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13 Sep, 2021 10:04

Beijing blasts Japan over decision to water down textbooks on historic ‘comfort women’ abuses

Beijing blasts Japan over decision to water down textbooks on historic ‘comfort women’ abuses

The Chinese foreign ministry has registered its anger and disappointment over Japan’s decision to revise textbook language on so-called comfort women, victims of Japanese wartime sexual slavery and other forced workers.

Speaking on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing that abuses against comfort women were a serious crime against humanity committed by the Japanese military, slamming Japan’s decision to alter its representation in history textbooks.

“The Japanese side is once again playing cleverness in textbooks and playing word games. This is an attempt to obscure history, water down and evade historical culpability, and progressively deny and distort the history of aggression,” the spokesman stated.

Zhao claimed the move was in keeping with Japan’s long-standing misconduct and “dishonest attitude” towards its historic wartime abuses, adding that the behavior further insults the memory of those impacted.

The spokesman called on Japan to honestly face up to its history of aggression and draw a clear line from its militaristic past, adding that it needs to properly handle historical issues such as the forced recruitment of comfort women in an honest and responsible manner. By doing this, Japan will regain the trust of its international neighbors, he argued. 

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Last week, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology gave permission to five Japanese textbook publishers to revise language on the issues of comfort women, victims of Japanese wartime sexual slavery, and the forced laborers.

On Friday, South Korea, one of the country’s most-affected by the Japanese abuses, registered its regret at Tokyo’s decision. “It is very regrettable that the Japanese government decided to dilute the extent of the coercion faced by comfort women and forced laborers in April, that textbook publishers applied for changes or the deletion of related expressions, and that the ministry recently approved the publication of the textbooks,” said Korea’s Foreign Ministry in a statement.

Estimates concerning the total number of women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese forces during World War II vary, although some suggest it was as many as 200,000. Most of the women came from occupied lands including Korea, China and the Philippines.

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