Japan's current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a stern conservative and nationalist who stepped down from his post in 2007 only to re-emerge this year, might be taking back a 1993 apology that the nation issued to World War II "comfort women," thousands of female citizens who were forced into brothels across Asia to unwillingly service Japanese soldiers. Abe has maintained throughout both of his tenures that there was no proof that the Imperial Army "forced" any of the Asian and Dutch women into sex slavery. While his primary spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, wouldn't confirm or deny if the apology—called the Kono Statement—would be rescinded, he said that it would be "desirable for experts and historians to study" the comfort women period of Japanese history, which is basically political-speak for "We think it's bullshit."
Meanwhile, stateside officials are urging Abe to let it be, as tensions with South Korea—a former Japanese colony whose women made up a large component of the sex slaves—are already extremely strained, and as the former comfort women pass away, it remains an emotionally charged issue among those who feel that not even the Kono Statement was reparation enough. It's a shame that disavowing responsibility for a regrettable episode of your nation's past is what passes for nationalism.
'Will Japan Unapologize to ‘Comfort Women'?' [Rendezvous/NYT]