Some facts that get lost in the tussle:
Prime Minister Abe did not raise the issue; Congressman Honda did, in a House Subcommittee, and forced his hand. Mr. Abe merely stated his previously expressed view, shared by much of the conservative wing of the LDP and, apparently, DPJ, that the would there was no proof that the Japanese government was directly involved in any coercion of the women, but that he would abide by the Kohno Statement as well.
Mr. Abe's views were clearly misrepresented in the foreign media, and this has added fuel to the fire.
Mr. Abe will not issue a new apology.
The Emperor will not issue an apology.
The Abe trip to Washington will be marred by protests wherever he goes. (This last one courtesy of a US expert whom I will not name, unless he reads this and says he wants to be identified.)
If you want to really get into this issue, I understand there is a big debate going on at the MBR forum.
And before you write in to compare me to a Holocaust denier or a fellow traveler thereof, please note that I said: add fuel to the fire. And read my previous entry on this subject.
(Beside the point) I had been preoccupied this week, and I've been neglecting this blog. So to you who took the trouble to comment, my apologies. And thanks, Ken, for putting up that notice on behalf of Karin Muller; there's an intellectual property issue here, if indeed Japanland was broadcast or aired on cable or satellite TV. Also, thank you for your kind words about this blog. I'm supposed to be modest here; I'll merely state that, on the basis of the contents of your website, you are a source to be trusted.
By the way, I also found the false rape conviction highly disturbing. This and other cases have made me very skeptical of the death penalty, among other things. We did a complete makeover of our criminal procedures law after WW II, but much of the actual practice quickly diverged from the letter and spirit of the law. The upshot is that we have a criminal investigation and prosecution system that relies heavily on confessions. This apparently can result in serious travesties of the law.