Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

EDITORIAL: End Misunderstanding Due to 'Comfort Women' in Textbooks

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

EDITORIAL: End Misunderstanding Due to 'Comfort Women' in Textbooks

Article excerpt

Descriptions that invite serious misunderstandings must not be allowed in textbooks used by students.

Publisher Suken Shuppan has decided to remove the terms "military-accompanying comfort women" and "forcibly rounded up and taken away" from its high school textbooks for the subjects of "contemporary society" and "politics and economics." The publisher applied to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to make the changes, and the ministry approved the revisions.

The changes will be reflected in textbooks used in schools from April this year.

One contemporary society textbook contains the passage, "Lawsuits by people and 'military-accompanying comfort women' forcibly taken away are continuing." This will be changed to, "Lawsuits seeking compensation and apologies were filed against the state or companies."

It is indeed true that during World War II, many women became comfort women, and their dignity and honor was hurt.

However, the essence of the comfort women issue boils down to whether the defunct Imperial Japanese military forcibly took away these women or not. Not one of the government investigations conducted so far has confirmed any materials that back up the claim that the military forcibly rounded up and took these women away to serve as comfort women.

Suken Shuppan's decision to correct its misleading depictions, which also could imply these women "were forcibly rounded up and taken away" by the military, is a reasonable step.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, The Asahi Shimbun printed many articles that claimed, among other things, that the Japanese military had forcibly taken women away to force them to work as comfort women. These articles were based on testimony by Seiji Yoshida, who alleged that he had "hunted" and rounded up women from what is now South Korea. In August 2014, the Asahi retracted these articles after concluding that Yoshida's testimony was false. …

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