IN OTHER WORDS: Unapologetic

By denying that Japan’s military coerced women in conquered countries into sex slavery between 1937 and 1945, and by refusing to issue an official apology for those crimes against humanity, Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe has added fresh insult to old injuries suffered by “comfort women” who are still alive today. He has also revived resentment and mistrust of Japan among its Asian neighbours and its American allies. Abe’s denial of the need for an official admission of guilt for the suffering of some 200,000 women who were kept in military brothels should not be taken as a reflection on the Japanese people. Rather it is symptomatic of the nationalism Abe and other rightists within the governing Liberal Democratic Party have employed as a stepping-stone to power.

Some of those victims testified recently at congressional hearings on a non-binding House resolution urging Japan’s prime minister to “formally acknowledge, apologise, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner.” Abe claimed the draft resolution “is not based on objective facts.” Instead, he ought to acknowledge well-established historical truth, apologise, and make official restitution to the surviving victims. A wise nationalist would recognise that facing history in this way would be the best thing for Japan’s true national interests. — The Boston Globe