In the politics of 20th century East Asian history, the Japanese wartime practice of using women as sex slaves under the putrid euphemism “comfort women” is comparable only to the Nanjing Massacre and the Yasukuni Shrine in its prominence. In 1993, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Kono Yohei, acknowledged that “comfort stations” had existed and that military and government officials directly engaged in “recruitment” of sex slaves.
The Kono Statement hardly apologized for the full horror of the practice, but now Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is nonetheless backing away from Kono’s half-measure acknowledgment. “The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion,” Abe said, according to AP. “We have to take it from there.”
This comes after Abe in October said his administration would “inherit” the Kono Statement, despite the fact that he had spoken out against it previously.
Meanwhile in the United States:
Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives have drafted a nonbinding resolution calling for Abe to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility” for using “comfort women” during the war.
Supporters want an apology similar to the one the U.S. government gave to Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps during World War II.