Tuesday, February 10, 2015

American academics condemn Japanese efforts to revise history of "comfort women"

South Koreans hold posters reading “The Japanese government should apologize to former comfort women” during the weekly rally against the Japanese government, in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. (Jeon Heon-Kyun/European Pressphoto Agency)

Reported by By Anna Fifield, The Washington Post, 02/09/15

A group of American historians is issuing a call to their Japanese counterparts to remain steadfast in the face of pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to play down the army’s use of “comfort women” during World War II.

As it prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Abe’s conservative government is pushing to put a gloss on Japan’s wartime history and, in turn, to loosen some of the postwar constraints on its military.

“We stand with the many historians in Japan and elsewhere who have worked to bring to light the facts about this and other atrocities of World War II,” says a letter signed by 19 academics from American University as well as Princeton, Columbia and others, referring to the “comfort women” who were coerced into working in Japanese military brothels during the 1930s and 1940s.

“As historians, we express our dismay at recent attempts by the Japanese government to suppress statements in history textbooks both in Japan and elsewhere about the euphemistically named ‘comfort women,’ ” says the letter to be published in the March issue of the American Historical Association’s magazine, Perspectives on History.

Click here to see the whole article in The Washington Post

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