By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

02 August 2007

How Japan should react to "Comfort Women" Resolution

Is Japan regressing to its pre-war condition? The past and present cause me very much to think so. Prime Minister Abe’s pronouncement that the “Imperial army’s comfort women were not coerced in the strict sense of the word” has shaken the American political world and media. Consequently, criticism of Japan has risen, and the American Congress has adopted a resolution demanding that Japan apologize to the WW II comfort women in Asia.


In some respects, this evokes close resemblance to past generation. Before the war was an era before Japan and America were in conflict. During this era, criticism of the Japanese invasion of China mounted, and the Rape of Nanking was widely reported, leading to boycotts of Japanese products, etc. Americans at the time empathized with the Chinese, who were suffering under the Japanese, and with public opinion as a causal factor, sanctions against Japan in the form of the ABCD encirclement were implemented. "A" is America, "B" means British, the “C” means China and "D" means Dutch . At the time, in Japan , there was a sense that the Japanese themselves were not at fault over the sanctions, and with their backs to the wall there would be no option but to retaliate. They merely excused their stance out of emotional theory, which led to the attack on Pearl Harbor .

 The same is happening now. Just as before, the conservative media and politicians claim that the Japanese government is not responsible for the comfort women problem, and maintain their position that the facts should be reexamined. This, despite the fact that an examination was completed 14 years ago, and the Secretary of the Cabinet at the time admitted in conversation direct army involvement. Just as in the prewar years, the judgment is extremely inward-looking and purely subjective. Further, there is no strategy behind the action. There is no sense that the resulting destination has been coolly considered. Indeed, it resembles Japan just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor .


Nevertheless, in one sense, I can hope that the current adoption will lead to a cooling off. This is because public opinion and politics in America, which is our greatest ally overseas, has started to become greatly involved in the problem of our war responsibility, which was hitherto thought to be merely a problem of the Right and Left. This is so-called “outside pressure”. This is not merely ideology, but clearly starting to develop into a question of national interest. The outside viewpoint becomes clear, forcing us to realize just how irrational our actions are. Relations with China and Korea have already chilled because of the ceremonial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, and at this juncture, America can also now be added. This closely resembles the process that led to the formation of the ABCD encirclement previously. The adoption of this resolution may cause Japan to feel a sense of humiliation like having been scolded by a teacher. This should not lead, however, to citing “hara-kiri” as in the past, but should be linked primarily to coolly considering what is in the national interest. I want Japan to quit acting on emotion alone.


The first thing should be done is that Prime Minister Abe resign from his position. He made things worse.

The comments are closed.