Sins of Omission

Sex Slaves

By the 1950’s, professors at our universities were teaching American history, “warts and all.”  By the late 60’s, it was mostly warts.  Now, it is all warts, all the time.

The Japanese have taken a different tack.  They have sanitized their history, especially their actions during World War II, and only in response to pressure from the outside world have they acknowledged any wrongdoing at all.  Even then, their grudging admissions are euphemistically phrased and conspicuous for what they do not include.  Most recently, the ugly topic of sex slaves used by Hirohito’s army during World War II has caused the Japanese to squirm, omit, equivocate, euphemize, and deny.

The Japanese kidnapped more than 200,000 girls (some researchers argue the number is as high as 300,000), mostly from Korea and China but also from countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, and transported them to “comfort stations” to service Japanese troops.  Many of the girls were as young as 11 or 12, and few had reached 18, yet the Japanese, to this day, call them “comfort women.”  Moreover, the Japanese claimed that the girls were not kidnapped but willingly participated as professional prostitutes.  In 1993, after several international protests, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono issued a qualified apology, still calling the sex slaves “comfort...

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