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.
A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported on November 4, 2018.
The decision by the Abe government to return Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine to Seoul and Consul-General Yasuhiro Morimoto to Busan represents a total failure of Japan’s current approach to diplomatic relations with its closest neighbor, South Korea.
Donald Trump’s comments about the potential need for the United States to retract its responsibility to defend Japan helps conservative Japanese politicians bolster this East Asian nation’s military posture.
Shinzo Abe loved his grandfather, and so the chance to follow in his footsteps must be exhilarating indeed. In 1959 Tokyo was awarded the 1964 Summer Olympics. The prime minister of Japan in 1959 was Nobusuke Kishi, the current prime minister’s grandfather. Shinzo Abe, of course, had nothing to do with initiating Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympics.