Japanese Prime Minister on Sex Slaves, Constitution
In Mar 2007, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan commented that there was no concrete evidence that WW2-era Japanese military forced women to work as sex slaves. It fueled a new round of criticism from neighboring countries.
While on his first official trip as prime minister to the United States, Abe noted that his comments were "misunderstood". He told reporters on 26 Apr 2007 "I feel sympathy from the bottom of my heart to former comfort women." Anonymous individuals associated with the US Congress reportedly commented that Abe's true stance on this issue is still yet to be seen, but thus far "they were extremely dissatisfied."
Abe's visit to the United States will also include a trip to the Arlington National Cemetery where many WW2 veterans rest and neighbors the US Marine Corps Memorial.
In related news, Abe is also currently involved in an attempt to revise the Japanese constitution, which was written during post-WW2 Allied occupation and limits Japan's military. "I hope that we have an active debate on the constitution," he said, looking to slowly move toward a more traditional military organization so that Japan could play a greater role in today's global community. He cites Japan's wish to play a greater role in the international efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq as one reason.
For more information:BBC: Abe explains sex slave comments
Yonhap: Abe's 'comfort women' comments leave Congress puzzled, discontent: sources
Back to Main | Back to 2007 News Index
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939