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Ex-Education Minister Says “Focus on Japanese Dignity”

by kace

Mainichi Daily
April 20, 2007
Ex-education minister: Japan’s WWII sex slavery allegation based on fabrication

Most of the women providing sex to Japan’s wartime military were not slaves, but professional prostitutes who made a fortune on the job, Japan’s former education minister said Friday.

Nariaki Nakayama, a conservative in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and vocal proponent of a revision of Japan’s wartime past, also demanded the removal of any reference to “comfort women” from history textbooks.

Nakayama’s comments come as U.S. lawmakers are considering a nonbinding resolution urging Japan to apologize formally for forcing thousands of women to work as sex slaves, or comfort women, during World War II.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has come under fire for suggesting in March that there is no proof that the Imperial government or military coerced women into brothels, apparently backtracking on a 1993 apology.

During Friday’s parliamentary committee on educational reforms, Nakayama blamed a Japanese veteran, who in the early 1980s falsely confessed to forcibly recruiting women from a Korean island to work as sex slaves during the war, for “inviting a major international problem.”

Historians say hundreds of thousands of women, mainly from Korea, the Philippines and China, were forced into Japanese front-line brothels in the 1930s and ’40s.

After decades of denial, the Japanese government acknowledged its role in wartime prostitution after another historian, Yoshiaki Yoshimi, discovered documents showing government involvement.

That led to an official — though carefully worded — apology in 1993, and the establishment of a nongovernment fund to pay the women limited reparations.

But right-wing Japanese politicians who make up an important part of Abe’s support base have in recent months renewed efforts to roll back the apology, and Nakayama is a key figure in that drive.

Nakayama contended that prostitution was legal in wartime Japan and that most of the women were professional prostitutes paid for their services.

“In fact, it was a lucrative business,” Nakayama said.

A paid prostitute in Myanmar earned 100 times more than an ordinary Japanese soldier, he said, citing a U.S. document.

“The dignity of (Asian) women who went through enormous pain is important, but we should also focus on the dignity of the Japanese people,” he said. (AP)

Link: Ex-education minister: Japan’s WWII sex slavery allegation based on fabrication
* kavc님에 의해서 게시물 이동되었습니다 (2008-07-29 05:50)