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Murayama says 1995 sex slavery apology review not in Japan's interest

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Good on Murayama. Abe? He's more or less single-handendly done more damage to Japan and its international reputation than any PM in history.

26 ( +36 / -10 )

I agree; there is really nothing a further apology would accomplish. There is something more at work underlying all the animosity between Japan/Korea & Japan/China that goes far deeper than the comfort women issue. These nations have been so angry at Japan for so long I don't see how that will be solved by an apology. Can't please everyone. Move on and let Korea sit in its perpetual state of self-pity.

-10 ( +16 / -26 )

"However, a minority of right-wing Japanese insist there was no official involvement...."

Gimme a break. It's clearly not limited to a "minority of right-wing Japanese." A sizable number on this forum, for example, strenuously support the same stance. What's more, the majority of the Japanese public doesn't mind the review going ahead. If they do object, it's about protecting Japan's image, a self-serving motive.

There is very little empathy among the Japanese for the "other victims" of the war. That is at the heart of this issue.

18 ( +29 / -11 )

There have been so many apologies from Japan side! But apologises need 2 sides - one side who apolgises and another who accepts! Since China and Korea for political reasons in order to keep this political tool in their hand to mobilise their own Population in troubled times it would not be wise to revise any apology at this moment. China is facing an economic meltdown and is currently in troubled time. Any revision would be therefore useless anyhow.

-12 ( +13 / -25 )

What's more, the majority of the Japanese public doesn't mind the review going ahead.

Agreed, Jeff. An educated and informed Japanese public should howl this down, but their silence or lack of opposition to it is a terrible indictment on the systematic lack of transparency and honesty in the way Japan looks at it's wartime past. Culturing ignorance amongst the population is unforgivable, and successive Japanese governments are absolutely responsible for maintaining this.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

Murayama says 1995 sex slavery apology review not in Japan's interest

He's right - it's not in Japan's interest... it is only in Abe and his revisionist mates interests...

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Murayama spoke of Japan's "mistaken national policy" that caused tremendous damage and suffering to people of many countries, particularly Asian nations. His words of apology went beyond the statements of his predecessors. But some conservatives contended that the war was actually fought to free Asia from Western domination and that the blame for the conflict should be placed on all sides, not just Japan. Murayama said back then that he would act with "grave determination" if the LDP blocked his resolution.(In the convoluted jargon of Japanese politics, that phrase is generally taken to mean that a prime minister will either resign his position or dissolve the nation's Parliament and call a general election).

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I still say let's move on. And if the obsessive-compulsive leaders of the countries involved can't grow up and deal with the issue, get someone who can! What's it take? A little courage?

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Thank you Mr. Murayama for stating what is blindly obvious to everyone (except the right wing loons., of course ).

12 ( +16 / -4 )

I suspect that China and Korea will never be satisfied with any apology, and they are happy to keep rejecting apologies and pressing for new apologies because they can turn this position into a popular one among the people in their countries. While recognizing Japan’s guilt in this matter, we also need to recognize the political posturing on the parts of China, Korea, and others who want to keep this issue fresh and unresolved for the purpose of personal political gain.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Another Chinese Government distraction to inhale a noxious cloud of gas the Chinese peoples clear perspective. Before the smog dissipates the people will know that its nothing more than hot air smoke and mirrors policy to blind and choke reality their government is just hot air.

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

Abe must apologies!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

CrazyJoeFeb. 28, 2014 - 08:02AM JSTBut some conservatives contended that the war was actually fought to free Asia from Western domination and that the blame for the conflict should be placed on all sides, not just Japan.

