By Suchitra Samanta
It’s been 20 years that so-called “comfort women,” abducted and forced into prostitution by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, have spoken out about this atrocity. Yet Osaka’s mayor, Toru Hashimoto, has offered his explanation that soldiers at war need “rest,” which women provide (“Comfort women were necessary, mayor says,” The Roanoke Times, May 15).
In 2007, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sang the same refrain. However, where 80 percent of the estimated 200,000 enslaved women were Korean, Abe said then that his cabinet would stand by the apology rendered to South Korea in 1993. But is an apology enough?
Samanta is an assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech.