Date
20 January 2017
Shinzo Abe must renew apologies over Japan's wartime past, Japanese academics say. Photo: Bloomberg
Shinzo Abe must renew apologies over Japan's wartime past, Japanese academics say. Photo: Bloomberg

Abe urged to renew apology over wartime sex slaves

Japanese academics have urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to renew apologies for the nation’s imperialist past and offer to compensate victims of its wartime brothel system, Agence France-Presse reported.

In a statement issued Monday, nearly 200 academics were quoted as saying that Abe “must reaffirm that invasion and colonial control caused harm and pain to neighbor countries… and must express renewed sentiments of regret and apology”.

The statement, also signed by dozens of journalists, lawyers and rights activists, came as Abe prepares to make a statement in August that will touch on Japan’s wartime past. 

The signatories say Tokyo must face up to its responsibility for the sexual enslavement of thousands of women, an issue at the heart of the bitter enmity between Japan and South Korea.

“We emphasize resolution of the comfort women issue this time, as the relationship between Japan and South Korea has been strained,” Haruki Wada, historian and professor emeritus of Tokyo University, told AFP.

Abe’s predecessors offered explicit apologies for colonial rule and aggression, but the current PM has hinted he is unlikely to repeat that.

That has caused disquiet among Japanese liberals and anger in Beijing and Seoul, which insist Tokyo has not made amends, the report noted.

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