The Japanese military faced a tactical problem in that certain critical raw materials, especially oil and rubber were not available. Instead, Japan received most of its oil from the U.S. and rubber from British controlled Malaysia, the very two Western nations trying to restrict Japan's expansion. While it seems that economic factors were important in Japanese expansion in East Asia, it would be too much to say that colonialism, trade protection, and the U.S. embargo compelled Japan to take this course. Domestic politics, ideology and racism also played a role.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@wildwest This isn't about China

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I think that the decision to "review" the apology is incredibly short-sighted. But given that Japanese politicians seem to be letting their revisionist fantasies take control these days.... Fine. Let them revise it. But they should make sure that no Japanese (or Koreans) are on the body that conducts the review - something like a UN team would be best, in my opinion - so that the results are final and binding. If it finds that "comfort women" were employed against their will and that further reparations are due, Japan should have to accept that and STUMP UP with no further protest.

In point of fact, I think allowing an independent team to review the entire history of conflict in the area and - essentially - lay all the facts behind the grievances open for all the world to see would do everyone a power of good. Countries could still argue about things, but we'd have an accepted "who did what and when".

13 ( +14 / -1 )

“It is no mistake that the Japanese military needed comfort women stations and the government was involved in establishing them,” said Murayama, who as prime minister issued a general apology in 1995 for Japan’s wartime aggression.

“I wonder if finding some faults with the statement serves Japan’s national interest,” he said, adding that the historic statement of remorse for sex slavery was made after “comprehensive investigation into” evidence.

Finally a voice of reason in all this noise. But, unfortunately, he will be drowned out by the Abe nationalistic drum beat that is currently driving Japanese foreign policy.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

@sfjp330

I thought this article was about the "sex slaves" in Korea seeking a REAL apology from Japan ? Of course, "rubber" and "oil" may have been "used" but aren't you a little "off topic" ?

@justbcuzisay

@wildwest This isn't about China

I was just about to say the same thing.

Thank you again Mr. Murayama. I hope they listen to you - unfortunately however, I very much doubt it...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Murayama's apology should stand. Abe trying to yet again revise and sugar-coat history is a policy decision that will come back to haunt Japan. In the face of a weakening US, Tokyo is trying to build a coalition of the willing with other states to stand against China's aggression with respect to territorial claims, etc. in that many of these modern states were also victims of Japanese wartime brutality, Abe trying to bait South Korea and China with a whitewashing of historical fact is not a good policy. If Japan truly wants to stand up to China (and to a lesser extent South Korea) and engage in a constructive foreign policy that is beneficial for Japan, then Abe needs to go.

BTW. Did anybody else see the film review of the Taiwanese baseball film on NHK this morning. It was supposed to be a fluff piece, however, the implied message that Taiwanese were quite happy being a Japanese colony had the bitter taste of revisionism.

Finally, Japan has given more than enough apologies over the years to the likes of South Korea and China, one a nation that postwar was ruled over by a series of repressive right wing dictators and the other that suffered Mao.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

However, a minority of right-wing Japanese insist there was no official involvement by the state or the military and say the women were common prostitutes.

The issue raised by the Japanese Government is if the comfort women were "drafted" or not.

South Korean Government insists they were drafted, even though no Korean former comfort women testifies they were drafted.

http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1962763/Korean-Council-for-the-Women-Drafted-for-Military-Sexual-Slavery-by-Japan

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

He's right - it's not in Japan's interest... it is only in Abe and his revisionist mates interests...

If they weren't total morons they would realise it's not even in their interests either.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I agree; there is really nothing a further apology would accomplish

They aren't looking to further apologize, they are looking to revise/revoke the previous apology.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

There is no point in further apologies if the people apologizing are not sincere and admit to past transgressions.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The more Abe’s admin tries to deny or backslide on Japan’s wartime atrocious crimes, the less Japan will be respected in the international community.

Why not just own it, and move on.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

How does denying Japan's past and history help with making a better economy?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

EthanWilber, and the more other countries will be aware of Japan’s wartime atrocious crimes.

