An Open Letter to Shinzo Abe

"Who controls the past
controls the future.
 Who controls the present
 controls the past.
- George Orwell

"The past is prophetic
 in that it
asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

200,000 Forced Into Sexual Slavery
Abe Tries to Deny/Rewrite History

Korean Americans React:
Survivors Deserve
Truth and Apology

An Open Letter to:
Mr. Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister, Japan

Your recent negative response to the US Congressional Resolution urging Japan
to formally and unequivocally admit responsibility over the “Comfort Women”
issue, and offer apologies to the surviving victims of this hideous crime against
humanity committed by Japan during the Pacific War was received with uniform
outrage by the 1.2 million Korean Americans.
Your statement illuminates the mindset of the current right wing Japanese
leadership who tend to bury their heads in the sand and deny all the past wrong
doings by your country.

Mr. Abe, you may be part of the Japanese postwar generation, lacking any direct
personal knowledge of these terrible crimes. However surely you must know that
there are still large numbers of Koreans alive and well in both South and North
Koreas, who remember vividly how many young Korean women were forcibly
taken from the streets and their homes by the Japanese authority to be shipped
to Japan and then overseas, forced to serve as military prostitutes- “Sex-Slaves”.
No euphemism referring to them as “Comfort Women” at brothels can change the
fact that they were forced to daily “service” Japanese soldiers and that those who
resisted were bound, tortured and raped.

Mr. Abe, your assertion that those kidnapped women, numbering 200,000 mostly
Koreans but also some Chinese, Filipino, Thai and even Dutch were not coerced
into servitude and that this crime was not committed by the Japanese authority,
but rather by some civilian entities, makes us nauseous! It is precisely this kind of
unrepentant, arrogant mentality that can and will abrogate Japan’s current standing
and potential leadership role in the Asia.

Mr. Abe, we want you to remember also that these 200,000 young women,
degraded physically and mentally, were never repatriated by the Japanese
authority at the end of the war; rather they were left where they were, while
Japanese soldiers and civilians were properly returned to their homeland.
Mr. Abe, many Korean Americans felt sympathy over the 17 Japanese citizens
allegedly kidnapped by North Korean intelligence agents nearly fifteen years ago.
We felt the families should be compensated and a pledge should be made by the
North Korean government to punish the perpetrators in their government (which
was done!).

However, Mr. Abe, in view of your arrogant posture with regard to the 200,000
Korean “Ex-Sex Slaves”, many of us no longer respond with misgivings about the
unfortunate fate of those 17 Japanese citizens!

Mr. Abe, on last February 13, the Six-Party Talks that had been going on in
the past three years have finally produced an agreement that would eventually
lead to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and improved relationship
between all the involved countries, including Japan and North Korea. However,
we are outraged to learn that the Japanese government is using the kidnap issue to
stand between the Agreement and their participation in and cooperation with the

Finally, Mr. Abe, it is the prevalent perception of the 1.2 million Korean
Americans that the countries of Northeast Asia in the past half century have made
a tremendous advancement in all areas of human endeavor; economy, culture,
science, technology, politics, industry, and above all have developed a broad sense
of common destiny and partnership among its people. Furthermore, there is no
doubt in our minds at all that the country of Japan and its people have played an
essential role in this development. At this point in time however, it is our great
concern that the attitude and direction espoused by you and current leadership of
Japan will gravely damage this perception and sense of common destiny among
the people in this region.

As a Korean American Organization,
the KANCC expresses its deepest regret over the horrible Virginia Tech. masssacre and offers sincere sympathy to the families of the victims.

"You cannot survive
 if you do not know the past.
- Oriana Fallaci

"We should
 not look back
 unless it is to
 derive useful lessons from past errors,  and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience."
- George Washington
For further knowledge about the Comfort Women, please click on the following links:

A website to remember some 200,000 women who were used as sexual slaves by Japanese troops during World War II

LABAN! Fight for Comfort Women
Why Tell the Story
The Comfort Women relive their experiences every time they speak them. But they speak them so that history will know and understand and document these acts, they speak them so that we may be aware of the consequences of war, they speak them so that we may rise above these acts and never let them occur again.


