The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan expressed serious concern Aug. 25 over Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s denial that the Japanese military had forced women into sexual slavery during World War II.
“Ishihara’s recent comment is a heartless insult to the women who were devastated physically and mentally by their treatment at the hands of the Japanese during the war,” a MOFA official said. “The past must be faced and respect paid to these women by apologizing and giving them justice.”
The MOFA official’s remarks came in response to reports in the Japanese media Aug. 24 that Ishihara said there is “no evidence” to show that women in neighboring countries were forced into becoming sex slaves, or comfort women, by the imperial army during the second world war. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto made similar comments Aug. 21.
The politicians’ remarks are at odds with those of former Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, who apologized over the matter in 1993, the official said.
Kono acknowledged that Japanese military and government officials had either directly or indirectly participated in the establishment and running of so-called comfort stations during World War II, and forced women to serve in the facilities.