This is where Japan should follow Germany's example.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The current Abe gov't needs to follow the advice of this senior statesman.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

A revision would infuriate trading partners, put livelihoods at risk and disgrace Japan in the eyes of the international community. Not in anybody's interest apart from those too far gone to have a rational opinion.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Jimizo

Do you want to be my editor? You highlighted the crux of my earlier argument in two lines. Thanks :)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese politicians are pretty out of touch so they have no idea what's in Japan's best interest on the international stage, Mr. Murayama. You were one of the few it seems.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't understand why people here fault the Koreans here when it's Japan who wants to erase the 1993 Kono statement on the comfort women. How is this Koreans fault when Japan keeps digging up the past and try to undo the words they made? Korea hasn't said anything, how is this korea's fault again?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

@chucky3176

You are sort of right, but also wrong. This current hullabaloo has to be viewed in the wider context of relations between Japan and South Korea. While Abe is a clown of the first order, it is important to realize that recent developments in Korea (elections, etc.) have led to certain Korean politicians upping the ante (including the President). You also need to see this issue in terms of a wider context. The Korean ownership/occupation of the islands of Shimane is one thing. Another is the childish East Sea/Sea of Japan debate. There is also the problem of shifting alliances, South Korea needs Japan to stand against North Korea. However, no Korean politician can say that publicly.

On the Japanese side, a simple snapshot of Japanese policy is that through the Murayama apology, various agreements and the passage of time, modern Japan is not responsible for what happened a century ago (the annexation of Korea). However, from the Japanese point of view the Koreans seem to trot these arguments out every so often to shame Japan. The problem on this occasion is not that Japan is pushing back, but Abe is behaving like an idiot and saying "if you feel that way, then I deny the content of the Murayama apology." Indeed, each side is as bad as the other.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If Japan's imperial army would do nothing to regulate soldiers behavior by providing them with comfort women service then lot of women could end up in lot worst situation and no one would know about it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

the women were common prostitutes. This statement is a little misleading since "common prostitute" is a "archaic, stigmatising, and offensive" British English term for prostitute. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_prostitute

As far as I know, Japanese right wingers claim that the comfort women were similar to many of the the prostitutes that existed at that time.

Even if it were the case that the Japanese government set up a system of prostitution such as was "common" at the time in places such as the Tokyo red light district (Yoshiwara) where the prostitutes were indentured into the system by upfront payments to their families, and were thereafter effectively slaves, would it be in the Japanese government's interest to make this purported fact clear?

On the one hand this sort of prostitution system causes such suffering that for a government to implement it, even in wartime, seems utterly abhorrent by today's standards, or by any standards. Further, even to make this claim, would require that the Japanese government contradict some of the statements by women, now national heroes, who were clearly subjected to untold suffering.

But on the other again, if it were the case that the above is what the Japanese did, then if the Japanese government remains silent, the world will continue to believe, and will increasingly believe, something yet worse. It will go down in history that the Japanese army rounded up 200,000 women in trucks at bayonet point, or deceived them with lies, and thereafter, officially and systematically, had them raped, day in day out by scores of servicemen. This latter view of history would place Japan as the most abhorrent nation to have marred the face of the planet.

Perhaps the latter view is the correct view of history. But if it is not, and and the former were in general true (see http://www.amazon.com/The-Comfort-Women-Postcolonial-Sexuality/dp/0226767779) , would it be in the Japanese interest to 'review the matter'?

It seems like an incredibly hard call, though most people here seem to see it as a no brainer.

25psot

and no one would know about it. I disagree. The world has come to know about the rape that went on in Nanking.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Murayama sanma is correct Abe should stop pissing off the other countries with their whitewashing revisions. He also needs to stop trying to eliminate article #9. Making Japan a threat to the other nations does not make peace. Give it up Abe and your right wing minions! You do not represent the majority views of the peoples of Japan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Please Mr Abe, listen to Murayama.

If Japan wanted to do a serious review of the evidence surrounding Comfort Women they should bring in the UN and frankly the ICC or ICJ - organizations qualified to give an impartial investigation.

