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Last Sunday our fickle prime minister, Shinzo Abe, stated that he would stand by the 1993 apology for forcing Asian women to have sex with Japanese troops during World War II. This reader is terribly confused: Just three days earlier Abe had reiterated that there was no evidence of “coercion” by Japan’s wartime government in using women across Asia as sex slaves. Why would he stand by such an apology if he apparently believes that no wrong was ever done?

On Monday, Abe stated that he would make no further apology for Japan’s wartime sex slavery even as the U.S. Congress considered a resolution urging him to do so. Corporate Japan must be sweating bullets right now.

While Abe makes a determined effort to resolve the more contemporary North Korean abduction issue, he vainly attempts to ignore the far uglier issue of massive wartime sex slavery and rape. While winning the approval of the far-right in Japan, he destroys Japan’s reputation among its Asian neighbors and some in the U.S. Congress. This is very bad diplomacy.

For Abe to suggest that sex-slave victims were just common street prostitutes is insulting to the honor and memory of all those who suffered so horribly at the hands of Japanese foot soldiers and Imperial Army officers alike. It would be like calling Jewish Holocaust victims “willing labor volunteers” who simply wanted to work for the Third Reich.

If Japan’s Imperial Army did not violently abduct up to 200,000 Asian women and girls and coerce them to work as sex slaves, does that make Hideki Tojo the biggest pimp to ever serve as a Japanese prime minister?

name withheld

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