Abe pledges to ‘correct’ the record on wartime sex slaves


Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Thursday to increase efforts to alter views abroad on Japan’s actions in World War II by disseminating the “correct” view, as he put it.

He cited a U.S. textbook that informs its readers of the thousands of women and girls who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels. This, he said, shows Japan must fight allegations that are not true. He said meekness is not valued in international society.

“I just looked at a document, (U.S. publisher) McGraw Hill’s textbook, and I was shocked,” Abe said during the Lower House Budget Committee. “This kind of textbook is being used in the U.S., as we did not protest the things we should have, or we failed to correct the things we should have.

“Being modest does not receive recognition in the international community, and we must argue points when necessary,” he said, answering to a question from Tomomi Inada, the right-wing policy chief of the Liberal Democratic Party and a close ideological confidant of Abe.

Inada quoted from the book, which she said is used in California public high schools, a passage about the “comfort women,” Japan’s euphemism for the females forced to provide sex to Imperial Japanese soldiers before and during the war.

She said it reads: “The Japanese army forcibly recruited, conscripted and dragooned as many as 200,000 women ages 14 to 20 to serve in military brothels.”

The text goes on to report, she said, that the Japanese military massacred large numbers of comfort women to “cover up the operation.”

Inada expressed outrage that students in the U.S. are being taught things that are “completely against fact, that our ancestors were a group of rapists, murderers, and kidnappers.”

She added, “This is not an issue of the past. I believe this is an ongoing issue that, for example, violates the human rights of Japanese children living in the U.S.”

Earlier this year, the Foreign Ministry said the Japanese government asked the publisher to remove “inaccurate” descriptions, according to media reports.

Japan’s mainstream historians say no historical records survived the war that can pin down “the exact” number of women forced to work in the wartime military brothels Japan set up during its wars in the 1930s and ’40s, but their estimates range from 20,000 to 200,000.

  • AmericanMuse

    Admit it Japan, ask for forgiveness, make restitution, and go on with your life!

  • Perry Constantine

    And so the historical revisionism begins.

    • Eric Kalmus

      ummm, it began in Japan years ago. you might want to say, continues…

  • Stephen Kent

    Why is it that the people currently in charge of Japan seem to believe that there’s no way their ancestors could have done anything wrong simply by virtue of their bloodline? Every rich country in the modern world has stains on its past (some very recent), so why should Japan be any different? Trying to paint a cleansed picture of the past just leads to friction with other countries in the present, and Mr. Abe’s comments here suggest that in the not too distant future he’s going to be ruffling Korean and Chinese feathers again when he gives a certain speech in August. What they should be doing (indeed, what all post-war governments in Japan should have been doing all along) is try to understand why it is that large numbers of Japanese people in the recent past found themselves in conditions in which many became able to commit atrocities and take steps to ensure that those conditions are never recreated. What Mr. Abe and those around him seem to be doing is the opposite of that.

    • TV Monitor

      Stephen Kent

      For Abe, it’s a personal issue because his own grandfather was an accused A-class war criminal. Abe was told by his grandfather that he and his fellow Tojo Hideki and Co. were no war-criminals, but honorable patriots who made personal sacrifices to serve Japan, and that the American charges of war-crimes against them were made up.

  • timefox

    A comfort woman isn’t a sex slave, a prostitute. We will use correct terminology.

    Don’t ignore Korean’s traders. Don’t ignore comfort woman’s payroll sheet. Don’t ignore a lie of compulsion. Don’t ignore American survey result. Don’t ignore Japanese survey result.

    A government is that it’s better to correct on the own initiative.It’s also better to correct wrong terminology and figure. It’s embarrassed that a comfort woman can’t also distinguish from a volunteer corps.

    • Hendrix

      what the hell are you talking about?

    • Eric Kalmus

      Dont ignore the facts. Japan needs to stop lying. Why cant you tell the truth timefox (Tanaka?) Why do you think lying makes you look better. Dont the Japanese understand that in the rest of the world we hold truth in high regard? It really is sad that a place that considers itself a first world country, truth it really nothing more than a lie.

      To correct the history Japan, stop lying about it. Lying long enough doesnt make it true, it makes the liar look foolish. I wonder if thats why Japan is getting that reputation?

      • soudeska

        The more Abe talks about comfort women, the worse Japan’s reputation gets.

        Timefox, I apologize but your comments are really incomprehensible. I suggest that you either study English or post in Japanese because I don’t think anyone can understand you.

    • doninjapan

      That’s actually rather obscene…

    • Shaun ODwyer

      Stop being so disingenuous, timefox. “Korean’s traders” were not citizens of an independent nation at that time. They were subjects of the Japanese empire, working for their patrons in Japan’s armed forces and willingly meeting their demand for women. The buck stops with the people who were ultimately in charge of the system, and who were its chief beneficiaries – with the Japanese colonial administration and armed forces.

  • Hendrix

    Disgusting…. Abe or your cronies if you are reading this… you might be able to get away with whitewashing your war crimes in Japan but it wont work in my country, we know what you are about, we know your history better than you do … so in three words Go F*** yourself

  • TV Monitor

    The scary thing is that Japanese do not understand how they are viewed from overseas nowadays, and how much damage Mr. Abe’s doing to Japan’s reputation.

    • soudeska

      This is what scares me the most.

  • meneldal

    I think what makes the situation most comical is that if you read between the lines, what Japanese people are saying about the comfort women is that they were already prostitutes and were dying to serve the Japanese soldiers.

    While I don’t doubt there were many prostitutes among the comfort women,the fact is many didn’t choose it but were sold by their parents to brothels, before or after Japan arrived. And even assuming most (or all) of them would be prostitutes, there’s no reason they should be forced to service 10 men or more in a single night. I think Japan has also a problem understanding that a prostitute isn’t just someone you can rape but where it doesn’t count.

    So maybe the American history book version is a bit harsher on Japan than the truth. But if they didn’t remove all evidence maybe we would know better. Removing evidence isn’t proof by itself but one may suspect that if they tried to hide it it was because they knew it wouldn’t look good.

  • Wild xxx Rogue ♥

    Looks like he’s going full-on Nationalist Super-Saiyan. Get ready for the most regressive, history affronting speech of the last 50 years.

  • Rebane

    > Inada expressed outrage that students in the U.S. are being taught things that are “completely against fact, that our ancestors were a group of rapists, murderers, and kidnappers.”

    Mr Abe did have a war-criminal grandfather, and possibly Inada had a rapist-murderer-kidnapper grandfather. But as far as I know, I didn’t.

  • Bruce Chatwin

    The same Tomomi Inada was in a scandal when it came out that she posed for a picture with the Japanese neo-Nazi Kazunari Yamada.


  • Brian Stump

    I have to agree with Mr Kent.
    All people do horrible things. Let it go. I understand that the ROC and Korea have problems with Japan but, admit it and move on. On the other hand, China should admit to the cultural revolution and; without going through history, admit that too.

    Oh well I am not of the culture, so I don’t understand.

  • crackhead

    By exercising their silence and inaction to all this BS, all Japanese are indicating that they quietly condone the view of the rightist leaders or they just don’t care at all about other people of the world. However sad your economic plight may be, it never pays to give up your conscience.