Mu­seum chief: Why can’t Abe visit other vic­tim­ized places?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By XIN­HUA in Tokyo

The con­do­lences made by Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter dur­ing Tues­day’s trip to Pearl Har­bor have been crit­i­cized by the head of a mu­seum in Tokyo ded­i­cated to re­mem­ber­ing the “com­fort women” of World War II.

Eriko Ikeda, chair­woman of the Women’s Ac­tive Mu­seum on War and Peace, or WAM, ac­cused Abe of “his­tor­i­cal re­vi­sion­ism” and said he should also apol­o­gize for other atrocities such as the Nan­jing Mas­sacre.

“Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe is leav­ing for Pearl Har­bor to ‘of­fer con­do­lences’, but why can’t he visit and of­fer con­do­lences to Nan­jing and other places in Asia which were also vic­tim­ized by Ja­pan be­fore and dur­ing World War II,” she said be­fore Abe’s visit.

“It’s sim­ply be­cause he doesn’t want to do it, as he is a his­tor­i­cal re­vi­sion­ist who views his­tory not based on


facts but be­lieves what he wants to be­lieve.”

WAM w a s founded in 2005 and is Ja­pan’s on ly mu­seum fo­cused on wartime sex­ual vi­o­lence against women from China, Korea, the Philip­pines and other ar­eas of Asia who were forced into sex­ual slav­ery by the Ja­panese.

Ikeda said that Ja­pan’s re­fusal to ac­knowl­edge its role in the use of “com­fort women” is mak­ing it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to prop­erly ed­u­cate peo­ple about the events of the time.

Ikeda’s team in­ves­ti­gated mu­se­ums across Ja­pan who have wartime ex­hibits. Very few of the fa­cil­i­ties ex­hibit ma­te­ri­als or even men­tion the “com­fort women” is­sue. She said that some of the few that did had been were forced to re­move the dis­played ma­te­ri­als due to pres­sure from ul­tra-rightwing forces.

“It is so re­gret­table that lo­cal gov­ern­ments and rel­e­vant bod­ies have failed to pre­serve those his­tor­i­cal ma­te­ri­als,” she said.

Ikeda said she fears that be­cause the gov­ern­ment is in de­nial about the coun­try’s his­tory, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing World War II, the Ja­panese peo­ple may soon not know the truth about the “com­fort women” is­sue and im­pe­rial Ja­pan’s co­er­cion and abuse of thou­sands of sex slaves.

“Abe hopes to shake off the bur­den and guilt caused by Ja­pan’s wartime his­tory and just fo­cus on the fu­ture, but it is im­pos­si­ble,” she said.

“Just have a look at what the Ger­man lead­ers have done. ... I feel ashamed to have such a leader in Ja­pan.”

Eriko Ikeda, chair­woman of WAM

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