Japanese politicians have been showing off their nationalist credentials recently - most notoriously in the case of Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, who declared that the Korean "comfort women" in World War II were necessary for Japanese soldiers, giving them a welcome chance to rest and recuperate.
And they're not about to change:
Japan has no interest in following a United Nations recommendation that its politicians stop abusing former sex slaves forced to serve Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper quoted the Tokyo government as saying Wednesday it has no intention to abide by the suggestion by the U.N. Committee Against Torture (CAT), saying that it was “not legally binding” and therefore it was “not obligated to abide by it.”
The U.N. committee last month adopted a recommendation that called for Japan to take all necessary measures to stop its right-wing government officials and politicians from insulting women victimized by the imperial Japanese army....
Politicians there are seeking to exploit nationalist sentiment as they brace for an upper house election next month.
Meanwhile, a Civic group in Japan voiced concern that the Japanese government is hiding relevant facts on its mobilization of what it calls “comfort women” in order to avoid responsibility.
“Comfort women” is a euphemistic expression referring to those who were coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. Historians say up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were forced to serve Japanese soldiers.
“Japan should listen to the international community’s message that Japanese right-wingers stop the defamation of sex slavery victims,” said a Korean foreign ministry official.
Seoul-Tokyo ties have deteriorated recently over controversial remarks and actions by Japanese leaders and lawmakers that deny, or even glorify, their country’s colonial era.
It's nothing new. Sixty years ago, as revealed in the Asahi Shimbun yesterday (via), a Japanese official in diplomatic normalization talks with South Korea accused the Koreans of arrogance for failing to appreciate the benefits of Japanese colonial rule:
“A solution is impossible unless they come down from their height above the clouds of arrogance," Kanichiro Kubota, special assistant to the foreign minister, wrote in a 20-page declassified official document titled, “How to mend the breakoff in Japan-South Korea talks.”
The document was dated Oct. 26, 1953, and contained the family name Kubota.
Marked “strictly confidential” in the margins, it was part of about 10,000 pages of documents the Foreign Ministry made available to a civil advocacy group in March and April.
In the document, Kubota described his South Korean counterparts as believing that Japan’s colonial rule only did harm to Korea. He also described them as believing that the most important and new principle of international law after World War II was the emancipation and independence of oppressed peoples, whereby Japan lost all of its properties on the Korean Peninsula.
Kubota said the South Koreans were “servile to the powerful and high-handed to the weak,” adding that “efforts should be started to bring down” the South Korean administration of President Rhee Syng-man.
The Japan-South Korea normalization talks, which began in 1951, were suspended for more than four years after Kubota infuriated Seoul on Oct. 15, 1953, by saying that Japan’s rule over Korea also had beneficial aspects...
“Tokyo never parted with the basic thought underlying Kubota’s comment,” said Fumitoshi Yoshizawa, professor of modern Korean history at the Niigata University of International and Information Studies. “Late in the talks, for example, a chief Japanese negotiator again vindicated the colonial rule. Japanese politicians have continued to make similar comments in recent years, drawing fire each time both within Japan and from abroad.”