At Harvard, Against Shinzo Abe: Can He Talk about Female Rights while Ignoring Sexual Slavery

작성일 : 2015-04-28 20:56 작성자 : 임현진 (숙명여고3)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official visit to the United States to bolster bilateral ties was overshadowed by a visit to Harvard University, where comfort women activists and student protesters called for Abe to apologize for WW2 misconduct.

During a nine-minute speech, Abe said he acknowledged "those people who were victimized by human trafficking and who were subject to immeasurable pain and suffering beyond description,". 

"Yong-soo Lee, a former comfort woman, spoke to a group of Harvard students yesterday about how she was literally dragged from her home and forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II," said Joe Lee Choi, a Harvard College sophomore.

Abe previously denied the 1993 Kono Statement, which acknowledged Japan's coercion of women into military sex camps. He has been criticized for trying to whitewash history to revive nationalism and to maintain power.

Outside the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, student protesters and comfort women activists had gathered to protest Abe's actions. The silent protesters held signs that read, "You can rewrite history, but you cannot rewrite the truth," and "Time is running out," a reference to the aging survivors.

Abe seemed discouraged in that he used the back door to enter the building in order to avoid the protesters. Lee, waiting for Abe said, "If he is confident as the prime minister of a country, then he should boldly go through the front door."

For me, it was disappointing that Shinzo Abe rarely mentioned about the misconducts of the Japanese during the World War 2 including coercive draft of sex slaves but rather focused on economic, political and social reforms of the Japanese government. Worse still, it seemed illogical how he could remark on Japanese governments' endeavors to boost female rights while ignoring the horrific infringement on females' rights during the wartime

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