Empty Apologies

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been reluctant to admit that Japan was responsible for wartime sex slaves, “apologized” today – choosing his words very carefully:

Mr Abe said, during a debate in parliament’s upper house, that he stood by an official 1993 statement in which Japan acknowledged the imperial army set up and ran brothels for its troops during the war.

“As I frequently say, I feel sympathy for the people who underwent hardships, and I apologise for the fact that they were placed in this situation at the time,” he said. [BBC]

Of course, he stopped short of actually taking responsibility for causing their “situation,” which was the direct result of inhuman perversity in the Japanese war machine during WWII.

Sorry Abe, but your words ring hollow – “apologize” as much as you want, but unless the government owns up and stops editing the history books, there is no justice for these women.

It will be interesting to hear the reaction from China and Korea to the PM’s latest remarks (China’s premier cut his visit to Japan short last week on account of Abe’s continued denial) – but until then, it may be better to consider how these countries can help these women realize justice in their own way; The Metropolitician wrote a great post on how Korea’s sex slaves have become nationalist symbols – to the detriment of their cause.

You know the line: “Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it.” The same goes for those who deny history’s darker corners …

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