On the Comfort Women Memorial in San Francisco

Japan takes the issue of comfort women very seriously and recognizes its past by sincerely addressing the wounds and trauma of former comfort women. Accordingly, Japanese government administrations have expressed apologies and feelings of remorse to former comfort women on numerous occasions.
The 2015 Agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea is currently being implemented, having been accepted by two-thirds of surviving former comfort women in the country. Japan will continue its efforts to faithfully pursue an ultimate and genuine reconciliation with the Republic of Korea, one of our most important neighbors, based on a multitude of diplomatic and grassroots efforts.
The difficulty of this issue lies in the fact that there are wildly conflicting views, even today, as to what actually happened. Unfortunately, the aim of current comfort women memorial movements seems to perpetuate and fixate on certain one-sided interpretations, without presenting credible evidence, in the form of physical statues.
This is unwarranted and hardly conducive to objective fact finding and mutual agreement, let alone a final reconciliation. Rather, they are rapidly alienating the entire Japanese public, who could otherwise be sympathetic to the wartime plight of these women, by unduly exacerbating emotional antagonism.
As it stands, particularly regarding the inscription that obstinately singles out the Japanese case, this new San Francisco memorial is surely destined to be yet another addition to the existing quagmire surrounding “controversial statues.”
What we urgently need now is more unity and solidarity - among all Asian Americans domestically, and between Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US on the global stage.
Jun Yamada
Consul General of Japan in San Francisco

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