By: C.B. Misbach

Since coverage of the rape case in India began, there has been an increased global awareness of rape and crimes against women.  It could be an important moment for reflection and reform in so many places where these issues don’t receive the attention they deserve.  It is in this context that the campaign promises from newly appointed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe take on a fairly disturbing light.

Mr. Abe’s promise to revisit, and possibly rescind, an apology for atrocities committed by Japan in WWII is unsettling for a number of reasons.  One reason is that it doesn’t seem to bode well for future peace to have a former military power say it isn’t all that sorry for its past crimes against humanity.

There is another reason for international unease though.  It is the fact that rescinding this apology would quite notably take back Japan’s apology for, and acknowledgment of, using women from other countries as “comfort women” for its military during the war.  The apology specifically states that part of the reason for the apology was to start a process to “ensure that this situation is never again repeated.”

Hopefully Mr. Abe will take advantage of this time of increased global awareness and decide that whatever revisions past apologies may need, perhaps this one should be left alone.

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