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EDUCATION

Japan Cabinet deems term ‘comfort women’ more appropriate than ‘military comfort women’

  • April 28, 2021
  • , The Japan News , 12:48 p.m.
  • English Press

The Cabinet has approved a written reply by the government that “the use of the term ‘military comfort women’ may lead to misunderstandings,” in response to a written question from House of Representatives member Nobuyuki Baba of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party).

 

Although some textbooks that use the Japanese term “jugun ianfu,” which means “military comfort women,” have passed the screenings of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, the ministry said it believes that the Cabinet decision will be reflected in future screenings.

 

Based on a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, among other factors, textbooks using the phrase “so-called military comfort women” have passed screenings. These include a junior high school textbook for social studies that was introduced this April, and two high school textbooks for modern and comprehensive history that will be introduced next spring.

 

In its written reply, the government said it would continue to uphold the Kono statement. However, it said use of the term military comfort women was “likely to cause misunderstandings,” in light of the fact that The Asahi Shimbun newspaper admitted in 2014 that testimony cited in its articles that women had been forcibly taken away was false.

 

“It is appropriate to simply use the term ‘comfort women,’” the government said in the reply.

 

Textbook screenings are based on the standard that if the government holds a unified view, expressed for example through a Cabinet decision, textbooks should be written based on that view.

 

A ministry official in charge said, “It’s possible that textbook companies will apply to amend textbooks that have already been approved.”

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