But I am sure that Abe's government have already decided what answers they want and are quite willing to manufacture evidence in-house and ignore inconvenient facts to come to their [foregone] conclusion.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Please Mr Abe, listen to Murayama.

No matter what you say, he will never listen to Murayama. Abe is a moron.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Maybe they should interview Okinawans where the military had the same if not worse practice. It was more of a go into the village and kidnap women by force. By accounts that I have heard there by Okinawan activists, it was particularly brutal.

The military then told the Okinawans that the Americans were more brutal resulting in needless mass suicides.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When with Japan & Japanese ever figure that they don't have to talk to say something.

HINT, the countries collective silence on the sex slave issue etc is extremely DAMNING!

In other words by saying nothing Japan YES you are saying SOMETHING & its VERY VERY BAD!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

viking68Feb. 28, 2014 - 03:11PM JST

Maybe they should interview Okinawans where the military had the same if not worse practice. It was more of a go into the village and kidnap women by force. By accounts that I have heard there by Okinawan activists, it was particularly brutal.

That is rather a brand new accusation. Here is a link to a very vocal activist group supporting comfort women in Japan. http://wam-peace.org/ianfu-mondai/qa/#q01

日本人女性の場合は、公娼制度(※1)下の女性が海外の慰安所に行かされたケースが多いのですが、戦争末期には日本で唯一戦場となった沖縄で遊郭の日本人女性が「慰安婦」にされたケースもあります。

In the case of Japanese women, many were licensed prostitutes who were made to go to overseas comfort stations, but during the last period of the war, in Okinawa which was the only WW2 battle ground in Japan, there were even cases in which Japanese women in adult entertainment business were made comfort women.

If what you said were true, the activist group would have said the same.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

While a review to determine the verification of Comfort Woman Testimonials is perfectly normal, however under this current J-Gov I doubt this will go through with neutrality/impartiality. Abe will most likely commission an 'independent panel of experts' (euphemism for Uyoku elements within the LDP) to make a biased result that suits his position: 'no sex slaves, just prostitutes!' (as if there's actually a difference).

Japan shouldn't go through the painful process of reopening old wounds, what's said has been said, and it puts the country on par with China and to a smaller extent Korea, in terms of historical whitewashing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I don't understand why people here fault the Koreans here when it's Japan who wants to erase the 1993 Kono statement on the comfort women.

Sorry, it wasn't 'sincere' and should be scrapped as it didn't do a single good thing.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Good on Murayama.

Good on you for being the first to say it! I agree with this sentiment 100% I've always liked him and was very impressed when he first made the apology. I still am today.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So Chucky, was the 1993 apology and acknowledgement by the then Prime Minister a Japanese apology and acknowledgement or was it as you have called it in the past not one?

It was explained to me by many Japanese many many times that Japan was apologizing for having the comfort women system and hiring 'volunteer prostitutes', and it was not apology meant to admit that they forcibly recruited and enslaved women. To me that's convoluted, whitewashed apology that was done to appease, yet at the same time admit nothing. As Mitch Cohen said, the apology is also further compromised by moves made by Japanese politicians.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

JoeBiggs: "I hope that you will man up and answer this question, but as usual I suspect that you will put on your slippery dancing shoes and slither away."

Here are a couple of more questions, directed at you. 1) do YOU think it was a sincere apology atoning for war-time atrocities and reflecting on said atrocities, or just a statement to try and appease the actual victims? My guess is you're going to water it down anyway and just say, "It was an apology", and so comes my second question: 2) if you honestly believe Japan has apologized and the world should move on, why they need to change the apology? Like I asked, if you believe it was an apology and Korea and China (and Holland and others) should move on, shouldn't the ratifications and denials mean that those nations should NOT move on?

I look forward to your answer... you know... since you claim Chucky was 'squirming' and all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr. Murayama has the courage to tell the truth, he deserves praises. He may be a minority with a weak voice in current Japan's political stage, but he speaks volumes.

