Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Washington Post Interview with Abe

Many have provably read this interview by Lally Weymouth in the Washington Post in which Abe was again asked about his denial that the Japanese military forced women into sexual slavery. Apparently subcontractors did it. If true, this makes a difference somehow in his mind.

His answers were evasive, vague, and basically nonsensical---what else would one expect? Of course he also attempted the everybody else did bad things too defense:

Your comments on "comfort women" caused an outcry in the United States. Do you really believe that the Imperial Army had no program to force Korean, Chinese and other women to provide sexual services to the Japanese Imperial Army?

(Abe) ......The 20th century was a century in which human rights were infringed upon in numerous parts of the world, and Japan also bears responsibility in that regard. I believe that we have to look at our own history with humility and think about our responsibility.

But that's not what you said originally in the Diet. You said that there was no evidence.

(Abe) I wasn't the first to make the remarks that I made.

But the main point is, do you now believe that the Imperial Army forced these women into this situation, and as prime minister of Japan do you apologize to them, and do you believe the Kono Statement [a partial 1993 acknowledgment by a Japanese official named Kono of Japan's responsibility for the brothels]?

My administration has been saying all along that we continue to stand by the Kono Statement. We feel responsible for having forced these women to go through that hardship and pain as comfort women under the circumstances at the time
(All quoted from the Washington Post 22 April 2007 article.)

Unfortunately, he was not asked how he stood by an apology that he claims is based on flawed evidence which he said, and has said for years is false. But anyway, I think most people get the point. The official position is that Japan stands by the quasi-official apology. The fact is that Japan does not really believe that its military was responsible.

Whether or not Japan is sincere in its apologies for anything is not the biggest point now. The point is that the myths that folks tend to believe about Japan suddenly becoming a completely different country with entirely different beliefs as soon as WW2 ended are nonsense. It is, true that Japan is a quite different society than the prewar Japan, but many of the prewar beliefs and tendencies still exist---most especially in the right-wing elites, but not exclusively. There seems to be a very strong tendency among the Japanese to believe that Japan was a victim---if not the victim---of WW2. Very, very, strong.

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