Thursday, March 15, 2007

Esercito giapponese e donne cinesi usate come schiave sessuali durante l'occupazione

Source: Asia News Online

Tokyo ends controversy over “comfort–women”by Pino CazzanigaAbout face by premier Abe, following an ambiguous declaration regarding the historical value of documents which prove the recruitment of sex slaves to service the army
It appears that tensions created in the aftermath of an ambiguous March 1 declaration by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the question of “comfort – women”, a euphemism used to indicate the hundreds of tens of sex slaves forced to “comfort” the needs of the Japanese army. Journalists had questioned the leader about government responsibility for their forced recruitment of these women during the Second World War; Abe had responded “the fact is that there are no clear documents that prove they were forced, in the strictest sense, by the army”.
In reality, since Japanese journalist first started their investigations into the sad affair in the early ‘70’s, they have gathered not only victim’s accounts of the tragedy but also testimonies from repentant Japanese soldiers. Historians are in agreement regarding the numbers of victims: according to some to number 200 thousand. Moreover recently recovered documents the Imperial army had ordered the creation of over 2 thousand “comfort stations”.
Abe is not an n inexperienced politician. His gaff is inexplicable if not in the light of a particular political context. At the basis of his controversial declaration is the move by a US Democrat Mike Honda, who has put a proposed motion before Congress to force the Japanese government to admit to the fact and make a public apology. In the past similar motions were always blocked by the republican majority. And now President Bush has quickly disassociated himself from the affair. Through his spokesman he has declared it to be “an issue regarding the nations involved”.
But now the democrats have the majority in Congress. Thus the Japanese premiers concern to place the issue on a legal and not moral standing. Abe once again finds himself between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand State responsibilities that push him to give significance to International Relations, particularly in Asia, on the other the strong political current within his own party to defend the honour of the nation, even at the cost of diluting history.
His sense of responsibility to the government has prevailed. He has indirectly withdrawn the statement claiming that he had been misinterpreted and confirmed a clear admission made in 1993 by Yohei Kono, head of the cabinet at the time: Kono recognised that many women had been forced into prostitution, that the government was to blame and he had also publicly apologized to the victims. In 1995, the government starter a fund to compensate surviving victims, even though private money was used.
In the years after a group of 134 parliamentarians from the liberal-democrat party, of which Abe was secretary, sought to undermine the validity of Kono’s declarations.
Now Abe has visibly distanced himself from the nationalists. March 8, in answer to a Senate intervention, he clearly stated that he was in line with the 1993 apology, while on March 11 during a TV programme broadcast by NHK, after having repeated Kono’s declaration he added:”I offer sincere apologies to all those who as “comfort – women” suffered sever and profound psychological pain and wounds. My feelings on the issue differ from those of other prime ministers such as Junichiro Koizumi e Ryutaro Hashimoto who sent letters of excuse to the “comfort – women”.
Chinese media immediately carried Abe’s statement defining them as a “sincere apology” . Observers summarize that Beijing is seeking to bury the controversy which could have a negative effect on the State visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to Japan in April. Analogous the motive behind the US Congress Commission for foreign Relation’s decision to put off discussing the motion against the Japanese government until after Abe’s forthcoming meeting with President Bush.
“We cannot cancel history but we can heal it’s wounds” said Honda. If Japan had the courage to look into its’ past with objectivity and denounce its negative aspects, then it could finally take its place on the international political stage and fulfil the role which it merits.


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