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2017-11-05 16:35
UNESCO deserves chastisement for its recent decision not to recognize the records of comfort women _ wartime sex slaves _ under Japan’s colonial rule.

South Korea, China and six other countries whose civic groups had pushed unsuccessfully for recognition, should ask the United Nations body to explain the reason for its decision.

Now the body’s International Advisory Committee says the parties involved _ Japan (the perpetrator), Korea, China and other victims _ should come to agreement before thousands of documents and testimonies of former comfort women are adopted to the Memory of the World Register.

That is to say the least an absurd demand because Japan under ultranationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been too busy whitewashing his ancestors’ misdeeds in the lead-up to and during World War II. Abe’s slogan for a normal Japan, in his words, means an amnesiac Japan that stops apologizing for atrocities against its neighbors.

Tokyo is betting heavily on the “self-resolution” of the issue of comfort women, now in their 80s and 90s and in frail health, through a waiting game. This year alone, six former comfort women have died, leaving only 34 survivors.

About 200,000, mostly Korean girls and women, were commandeered across the Korean Peninsula, which was under Japanese occupation and was plundered for Japan’s war effort. A lot of these women lived their lives in shame, hiding their identities and not returning to their families.

Japan is systematically trying to dilute its criminality by disseminating falsehoods that most comfort women had volunteered to be prostitutes for imperial soldiers in frontline brothels.

Above all, it is nothing short of utter absurdity to imagine imperial Japan respected human rights and freedom of expression and conducted its main war support program using volunteers.

Even more unimaginable is Japan’s claim that these girls and women consciously decided to serve 100 to 200 soldiers per day, turning themselves into a human cesspool.

With its latest decision not to recognize the evidential materials for Japan’s misdeeds, UNESCO is turning a blind eye to what should be judged as a crime against humanity on a colossal scale and is raising suspicions that the U.N. body is conspiring to bury the war crimes for which Japan was responsible.

UNESCO’s rejection of the request is contrary to the U.N.’s basic spirit of conscience and protection. UNESCO has denied a significant part of its raison d’etre and given its members one more reason not to stay.

 

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