Friday, March 02, 2007

japanese p.m. opens mouth, inserts foot

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put his foot in his mouth when he said that the "comfort women," women who worked in brothels that serviced Japanese soldiers during World War II, weren't coerced. Specifically, in a very Japanese way, Abe told reporters that "there is no evidence to prove there was coercion". In other words, there is no evidence to disprove the notion that these women VOLUNTEERED to have sex with a dozen men a day, in brutal conditions.

I think I'll have to disagree with the PM on that one, as will surviving comfort women from Korea, China, the former Dutch East Indies, and elsewhere -- even Japan. This will NOT help Abe's efforts to improve relations with China and Korea, damaged by previous PM Junichiro Koizumi's insistence on visiting the Yasukuni war shrine, where the souls of Japanese soldiers, unfortunately including 13 war criminals, are worshipped.

But you know, what Abe said will prove popular with certain segments of Japanese society, those who don't care about the war, or still assert they were duped into it by the perfidious British, Americans, and Dutch. So whether it hurts Abe in the longrun remains to be seen. But Beijing and Seoul -- and Congress -- will not be amused.


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