LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Setting the Record Straight on ‘Comfort Women’ Issue

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Dear Editor,

The claim that Japan refuses to acknowledge its World War II-era atrocities or pay reparations to victims is inaccurate.

Japan has apologized for and accepted the fact that it inflicted great suffering on the people of many countries. For example, in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the war’s end, then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama expressed deep remorse, which has been upheld by all administrations since then, including the current Shinzo Abe administration.

In order to comprehensively cover the war damages to the countries involved, Japan provided reparations in accordance with peace treaties, which legally settled the individual claims as well.

In fact, this practice of comprehensively settling claims by signing peace treaties between countries is the international norm. On the contrary, it is my understanding that Germany took its own approach of issuing personal compensation to individuals such as Holocaust victims because Germany was divided into two nations and could not sign peace treaties to settle the issue of reparations comprehensively.

Japan respects Germany’s sincere treatment of its war victims; however, our nation also managed to provide reparations in good faith despite our own difficult postwar economic situation. For example, reparations amounting to $550 million were made to the Philippines in 1956; this amount represented 18.2% of the Japanese government’s budget.

Furthermore, to offer relief to World War II-era comfort women, the government has extended its sincere apologies and established the Asian Women’s Fund, a cooperative effort between the Japanese people and their government. Through this fund Japan has provided atonement money to former comfort women and implemented medical and welfare support projects.

Jun Niimi
Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles

CLARIFICATION:This article was not written specifically for The Rafu Shimpo but was a letter to the editor originally published in The Los Angeles Times on July 21 in response to letters, published on July 14 under the headline “Japan’s World War II Denialism,” claiming that Japan has not apologized or made amends for its war crimes.

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  1. Yes, Japan has apologised in the past, but Korean never ever accepted. In addition, it is not necessary for Japan to apologise again and again. For your information, I invite you to the following editorial written by the Yomiuri Shimbun on 01 August 2013. The title is ” Refute recent moves in US to distort comfort women issue.” Web : http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000426390

    In addition, the statue of a girl was erected in a public park of the City of Glendale, Cal. The Korean and the city have conspired ignoring the historical reality during WW2. The issue has become a matter for both countries ( Japan and Korea ) to solve which is not the subject the City of Glendale helps Korea. I doubt why the city helped Korea without any knowledge regarding so-called comfort women issue during WW2. This is a willful distortion of facts.

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