‘Grandmothers’ still victimized

Ottawa, Ontario

Regarding the Aug. 23 article “No evidence sex slaves were taken by military: Hashimoto“: I always read The Japan Times in the afternoon, and although I should be used to it, I am always flabbergasted by what politicians dare to say.

The “comfort women” issue is a difficult one. Having met the women and studied the question, I can’t help but feel that people put national pride ahead of the real issue. The “grandmothers,” as they are called in South Korea, were victimized not only when they were systematically raped (no money provided and I doubt they were doing it for the sake of the greater Japanese empire) but also when nitwits began dismissing their ordeal.

The political use of their plight has a reason. Korean nationalists use their story to advance their own agenda rather than the care of the women. It wasn’t until Dec. 7, 1991, that the issue became a hot topic. No one, not even Korean generals, cared about the women when the peace treaty of San Francisco was signed in 1951.

The real issue now is how to apply leverage, one way or another. When there is political turmoil in one country, it is always easier to deflect citizens’ attention to the ugly neighbor. South Korean newspapers seem to report on the problem when it’s negotiation time with Japan. This past Aug. 15 (anniversary date for the end of the Pacific War), again, proved ideal for nationalists in both countries to make unproductive statements, be they about the Dokdo/Takeshima islets or the comfort women issue.

If Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto would get in touch with professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki, I am sure he would get more than enough pointers and proof that Korean women as well as Japanese, Chinese, Dutch and Filipino women were raped and forced to prostitute themselves.

The “grandmothers” need our compassion and help — not another asinine comment about whether they were victimized.

mb_

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

lilian cailleaud