It seems that hawkish Abe’s admin are implementing a series of policies with the aims to beef up national pride and declare Independence from the US. Personally, I seriously doubt those attempts will gain much ground that becomes a game-changer in long run. On the contrary, I think Abe’s agenda may further make Japan to be increasingly isolated nation in the region as well as in the world.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

While I feel sorry for what the women went through, I'm getting sick of seeing another demand for an apology every few days, or another idiot in the DIET or NHK says something/does something to upset the Koreans and off we go again.

What we need is one final apology from Abe and for Park to accept it... then that's it. No more recriminations. Everyone shuts up about it and we can get on the 21st century.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dear every country in East Asia,

Please do something interesting that doesnt have to do with WW2. No one cares anymore. Join TPP or go to Mars or something. You guys have like the most similar cultures on earth and yet argue more than anyone. Japan really loves China. I know cause I see chinese characters on TV all day long and eat tons of food all day inspired by or originating in China. And Chinese people love Japan. Thats why there are like a billion of you on vacation here. I saw you all at BIG camera. Korean people are just as cool and whacky as Japanese. I know. I checked the statistics for people who have summitted mout Everest. So why cant we all just get along. All our great grandparents were cooky back then and now most of them are dead so lets just move on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTl66az1nzU - Australian women's story of when the Japanese forcing her into sex slavery, touching and sad, scarred her for life, yet she has forgiven the Japanese, she still has high spirits to keep on living along with her husband and daughters who strengthen her to this day. It make me wonder why some politician and a numb nut of a NHK executive in Japan still wants to open up wounds.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He's right, IMHO. All of this talk by the Abe government is doing no good for the here and now because it gives Korea and China something 70 years ago to bash Japan about rather than having serious conversations about what is best for the region now.

Abe has given up the moral high ground. His foreign diplomacy has been a disaster. If he doesn't give it up soon, at some point, when China makes a push to annex the Senkakus, the rest of the world will say, "we don't care."

Japan will stand alone. Is that really what Abe wants?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

gelendestrasseMar. 01, 2014 - 02:41AM JST Abe has given up the moral high ground. His foreign diplomacy has been a disaster. If he doesn't give it up soon, at >some point, when China makes a push to annex the Senkakus, the rest of the world will say, "we don't care."

Given up the moral high ground how? By visiting a shrine and praying for peace? And how does the Comfort Women issue which is predominantly South Korea-Japan issue due to the estimated numbers of women from the Korean Peninsula involved somehow result in the world supporting a Chinese military takeover of Japanese territory? The Comfort Women issue, or even Abe's shrine visit has had no bearing on the military relations between Japan, the United states and Australia. It hasn't even affected Japan's relations with Russia and India, or the rest of Asia or any countries other than China and South Korea.

Japan will stand alone. Is that really what Abe wants?

Japan does not stand alone. To do so would require a return to militarist fascism and another invasion of the Asian mainland by Japan. The odds of which are far below zero.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

China is facing an economic meltdown and is currently in troubled time.

It's funny you say that because Japan is the one who's facing an economic meltdown compared to China right now. Combine that with the fact that Abe's administration passed a "state secrets" law, and the fact that Abenomics is failing, it seems like they need a distraction of which the Japanese people will divert their attention to. For example, irritating their neighbors and expecting a response for which will be portrayed as a threat to Japan. Now the Japanese people have a boogeyman to worry about.

Abe is shrewd, but not enough.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The translation for "Japan’s wartime system of sex slavery" is not right. The original words should be translated as it is. Because I can not find the word slavery anywhere and that word deliver a wrong impression.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'll say it again. Good for Murayama. If ever Japan needed Murayama's stewardship it is now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thumbs up for Murayama-san.

Abe's LDP is an idea that passed its use-by date in 1945.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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