Today, the Japanese authorities have gone to extremes in openly distorting the history and erasing the historical facts of sexual slavery and forced drafting of Koreans committed by Japanese militarism.
Japanese authorities, at its cabinet meeting held on April 27, adopted what is called a “Written Answer” to the issues of sexual slavery and drafting of Koreans forced by the Japanese imperial army.
In the “Written Answer”, Japan stated its government position that the expression “comfort women for the army” is not appropriate for the victims of the sexual slavery as it may lead to misunderstanding and therefore, should be termed “comfort women”.
With regard to the forced drafting of Koreans, the “forced labor” is not an appropriate expression, it stated under the unreasonable pretexts that the labor drafting and recruiting based on “National Draft Ordinance” and the labor by the good offices of the government have no relevance to the “forced labor” defined in the “Treaty on Forced Labor” that came into effect in 1932.
The international society defined the forced drafting of Koreans by the Japanese imperialists and the sexual slavery of the Japanese Imperial army as the crimes against humanity falling under 55 criminal categories, including Clause C of Article 6 prescribed by Nuremberg International Military Tribunal and Article 5 prescribed by Tokyo International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and already made a stern judgement of the history.
In particular, the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal held in Tokyo in 2000 laid bare the Japan’s mobilization of the military and government authorities for institutionalizing the wartime military sexual slavery on the basis of the testimonies of victims and a number of factual documents.
Nevertheless, the Japanese government has again adopted the “Written Answer” that rubs salt into the wounds of the victims, posing an intolerable challenge to instil the distorted view on history and revanchism into coming generations and to repeat the history of aggression by shirking the state responsibility and embellishing its bloody past crimes at all costs.
This has been further substantiated by the recent moves such as the visits by Japanese politicians to Yaskuni Shrine, the distortion of history textbooks, the attempts to revise the constitution and relocation of “Self-Defense Forces” and the military build-up to dispossess the territories of neighboring countries.
Japan would be seriously mistaken if it thinks that its history of aggression and past criminal atrocities can be covered up with the mosses and fallen leaves of oblivion piled up with the passage of time.
The crimes committed by the Japanese militarists last century destructing peace and violating human rights are super-class crimes against the humanity with no statutory limitation. Change of expressions or phrases and other trickeries whatsoever will never work in concealing the aggressive and coercive nature of Japan’s crimes.
It will be rather appropriate to call the “Written Answer” adopted by the Japanese government an “indictment” or a “public message” as it is ridiculing the justice of international society as well as the conscience of the humankind and revealing the Japan’s immorality and audacity.
Prof. Dr. Jo Hui Sung
Chairman of the History Society
Senior Researcher of the Institute for Studies of Japan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea