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Tokyo’s denial of sex slavery unconscionable

2014-10-30 09:25 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Japan's spats with Asian neighbors over its invading history escalated again after a high-ranking official recently denied the country's recruitment of wartime sex slaves. Speaking to a parliamentary committee, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied the Japanese army's abduction and enslavement of over 200,000 "comfort women" from other Asian countries to work in its military brothels during the war, one of the country's most atrocious war crimes during WWII.

Suga's remarks, in an obvious bid to downplay and ultimately wash off Japan's appalling war shame, echoed the rhetoric of Tokyo's increasingly nationalist politicians and media tycoons.

Represented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo has spared no efforts in reinterpreting its war atrocities, as evidenced by cabinet members' obstinate visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 Class-A war criminals, revision of the pacifist constitution, and declaration that compensation for its war crimes was paid long ago.

Despite its stunningly icy relations with East Asian neighbors, which suffered shocking civilian casualties and economic losses due to Japan's invasion, Tokyo, instead of feeling ashamed of itself, has shown no intention to halt its provocations over its wartime past.

It is hypocritical for the island country, a self-claimed guard of regional peace and friendship, to stick to the bigoted course of fomenting strife at the cost of stability in East Asia.

Suga's statement couldn't come at a worse time, as Abe has long sought to meet Chinese and South Korean leaders but has been rejected due to his lack of sincere repentance of the country's war crimes. Besides cutting off nearly all of Abe's communication with leaders in neighboring countries, Japan's blatant challenges on historical issues have also worsened its foreign trade, which has been haunted by economic downturn for 20 years.

If indulged and unpunished, such defiant voices would definitely make Abe persona non grata in the upcoming informal leaders' meeting of the APEC in Beijing in November. And there is a slim chance that his desire to contact leaders of other involved countries can be fulfilled.

All these consequences should be weighed before the Abe administration makes its next move on historical issues.

Asian countries' appeal for honoring the verdict of history is a natural call for justice and order, which is also the foundation of sustained regional peace and development. It should in no way be smeared as intervention in Japan's domestic affairs.

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