memories of an unsavory past.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) advised the government of Japan to take a more active stance towards the Comfort Women matter. The UN report was published on August 30, and it called for a “lasting solution” based on “a victim-centered approach.”
A basic primer on the issues surrounding the controversial Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution.
The Abe Cabinet itself is now openly endorsing and defending the Imperial Rescript on Education, in spite of the fact that both houses of the Diet denounced the document in June 1948 as a handmaiden to wartime Japanese militarism.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are supposed to be a partnership between the national government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and Governor Yoichi Masuzoe is clearly determined that his voice will be heard. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suddenly reversed course on July 17 and decided to take the national stadium construction plans “back to zero,” he clearly didn’t make much of an effort to communicate or coordinate with the Tokyo governor.
The history of Japanese war crimes committed during the Pacific War, and who should take responsibility for them, is a very involved one. It took numerous expert historians and years of research to come to the conclusion that Japan was guilty of abducting Korean and Chinese women to use them as prostitutes for the Japanese Imperial Army: the so-called comfort women issue.
Almost seventy years after the guns fell silent, the Second World War remains very much present in the media, with frequent reminders of the human cost of the conflict. In the case of Japan this includes the fate of the soldiers and civilians captured in the closing days of the war, when the Soviet Union declared war and quickly overran Manchuria.
Okunoshima, also known as Rabbit Island, is a paradise for cuddly rabbits, but a deeper, darker secret lies below.
It has been little noticed in the mainstream media, but Japanese conservatives and their allies desiring to erase the painful history of the so-called Comfort Women have been taking their campaign of denial to the US White House. They are doing this through the “We the People” online petition section of the White House official webpage.
Recent news from Southeast Asia has been dominated by maritime conflicts, and then trade negotiations in second place. However, nature has once again reminded us all that it is not just conflicts among nations that threaten the life and property of citizens. The reminder has come in the shape of a terrible typhoon, known as Haiyan or Yolanda.