I was disappointed by two recent moves by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration to whitewash Japan's war responsibility, although I was not really surprised. After all, Abe comes from the most conservative faction in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, as did his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi.

First, in a March 1 news conference, Abe expressed doubts about a 1993 statement issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the issue of wartime "comfort women" who provided sexual services for Japanese military personnel during World War II. Commenting on the statement, which acknowledged the involvement of the Japanese military in the establishment and management of "comfort stations" and the use of coercion in recruiting women, Abe said there was no proof of the coercion "as initially defined."

Although he vowed to honor the Kono statement in a television appearance, Abe's remarks prompted moves in the U.S. House of Representatives to expedite the adoption of a pending resolution, calling on the Japanese government to apologize for the wartime abuse of "comfort women."