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Local Gov’t officials seek to delete wartime issues

Date Posted: 1999-06-26

The Miyazaki Prefectural Assembly adopted Saturday a proposal to delete issues such as “comfort women” and forced conscription during World War II from junior high school textbooks, according to a newspaper report.

In an move similar to that of Ibaraki Prefecture who sought the same course of action in 1997, the Miyazaki assembly passed a proposal that seeks to whitewash both issues from the history books, the Mainichi Shimbun said Sunday.

The “comfort women” issue has been a contentious subject for many years now. Many women, including Filipinos and South Koreans who claim they were forced to service front-line troops during World War II, have sought compensation through Japanese courts. This action has met with little success.

Korean women forced into prostitution by the Japanese Imperial Army argue the Japanese government tried to bypass responsibility by setting up the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF). Established in 1995, the AWF is a private organization funded by the Japanese government, and seeks to compensate Korean women forced into prostitution during Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910-1945. Historians say as many as 200,000 Korean and other Asian women were forced into sexual slavery.

The forced conscription of people from neighboring East Asian countries is another issue, in particular the many thousands of male South Koreans forced to work as laborers for the Japanese Imperial Army.

The Miyazaki proposal argues the study of history “should be based on academic background,” and due to a “lack of established historical facts” the mention of both “comfort women” and forced conscription is “inappropriate” and should be removed, the report added. Of the 45-member Miyazaki Prefectural Assembly, 32 voted in favor of the so-called “written opinion.”

The proposal, said the Mainichi, will be sent to Prime Minister Obuchi and other government officials.

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