河野談話 「負の遺産」の見直しは当然だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 30, 2012)
Kono’s ‘comfort women’ statement must be reviewed
河野談話 「負の遺産」の見直しは当然だ(8月29日付・読売社説)

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s recent visit to the Takeshima islands has reignited the so-called comfort women issue.

It is undeniable that a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono is the root cause of the controversy. The government should review this statement, prepare a new concept concerning the issue and convey it to the public and the international community.

At a House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said his administration would adhere to the Kono statement. However, Noda added that the government “was not able to confirm the forcible recruitment [of comfort women] from documents, so the [Kono] statement was based on interviews with comfort women.”

Jin Matsubara, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, proposed that ministers should debate the comfort women issue from the standpoint of reviewing the Kono statement.

The 1993 statement said: “The recruitment of the comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who acted in response to a request from the military.

“In many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, and so on, and that, at times, administrative and military personnel directly took part in the recruitments.”


No verification

However, the government could find no documents proving the military or other government authorities forcibly recruited comfort women. The Kono statement was based solely on the statements of former comfort women and there were no investigations to verify their remarks.

At the time, several South Korean women identified themselves as former comfort women and demanded an apology from the Japanese government. We assume the government took into account Japan’s diplomatic relations with South Korea when it issued the Kono statement.

However, as a result of the statement, the international community came to believe things that were not true, such as the Imperial Japanese Army systematically and forcibly recruiting women to make them “sex slaves.”

The U.S. House of Representatives and the European Parliament adopted resolutions condemning Japan on the comfort women issue, and called on the Japanese government to apologize.

Up to now, however, no evidence proving the forcible recruitment of comfort women has been found.

When the U.S. House of Representatives was discussing the comfort women issue in March 2007, the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a written reply to a question posed by a Diet member on the issue. The reply said “descriptions directly indicating forcible recruitments by the military and other government authorities had not been found in documents” unearthed by the government.

The response clarified the government’s stance that documents supporting the Kono statement did not exist, although at the same time it adhered to the statement.


‘Negative legacy’ of LDP

However, if the situation is left unchanged, it will be difficult to dispel the international community’s misunderstandings on the comfort women issue.

It was reasonable for Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto to call on the government to review the contents of the Kono statement after saying the statement–which was not authorized by the Cabinet–and the 2007 written reply contradict each other. He also said the statement was the “main cause” of Japan-South Korea friction.

The government must take measures to prevent misunderstandings on the comfort women issue from spreading further.

As there is no conclusive evidence that the Imperial Japanese Army forcibly recruited comfort women, the Noda Cabinet should review the Kono statement–a “negative legacy” of Liberal Democratic Party administrations–and explain the government’s stance on the issue to the public and the world in a manner easy to understand.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 29, 2012)
(2012年8月29日01時18分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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