Comfort Women by Yoshimi Yoshiaki (Author), Suzanne O'Brien (Translator)
In 1992, the historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi discovered incriminating documents in the archives of Japan's Defense Agency indicating that the military was directly involved in running the brothels (by, for example, selecting the agents who recruited)

The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War
by George L. Hicks
One of the ravages of war has always been rape, but in the 1930s and '40s the Imperial Japanese Forces made it systematic, forcing thousands of women into sexual slavery for their soldiers at highly organized "comfort stations."

A Gesture Life by Chang-Rae Lee
In his second novel Lee explores the atrocities of the Japanese military, particularly those inflicted on the "comfort women," who were forced to pleasure the officers and enlisted men, through the eyes of Doc Hata, a former Imperial Navy medic who becomes not a physician but a revered small-town medical supplier in upstate New York. But more than simply the horror, this novel explores how these atrocities along with unperformed acts of violence, make it impossible for him to feel joy and pain and love. What happens during World War II is not past, but lives on and has an impact on each one of Hata's post-war relationships.

 Related News Articles

Support 121

Abe's 'comfort women' comments leave Congress puzzled, discontent
"People who were there felt what Abe said today was actually weaker than the Kono statement," another source said. "It wasn't even clear to them what Abe was trying to say."

Even Japanese Organizations Support the Resolution
A voter movement that urges the U.S. House of Representatives to adopt a “comfort women” resolution is gaining momentum.

On April 24, two days before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Washington D.C., Chicago-based JPCL announced a statement that strongly supports a comfort women resolution. JPCL is a national civic group in America, whose aim is empowerment of Japanese Americans. JPCL is the first Japanese group in America that publicly supports such a resolution.

Comfort women - Japan's shameful legacy
Mike Honda, US Congressman, 25/04/2007
Mike Honda is a Democratic member of the US Congress. A Japanese-American, he was put in an internment camp during World War II.
This Viewpoint is based on an interview conducted with Helen Vatsikopolous and broadcast on Australia Network's Asia Pacific Focus program on April 22, 2007.

Japanese ex-soldiers call for
apology to sex slaves

By Chisa Fujioka  |  April 25, 2007
TOKYO (Reuters) - Ichiro Koyama, recalling words from a fellow Japanese soldier who died two years ago, says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should offer a more sincere apology to women who served in brothels
during World War Two.

Lei Guiying, Chinese woman who testified to wartime Japanese sexual slavery, dies

US urges Japan to resolve WWII disputes with neighbors
The US President's top East Asia policy adviser, Dennis Wilder, says
Japan should try to resolve World War II disputes with its neighbors China and South Korea.

Abe apology over comfort women goes only so far
Article that references the Ad in the New York Times, also has dozens of comments about the issue.

Beyond apology, moral clarity
Urging Japan to apologize for war crimes is not enough. The US must confront its own role in ignoring Asians' suffering.
By Gi-Wook Shin

Abe only partly successful in defusing 'comfort women' issue
In recent years, the United States and Japan have asserted that their alliance in Asia is based on "common values, especially our commitment to freedom and democracy," as Bush said Friday. The countries are strengthening their military alliance even as Japan's revisionist views on history have deepened distrust in the rest of Asia.

"The notion of Japan as a robust democracy and a beacon of human rights in East Asia is something that Prime Minister Abe has been pushing," said Mochizuki, of George Washington University. "But the more he pushes on that, while leaving the comfort women hanging, it raises questions among American intellectuals about how truly democratic Japan is and how truly committed it is to human rights."

Japan's 'apology' of little comfort
    * Peter Alford, Tokyo correspondent
    * April 28, 2007
Mr Abe's first visit to the US since becoming Prime Minister in September has been overshadowed by his maladroit handling of the question of whether the Imperial Japanese Army was involved in forcible recruitment of the women who staffed its military brothels.

He was greeted yesterday by a protest demonstration by about 100 people outside the White House and a full-page newspaper advertisement that asserted that Japan had "never taken full responsibility for this crime, and it has never made a clear apology".

Protecting the Human Rights of Comfort Women
Mindy L. Kotler, Director of Asia Policy Point, a Washington, DC nonprofit research center that studies the U.S. policy relationships with Japan and Northeast Asia, writes that "The Comfort Women issue is not yesterday's problem. It is today's and, if it is not dealt with now, it will be tomorrow's problem as well. A multitude of vital U.S. interests are served by a definitive resolution of this moral issue still troubling the governments and peoples of Asia. It is also good for our very close ally Japan, as its government seeks long-overdue recognition of Japan's 60-year history of constructive, responsible and resolutely peaceful membership in the modern world community."

