Before the speech for the joint U.S. House of Representatives, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s description of comfort women as “human trafficking” is being flooded with criticisms, as his intention to obscure the problem. In an interview published by the Washington Post on the 27nd (EDT), Abe said that his “heart aches” thinking about the “human trafficking victims.”
During the interview, Washington Post’s columnist David Ignacius asked a blunt question regarding Abe’s recent move, if he is trying to revise the picture of Japan to be more accurate in his view. Abe answered, “My opinion is that politicians should be humble in the face of history. And whenever history is a matter of debate, it should be left in the hands of historians and experts.” He emphasized the Murayama Statement and Koizumi Statement will keep their position and the Abe cabinet is not reviewing the Koizumi Statement.
Regarding the comfort women, Abe said, “when my thought goes to these people, who have been victimized by human trafficking and gone through immeasurable pain and suffering beyond description, my heart aches,” and also added, “in history, many wars have been waged. In this context, women’s human rights were violated. My hope is that the 21st century will be the first century where there will be no violation of human rights, and to that end.”
According to the Washington Post, it is the first time for Abe to use the term “human trafficking” to describe the problem of comfort woman.
After Abe described the comfort woman as human trafficking victims, he talked about the human rights violation that occurred with wars, perfectly avoiding the responsibility and an apology for sexual slavery by the Japanese military. He vaguely connected ‘war’ as the cause and ‘human rights violation’ as the result and evaluated that his heart aches, shifting the responsibility on to the war itself. This is the reason why there has been criticism because Abe is obscuring the essence of the problem of the Japanese military’s comfort women, which the international society clearly stipulated as ‘sexual slavery.’
Reporter Lee Seul [firstname.lastname@example.org]