LETTER: Japan needs to acknowledge WWII actions

Dear Editor,

The Abe government in Japan is acting against the international community in recently questioning Japan’s pledge in the Kono Statement of 1993, in which Japan acknowledged its wartime sexual slavery during World War II.

During a time of increasing tensions throughout Asia, Japan is stirring up tensions with the Republic of Korea and other Asian nations who seek dignity and respect for the women during the wartime years who were forced against their will into systematic sexual slavery by Japan’s military.

Nearly 70 years have passed since the end of the Second World War. There are 54 survivors in Korea who still give living testimony to the abuses they suffered. United Nations reports have recorded the particular statements of 16 victims who were under the authority of the Japanese Imperial Army. Their statements demonstrate that their circumstances were established as a matter of historical fact.

The Korean government also has expressed its profound disappointment with the Abe government, which appears to be allowing a revisionist history that cannot be accepted.

World opinion recognizes the serious humiliation of the wartime sexual slaves. The Abe government should not seek to diminish the significance of the Kono Statement. It is important that Japan provide a public apology for their pain and sorrow. Monetary compensation would never be enough to remove the deep pain and sorrow.

The memories of the Japanese occupation are still well remembered by many Koreans whose parents and other family members were affected by the Japanese wartime experience. Pope Francis will be meeting with some of the victims when he comes to Korea for an official visit to Korea. The world will be watching his visit. The world also will closely watch whether the Japanese government gives appropriate respect to the victims. (end)

— Ron & Buwon Brown    
Edmonds, WA

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