Sunday, June 17, 2012

Calling for an apology

Above is New York State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein's Message to Japanese Government for an Official Apology to the "Comfort Women," Filmed by the Korean American Voters' Council at the Holocaust and Comfort Women Survivors Calling for Justice Together event at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center & Archives at Queensborugh Community College in Queens, New York on December 13, 2011. Mr. Braunstein represents Queens.

There have been multiple apologies by Japanese government officials to the Comfort Women. A private fund was established (ended in 2007) to offer atonement payments to some surviving comfort women. However, there has not been a Diet resolution nor a Cabinet Decision affirming that the apologies are official Japanese government policy and assuming responsibility. The apologies leave doubt; they are equivocal.

This is not the case for the American POWs of Japan. The apology was a Cabinet Decision and followed up by a government-funded program of visitation to Japan by former POWs.

There is, however, more to be done. The apology still  needs to be followed by efforts to research and preserve the history of the POWs of Japan. And it must include contributions by Japan's private sector that benefited by using POWs for slave labor.

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