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2014年2月23日 (日)

河野談話 慰安婦証言を検証・公開せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 22, 2014
Govt should publicize comfort women testimony cited in Kono statement
河野談話 慰安婦証言を検証・公開せよ(2月22日付・読売社説)

The government should thoroughly get to the bottom of the manner in which a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on so-called comfort women came to be.

At a Thursday meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, current Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he would study whether a government team should be established to examine the process of preparing the Kono statement.

The Kono statement expressed “apologies and remorse” to former comfort women. However, it has become clear that testimony by 16 former comfort women from South Korea—on which the statement was based—was not backed up by documents or other evidence.

Suga also said it was desirable to study the issue from academic points of view. It would thus be necessary to make public the transcripts of the former comfort women’s testimony—which are now classified—so historians and other experts can examine their contents.

Thursday’s meeting was also attended by Nobuo Ishihara, deputy chief cabinet secretary when the statement was issued in 1993.

Ishihara, serving as an unsworn witness, said the government conducted interviews with the former comfort women at the urging of South Korea. “The atmosphere would not allow us to demand investigations to back up their testimony,” Ishihara told the committee.

As the statement was issued without solid evidence, the Imperial Japanese Army has been viewed by the world as having forced young women to serve as comfort women.

Statement spawns problems

It is undeniable that the Kono statement has spawned many problems.

For example, a group of Americans with South Korean roots spearheaded a campaign to erect a statute of a girl symbolizing comfort women last year in Glendale, Calif.
An inscription beside the statue says, “In memory of more than 200,000 Asian and Dutch women who were removed from their homes...to be coerced into sexual slavery...” Such a campaign has started spreading across the United States.

Japan has been unable to wage effective counterarguments against South Korean campaigns, as the Kono statement included expressions that can be construed as acknowledgment by Japan of the forcible recruitment of women.

As a questioner at the committee meeting, Hiroshi Yamada, a lawmaker from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restration Party), asked Ishihara to clarify whether the government at that time coordinated the wording of the statement with South Korea while preparing it.

“It can naturally be assumed that the wording was coordinated,” Ishihara said, though he said he did not personally confirm it. It is extremely problematic if the core part of the statement—saying that “at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments”—reflected the wishes of the South Korean side.

The South Korean government, which had not raised comfort women issues for a while after the Kono statement was released, has brought them up again and again in recent years. South Korean President Park Geun-hye is seeking new solutions from the Japanese government.

The government issued the Kono statement to show “good will” toward South Korea in the interest of building a forward-looking relationship between Japan and South Korea. However, it became clear that its intention was never understood. The government must expedite work to examine the Kono statement and correct errors as soon as possible.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 22, 2014)
(2014年2月22日01時22分  読売新聞)


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