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