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Who Loves Japan More?
[Opinion] Honda's approach does more to enhance country's status than Abe's does
Kim John Seijoong (seijoong)     Print Article 
Published 2007-03-18 18:36 (KST)   
Two ethnically Japanese leaders have quite a different opinion on the coercion of "comfort women" by the Japanese military during World War ll. Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his cabinet council denied the coercion by Japanese military in recruiting comfort women, while United States Congressman Mike Honda, who is a Japanese-American, proposed a resolution that Japan should acknowledge and apologize for the coercion of comfort women.

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In this case does Abe love Japan more than Honda? Is Abe a patriot for Japan? Is Honda a traitor to Japan, his ancestral motherland?

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The Japanese invasion of Korea, China, and other Asian countries is a historical fact. The coercion of comfort women by Japanese military during the war is also truth. Comfort women were forced to serve as sex slaves for the pleasure of Japanese soldiers.

There are many documents and testimony providing evidence of the coercion. Even former Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei stated that administrative and military personnel directly took part in the recruitments of comfort women, who lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere.

The recent opinion of the Japanese cabinet council is that there was some coercion in the comfort women stations, but not by the Japanese military in the recruitment of comfort women. Even if that were true, comfort women were forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, and were not freed from the cruel sex stations for a long time. What is the difference between no coercion in recruitment and the coercion in the comfort stations, which deprived comfort women of human rights? The Japanese cabinet council is playing with words.

Only Japanese human rights important?

This is not the first case of ignorance of historical facts by Japanese high officials. Their foolish words have continued for the last 60 years. Their statements are intended to justify the tyranny by Japanese imperialism. One of them said that the invasion of Korea helped modernize Korea. Those kinds of statements enrage Koreans. Many Koreans are doubtful whether the Japanese officials have a scrap of conscience.

Defending human rights is the number one value in every country. If Japan ignores the human rights of comfort women, Japan will be shunned by citizens of the world. Japan is insisting that North Korea should free 17 men and women who had been kidnapped by North Korea, or it would not participate in economic aid for North Korea that was agreed to at the six-party talks.

The human rights of 17 Japanese people, of course, should be respected. But what about the human rights of 200,000 comfort woman from Korea and other Asian countries? North Korea leader Kim Jong-il acknowledged the kidnapping of the Japanese. Why won't Abe acknowledge and apologize for the coercion of comfort women?

The Nazis of Germany also did wrong during World War ll. However Germany acknowledged, apologized, and compensated for their wrongdoing. That is the reason why Germany has succeeded in becoming a leader of the world.

Japan is the number two country in economic power, next to the United States. However, nobody agrees that Japan is the number two world leader. For example, Japan is making constant efforts to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, but the attempts failed. One of the reasons for the failure may be because Japan does not behave like a great power.

Abe's statement is a good example. He said that even if the U.S. House of Representatives passed Honda's bill, he would not accept it. Clinging to egoism will never make Japan a leader of world. Japan is not worthy of the number two economic power in the world. There is a good term for Japanese politicians to learn, "noblesse oblige."

Nationalism could bring another tragedy

A leader should lead the general public to encourage human rights, justice, and peace. However Japanese government leaders seem to aim at nationalism trying to maintain or win popularity. The nationalism by the Japanese government leaders for the extreme right-wing may break the peace in Asia.

Rather than cultivating nationalism, Japanese leaders should acknowledge the truth of comfort women and Japanese imperialism. That is the way to make Japan a great power and beautiful country, which is what Abe says he is trying to do.

However Japanese government leaders are going the other way. They are misleading Japanese people defending themselves as if Japan did not any wrongdoing to comfort women, in the same way as their predecessors beautified Japanese imperialism. This way of misleading Japanese people makes them insensible to shame about what the Japanese military did wrong during World War ll.

The worst thing is that Japanese people may feel proud of Japanese imperialism, and even of their wrongdoing. If this is what Japanese government leaders try to do, it will be a big mistake. The tragedy of Hiroshima and Nakasaki was the result of misleading Japan by Japanese war criminals.

Congressman Honda is trying to stop this kind of misleading by Japanese government leaders and to correct the misunderstanding of Japanese people about the coercion of comfort women. In this way he believes that Japan will become a peacemaking state and number two world leader. The Honda bill reads that Japan should acknowledge, apologize, and accept the responsibility for comfort women by the prime minister of Japan and educate current and future generations about the cruel history.

Japanese government leaders seem to be political tacticians to maintain their power, while Honda is trying to help Japan to be a true world leader. Honda really loves Japan, his ancestral motherland, more than the Japanese politicians.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Kim John Seijoong

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