Tokyo's despicable denial

Updated: 2014-06-24 07:12

(China Daily)

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Despite strong protests and denouncements at home and abroad, Tokyo once again stirred up confrontation with neighboring countries by accusing South Korea of influencing the content and wording of the Kono Statement, said a Xinhua News Agency commentary.

In a so-called review submitted to parliament on Friday, the Japanese government questioned the credibility of the Kono Statement, an apology released in 1993 by Japan's then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono for the more than 200,000 women from other Asian countries forced to serve in its military brothels during World War II.

Asian countries have demanded the Shinzo Abe government make an official apology and compensate these so-called comfort women, a euphemism for the young women forced into sex slavery.

Instead, the review is the latest move by the Abe administration to deny history and pander to domestic rightists who want to whitewash the country's war crimes.

Whatever chicanery Tokyo might resort to, its questioning of the statement is a stain on Japan's international image and an insult to the women of the world. It reflects a bald-faced attempt by Abe to ultimately withdraw the country's previous apologies for its appalling war atrocities.

Moreover, Japan's so-called official investigation of the Kono Statement, which intentionally clings to the technical details in a small number of South Korean cases, ignores the full picture.

Documents in Japan and other countries prove Tokyo was not only "involved in," but systematically victimized women from China, the Korea Peninsula, the Netherlands, the Philippines and East Timor.

Instead of acknowledging its responsibilities and delivering compensation, the Abe administration has launched this latest farce, which is morally despicable.

Willful or not, the provocations by Japanese politicians over the "comfort women" issue have intensified recently. Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Japan's second-most populous city, Osaka, said Japan's treatment of these women was no worse than what British and US soldiers did to French women in World War II.

It is heartrending to see the historical facts relentlessly challenged by opportunistic Japanese politicians, while the victims of the country's past crimes have to suffer the disappointment of deferred justice.

Abe and his increasingly assertive cabinet should be reminded that any kind of stigmatization of the Kono Statement, which is another bald-faced denial of history, is doomed to failure.

Instead, it is time for these nationalist politicians to pay the price for their vicious provocations.

(China Daily 06/24/2014 page8)