BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Despite strong protests and denouncements at home and abroad, Tokyo once again stirred up confrontation with neighboring countries Friday, accusing South Korea of interfering in the content and wording of the Kono Statement.
In a so-called review submitted to the parliament, the Japanese government questioned the credibility of the Kono Statement - an apology released in 1993 by then Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono for forcing more than 200,000 women from other Asian countries to serve in its military brothels during World War II.
Asian countries have demanded the Abe government make an official apology and compensate victims of the so-called "comfort women," a euphemism for these young women forced into sex slavery.
Following its obstinate visiting of the Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 Class-A war criminals, the review is the latest deliberation of Abe administration on history to pander to domestic rightists and male chauvinists who want to whitewash the country's war crimes.
Whatever chicanery Tokyo might resort to, its questioning of the statement, which is a stain on Japan's international image and an insult to the women of the world, reflects Abe's bald-faced attempt to ultimately withdraw the country's previous apology for its appalling war atrocities.
Moreover, the so-called official investigation of the Kono Statement, intentionally clinging to technical details in a small number of South Korean cases, ignores the full picture, as documents in and out of Japan have shown Tokyo was not only "involved in," but systematically victimized women from China, the Korea Peninsula, the Netherlands, the Philippines and East Timor.
Instead of acknowledging its responsibilities and delivering compensation, the Abe administration has launched this latest farce, which is morally despicable.
Willfully or not, provocations by Japanese politicians over the "comfort women" issue have intensified recently. Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Japan's second most populous city, Osaka, said Japan's treatment of these women was no worse than what British and U.S. soldiers did to French women in World War II.
It's fairly heart wrenching to see historical facts relentlessly challenged by opportunistic Japanese politicians, while the victims of its past crimes wither in disappointment at deferred justice.
Abe and his increasingly assertive cabinet should be reminded that any kind of stigmatization of the Kono Statement mirrors Tokyo's bald-faced historical denialism and is doomed to failure.
Instead, it's time for these nationalist politicians to pay the price for their vicious provocations.