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Regarding Takashi Nagata’s Aug. 26 letter, “Military brothels go way back“: While Nagata is correct that soldiers worldwide have often visited prostitutes during wartime, and that prostitution has been an ever-present phenomenon near military encampments, he seems to blithely dismiss criticism of a horrible chapter of Japanese history as just a part of war. This is disconcerting.

Nagata basically makes the argument that other countries’ military forces have had prostitution problems and that Japan’s wasn’t so bad. Yet, the wartime occupation and colonization of the Korean Peninsula was the very impetus for the practice.

To say that so-and-so did this and, by comparison, we’re better is an infantile misdirection of the debate. The problem is that women were exploited and abused for the sake of Japanese imperialism. The issue now is for Japan to properly own up to its past mistakes, properly make amends and take history for what it should be — a lesson for the future.

Unless Japan, or any country, learns to accept responsibility for past mistakes, it cannot hope to avoid them in the future.

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.

timothy bedwell

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