NEW YORK – A New York Times editorial has slammed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for planning to revise Japan’s formal apology for its World War II aggression, as well as its acknowledgment that the Imperial army forced hundreds of thousands of Asian women and girls into prostitution.
Thursday’s article, titled “Another Attempt to Deny Japan’s History,” referred to Abe’s recent interview with the daily Sankei Shimbun, in which he voiced his willingness to issue a “forward-looking statement” that would replace the 1995 apology by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama’s for the country’s wartime expansionism.
Also mentioned was Abe’s remark in the same interview that his previous Liberal Democratic Party administration, from 2006 to 2007, had found no evidence that “comfort women” had been forced to work as sex slaves in military brothels during the war.
Abe “seems inclined to start his tenure with a serious mistake that would inflame tensions with South Korea and make cooperation harder,” The New York Times said, pointing out that “it is not clear” how the rightwing leader might modify the apologies, but he “has previously made no secret of his desire to rewrite his country’s wartime history.”
“Any attempt to deny the crimes and dilute the apologies will outrage South Korea, as well as China and the Philippines, which suffered under Japan’s brutal wartime rule,” the newspaper warned. “(Abe’s) shameful impulses could threaten critical cooperation in the region on issues like North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs.”