BBC Radio on Comfort Women
Interviews with both Survivors and Japanese Officials

Ex-education minister: Japan's WWII sex slavery allegation based on fabrication
International Herald Tribune
TOKYO: Most of the women providing sex to Japan's wartime military were not slaves, but professional prostitutes who made a fortune on the job, Japan's former educ

World War II sex slaves lose in Japanese court
International Herald Tribune
TOKYO: In two landmark rulings, Japan's highest court rejected compensation claims Friday that had been filed by former wartime sex slaves and forced laborers from China but acknowledged that they had been...

US Congress Report Rebukes Abe Over Sex Slavery
Korea Times
A U.S. congressional report on Monday rebutted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's denial of coercion in the sexual enslavement of women during World War II, according to the Yonhap News Agency. The report...

US Congressional Report Rebukes Abe Over WWII Sex Slavery
Korea Times
A U.S. congressional report on Monday rebutted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's denial of coercion in the sexual enslavement of women during World War II, according to the Yonhap News Agency. The report...

Historians Find New Proof on Sex Slaves
Philadelphia Daily News
TOKYO - Evidence submitted to the post-World War II trials of Japanese war criminals shows Japan's military forced Asian women into sexual slavery during the war, historians said Tuesday, citing newly unearthed...

Historians offer fresh evidence Japan's military forced women to work in wartime brothels
San Diego
TOKYO - Evidence submitted to the post-World War II trials of Japanese war criminals shows Japan's military forced Asian women into sexual slavery during the war, historians said Tuesday, citing newly unearthed...

Japanese leader apologizes for WWII sex slavery
San Fransisco Chronicle
(04-29) 04:00 PDT Tokyo -- In his first visit to the United States as Japan's leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe quickly got on a first-name basis with President Bush and secured an invitation to the ranch in...

Japan denies compensation to sex slaves
Lexington Herald-Leader
TOKYO -- Japan's Supreme Court upheld a ruling Friday denying compensation to two Chinese women who were forced to work in military brothels during World War II. Backing a Tokyo High Court ruling, the Supreme...

Japanese court denies compensation to 2 former sex slaves
Houston Chronicle
TOOLS TOKYO - Japan's Supreme Court upheld a ruling today denying compensation to two Chinese women who were forced to work in military brothels during World War II. Backing a Tokyo High Court ruling, the...

Japan denies sex slaves compensation
The Tribune San Luis Obispo
By CARL FREIRE - Associated Press Writer TOKYO -- Japan's Supreme Court upheld a ruling Friday denying compensation to two Chinese women who were forced to work in military brothels during World War II. Backing...

Overcoming postwar mind-set
Satoshi Ikeuchi Special to The Yomiuri Shimbun


Letter From China: In Asia, the past divides and alienates
Howard W. French   -  Published: March 8, 2007

Getting back to sanity - an article on why ACCURATELY remembering the past is important.

Japanese Prime Minister angers victims of wartime sex slavery
By David McNeill in Tokyo   -  Published: 09 March 2007

...But the issue has galvanised the Japanese right, who deny government involvement. "The women were legal prostitutes in brothels," Nobukatsu Fujioka, a revisionist academic, said. He is one of the leading figures in a movement that aims to overturn much of the accepted wisdom about what took place during Japan's rampage across Asia in the 1930s and 40s.

Twelve out of 18 members of Japan's cabinet belong to a political forum that wants to "rethink" history education and backs many of Professor Fujioka's views. His Society for History Textbook Reform has sold 800,000 copies of a revisionist history book that denies war crimes such as the comfort women and the Rape of Nanjing. Before coming to power, Mr Abe was one of the society's supporters.

Abe, Bush in Apology Farce
Apr.30, 2007

Japan Hit With Global Censure on Sex Slaves
Updated Mar.30,2007

Harvard Students Hear Testimony From ‘Comfort Woman’
Updated Apr.30,2007


For further information about this site
please contact

Korea Peace Network
P.O. Box 8244
Rochester, MI 48307
Phone: (586)-431-9699
For previously published letters, please click on the following links
July 2006 letter on the North Korean Missle Crisis
October 2005 letter Recommednations for the Six Party Talks