In the Muddy Waters of Historical Revisionism: Isolated from International Society (Part 1)
by Kazuko Itō, Lawyer and Human Right Activist
Excerpt from her Blog
August 15th was the anniversary of the end of the war … Why did not Prime Minister mention Japan’s responsibility for the damage during the war?
Yesterday was the anniversary of the end of the war. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe attended the Memorial Ceremony of the War Dead, which was held by the government.
In his address of the ceremony, neither did he mention Japan’s responsibility for the damage inflicted on other Asian countries nor did he state the renunciation of war, as his predecessors had done. He did not mention them last year, either.
I suspect he intentionally did not mention these words two years in a row. Not only in other countries but also in Japan people worry about his attitude.
PM repeats to phrase “future-oriented relationships,” but only victims have the right to say “let bygones be bygones. Let’s develop future-oriented relationships.” Offenders are not entitled to claim such relationships.
On the same day, South Korean President Park said “Now, South Korea and Japan should overview the new 50 years and build an amiable and cooperative relationship thinking about the future,” showing that she is willing to improve the bilateral relationship.
Pointing out that in order to do so, some efforts should be made to heal our historical wounds, she asked Japan to solve the issue of Sex Slave. They both talk about future-oriented relationships but their visions are different.
Of all the days in a year, on the anniversary of the end of World War II, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held an urgent meeting.
More concerned is the move of the LDP.
On 15th, the LDP’s association of MPs, “The Association that Talks about Japanese Future and History Education,” held an urgent meeting and agreed that they were going to investigate the facts about the issue of Sex Slave.
This was followed by the report that the Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest daily newspaper, retracted a series of articles on the women forced by Japan to serve in military brothels during World War II. As a chief of the LDP’s policy research council, Takaichi insisted that, what we should do now is recover Japan’s honor and correct the wrong information spread over the world.
Her course of action is clear. She wants to recover Japan’s honor, saying, “Japan has not done such an evil thing.” Such an argument made by Japanese conservatives does not have a global currency. Japan is being left behind by a trend of promoting human rights in international society.
Don’t they realize that they don’t have any vision so they are losing Japan’s honor rather than recovering it?
In August, the Asahi Shimbun retracted a part of past article after verifying a man’s testimony, which said that during World War II, in Korea, then a Japanese colony, Japan forcefully transported hundreds of young women.
But why can they deny the fact that Japan forcefully transported women or Japan’s responsibility for damaging other Asian countries based on the judgment that the only one man’s testimony was false?
Even on the website of the Asian Women’s Fund, whose establishment was supported by the Japanese government, you can find articles mentioning forceful transportation. http://www.awf.or.jp/e-guidemap.htm
The conservatives are obsessed with whether material evidence to prove that Japan forced women to transport exists, trivializing the issue as if they are saying, “if you cannot find any material evidence, Japan has no responsibility for damaging the women.” Such an attitude deviates from the decent sense of human rights. As they make excuses, they are revealing that the Japanese lawmakers do not have a basic understanding of human rights. As a result, they disgrace themselves before the world.
Some young women were deceived if not forcefully taken but can Japan really make excuse, saying, “Japan did not forcefully take you to anywhere so although you were confined in a small space, savagely treated, and raped day and night, Japan was not guilty”?
Does any country or individual which make such an arrogant excuse deserve respect from others?
Their argument is almost equivalent to that of a criminal who says, “I’m not guilty because what I committed was not a robbery but a mere fraud” or “I’m not guilty because it was not a rape but it was only a sexual assault against a person who cannot offer resistance.”
As Japan is a constitutional state, it is not allowed to make such an excuse, is it?
Can’t they imagine how offensive their behaviors are?
I hesitate to say this but their personality is problematic.
Original Article: http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=8093
Translated by Atsuko Ishikawa