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Editorial: Hope to spread moves calling for correcting Kono Statement

(Sankei: October 5, 2014 – p. 2)

Local assemblies have now adopted position papers calling for reviewing the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono’s statement, which admitted to the Japanese military’s coercion in recruiting comfort women, as well as correcting descriptions in school textbooks.

In order also to clear up the misunderstanding spreading worldwide that comfort women were “sex slaves,” it is significant that there is growing momentum for correcting the Kono Statement based on the facts.

In addition to the Osaka and Kitakyushu city assemblies, the Kagoshima Prefectural Assembly became the first prefectural assembly to adopt a position paper. With the Japanese government’s verification of the Kono Statement and the Asahi Shimbun’s retraction of some of its reports on the comfort women, the claim that the Japanese military forcibly recruited comfort women has now collapsed.

The Kagoshima Prefectural Assembly’s position paper points criticizes the Asahi Shimbun’s reporting that was not based on historical facts and questions the government’s adoption of the Kono Statement, concerning which questions were raised about the process. The position paper calls on the government to issue a “new statement to restore the nation’s honor and dignity.”

The paper also calls for correcting such inappropriate descriptions in high school textbooks as the comfort women “were taken away.”

The Kitakyushu City Assembly adopted a position paper seeking verification of the statement at the Diet, saying “The incorrect reporting spread the false perception that the Japanese military forcibly recruited comfort women.”

The Osaka City Assembly’s position paper also called for the conveyance of information in multiple languages to the international community and a new statement based on the government’s verification of the Kono Statement.

Such moves will let many people know about the background of the issue and learn the importance of the dissemination of information based on objective facts.

Since around 2008, local assemblies have adopted position papers in succession calling for a “sincere response” leading to an official apology and government compensation for former comfort women premised on the claim that the Japanese military forcibly recruited comfort women. These position papers should be withdrawn because they were adopted based on the false perception.

The Diet took up the comfort women issue at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives. In connection with reports on former comfort women, about which the Asahi Shimbun admitted its mistakes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated that his government will strengthen the strategic dissemination of information abroad, saying, “It is true that the Asahi Shimbun’s false reporting hurt many people and caused a lot of sorrow, pain, and anger. Japan’s reputation was seriously damaged.”

In an effort to disseminate the facts, it is necessary to review the Kono Statement, which is groundless. Kono replied that “it is true” when he was asked at a press conference in 1993 as to whether the Japanese military forcibly recruited comfort women. Once again we ask that he explain before the Diet his true intention.

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