Japan supports measures that could revise the country’s school textbooks so that all references to the so-called “comfort women” could be erased, according to the South Korean press.
Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told lawmakers on Wednesday that Japanese schoolchildren should be instilled with a sense of pride in Japan and its history and the ministry will discuss the possibility of revising the textbooks.
Shimomura reacted to comments by Rep. Kyoko Nishikawa, who criticized references to the former sex slaves in textbooks.
The stance is at odds with a statement made during the Miyazawa administration by the then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono. On August 4, 1993, Kono released a statement on the result of a study into the issue of “comfort women” – a euphemism for women and girls who were forced to be sex slaves for Japanese military personnel before and during WWII, according to the Chinese press.
In the statement, the Japanese government extended its “sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women”.
However, Shinzo Abe told lawmakers that school textbooks fail to “show respect and love for their country” and that educators should educate children so they would be proud of Japan.
During his election campaign, Abe said there is no proof that force was used to mobilize the “comfort women”.