281 Japanese scholars urge Abe to offer apology for history

June 8, 2015
University of Tokyo's honorary professor Haruki Wada (front row, second from left) and other Japanese scholars urge Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize. (Yonhap)

Haruki Wada (front row, second from left), an emeritus professor of Tokyo University, and other Japanese scholars urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize for Japan’s wartime crimes and atrocities during Monday’s press conference in Japan. (Yonhap)

TOKYO, June 8 (Yonhap) — Hundreds of Japanese pundits urged their Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday to offer his own apology for Japan’s wartime crimes and atrocities.

The move comes a little over a month after Abe did not apologize for and ignored the issue of wartime sexual slavery in a speech before U.S. Congress, drawing condemnation from South Koreans.

South Korea and Japan will mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties on June 22. In August, Abe is also scheduled to deliver a major speech on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Japanese pundits said Abe should first express his resolve to honor previous formal apologies by Japan’s leaders, including Yohei Kono in 1993, Tomiichi Murayama in 1995 and Naoto Kan in 2010.

“(Abe) should deliver a message of remorse and apology, reaffirming (Japan’s) invasion and colonial rule of many Asian countries, including Korea, China and other neighboring countries, caused damage and agony for people there,” the group of 225 scholars said in a joint statement obtained by Yonhap News Agency ahead of its publication later in the day. The number later grew to 281.

They include Wada Haruki, an emeritus professor of Tokyo University; Naoki Mizuno, professor of Kyoto University; and others who have long studied Korea-Japan relations and historical issues.

The most pressing issue between Seoul and Tokyo, the pundits stressed, is the wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women by Japanese troops during World War II.

Even since Japan’s apology for the matter in the 1993 Kono Statement, a variety of fresh documents and other materials have been discovered to prove the “establishment, operation and management” of “comfort stations” by the Japanese military, they pointed out.

Last month, hundreds of American historians issued a similar statement critical of Abe over his dubious stance on the historical issue.


  1. D. Harscheid

    June 12, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    The faster Abe does this the better for relations with South Korea – they’re going to need i to stand up to China in the next critical decade.

  2. Chiu Yick-men

    June 17, 2015 at 1:19 AM

    Abe referred to Imperialistic Japan’s most despicable crime before and during WWII simply as “human trafficking.” How sneakily evasive!

    He did not even acknowledge such a world-renowned heinous crime, how
    could those scholars seriously expect him to apologize for it?

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