The views of the Government of Japan on issues of history including “comfort women”
November 6, 2013
Due to the recent attention on issues concerning history including “comfort women”, we would like to reiterate the views of the GOJ on these subjects as follows.
- Japan is keenly conscious of its responsibility in World War II and finds it truly important to squarely face the past. On various occasions, Japan has clearly expressed feelings of remorse and apology, and its resolve to ensure that such an unfortunate history is never repeated, as shown in the statement by the then Prime Minister on August 15, 1995. This fully reflects the feelings of the Abe Cabinet, and the entire position outlined by the previous administrations is continued by the Abe Cabinet.
- Prime Minister Abe and his predecessors are deeply sympathetic and sensitive to women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering as the “comfort women”. Japan has extended its sincere apologies and remorse to all those women on various occasions such as the statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993.
(To see the remarks by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the issues of history including “comfort women ,” please click here.)
- Japan considers its neighboring countries, namely the Republic of Korea, the People's Republic of China and Southeast Asian countries, as important neighbors. Prime Minister Abe places a very high value on the relationships with these countries and intends to devote further efforts towards strengthening these ties, as well as making contributions towards the peace and prosperity of the region.
- Recognizing that the “comfort women” issue was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of a large number of women, the Government of Japan, together with the people of Japan, seriously discussed what could be done for expressing their sincere apologies and remorse to the former “comfort women.” As a result, the Asian Women's Fund (AWF) was established on July 19, 1995 to extend atonement from the Japanese people to the former “comfort women.” To be specific, AWF provided atonement money to former “comfort women” in the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan who wish to receive it. Moreover, AWF provided funds for medical and welfare support in those countries, financial support for building new facilities to take care of elderly people in Indonesia, and financial support for the welfare project, which helps to enhance the living conditions of those who suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds during World War II in the Netherlands. In addition, when the atonement money was provided, respective Prime Ministers (namely PM Ryutaro Hashimoto, PM Keizo Obuchi, PM Yoshiro Mori and PM Junichiro Koizumi), on behalf of the Government, sent a personally signed letter expressing apologies and remorse directly to each former "comfort woman” as an unprecedented expression of sincerity.”
- Throughout history, women's dignity and basic human rights have often been infringed upon during the many wars of the past. The Government of Japan places paramount importance on and is committed to doing its utmost to ensure that the 21st century is free from further violations of women’s dignity and basic human rights.