Friday, February 01, 2013

So Much for Crazy Talk on Abe and the Comfort Women

From Yomiuri online, Prime Minister Abe stated in the January 31 plenary session of the House of Representatives that the Kohno Statement regarding the comfort women issue that it “should not be made into a political issue, a diplomatic issue.” He went on to state that it “was issued by [Taro] Kohno, the chief cabinet secretary at the time, and it is appropriate that I as prime minister refrain from saying anything more about this matter and that it be taken care of by Chief Cabinet Secretary ([Yoshihide] Suga). Later in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga stated in his regular press conference that “it is desirable to have [the matter considered] from an academic perspective.”

Unsurprising, I’m sure, at least to Yoshi Kawasaki (see here, at 00:54:44 for his broader take on Abeplomacy) and anyone else who has actually been following the action instead of jumping all over context-deficient comments that reinforce ones preconceptions. Kawasaki hedges his views on Abeplomacy with the all-too-convenient “at least until the House of Councillors election in July” caveat, but I’ll put ten of my dollars against one of anyone’s that an honest and thoroughgoing academic undertaking and any comments—forward-looking,  according to an earlier Abe comment—by the chief cabinet secretary at its conclusion will leave committed advocates on both sides (or rather, ends, since it sometimes feels as if there were no middle ground, where I put forward my own conjecture a few years ago) highly disappointed.


sigma1 said...

I too tend to feel that Abe will not act on the Kono and Murayama statements after the HoC election, although I am not confident. However, the process is important. Will the "academic" process be a real one with apolitical figures involved, or will it be one like his collective self-defense committee in Abe 1.0 which while "academic" was clearly going to tell Abe what he wanted to hear due to personnel selection.

Brian B. said...

Could you give a link to your past conjecture on the comfort women issue? I tried googling for them but couldn't find them.

Fernando said...

I think your bet is a good one. Given all his talk about the economy, the last thing Abe wants is South Korean boycotts of Japanese goods as a trade off for pleasing the narrow segment of the Japanese population (in my understanding) that resents the Statement.

It was Yohei Kono, not Taro, by the way.