Yohei Kono confirms that content of government report on Kono Statement is correct

by Takuya Murata, Staff Writer

On June 21, Yohei Kono, former speaker of the House of Representatives, spoke at Yamaguchi Civic Hall in the city of Yamaguchi. Referring to the report made by a group of government experts who studied the Kono Statement, issued by Mr. Kono in 1993 when he was chief cabinet secretary, he said, “The report is correct. There is nothing to add or to delete.” He admitted that the content of the report is correct in stating that Japan and South Korea held closed-door discussions to finalize the wording of the statement.

With regard to the Kono Statement, which acknowledges that former Japanese military forces were involved in forcibly recruiting “comfort women” for military brothels, Mr. Kono said, “The women were ordered to take part by the military at military facilities. They may have been brought there in various ways, but it is quite natural to believe that their participation was coerced.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently commented that he would not amend the Kono Statement. Mr. Kono said, “To admit what was wrong and to apologize is the best way to gain the understanding of the international community.” He also said that relations between Japan and South Korea improved after the statement was made. Mr. Kono requested that the leaders of both countries make efforts to restore mutual trust.

(Originally published on June 22, 2014)