Getting closer, but

From BBC News:

South Korean protester shouts a slogan during an anti-Japanese rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, 21/3/07

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologised in parliament for the country’s use of women as sex slaves during World War II.

The apology comes after Mr Abe was criticised by Asian neighbours for previous comments casting doubt on whether the women were coerced.

Mr Abe told parliament: “I apologise here and now as prime minister.”

This appears to be part of a concerted bid to reduce the fall-out of earlier comments, a BBC correspondent says.

Mr Abe said, during a debate in parliament’s upper house, that he stood by an official 1993 statement in which Japan acknowledged the imperial army set up and ran brothels for its troops during the war.

“As I frequently say, I feel sympathy for the people who underwent hardships, and I apologise for the fact that they were placed in this situation at the time,” he said.

His statement has gone a little further than similar attempts to clarify his position two weeks ago, but is unlikely to satisfy all his critics abroad, the BBC’s Chris Hogg in Tokyo says.

Well, c’mon, now. They weren’t exactly “placed” in this “situation” at the employment office.
Evelina Galang has more to say on the matter, much better than I can say it, here:

Mr Abe’s comments about the use of coercion were made as the US Congress began considering a non-binding resolution, which calls for Tokyo to make an unequivocal apology for the so-called comfort women.

Which brings us back to the petition regarding said resolution, which can still be signed here (at my count tonight, there are 801 signatures: Evelina has a goal of at least 1000 signatures to reach.)

I know that there are about umpteen thousand things in this world of ours to be outraged about, but this is one that seems to be slipping through the cracks more than it should. If you’ve got a couple of minutes, please check out Evelina’s blog, and take a look at the petition. Please sign it, if you can: it only takes a second.

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