Reuters reveals that when reporters traveling with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his trip to the Middle East asked him if he still thought that there was no evidence that comfort women were coerced by the military, he replied (italics mine):
“I think that my thoughts and feelings were not relayed correctly (at first), and I explained this to congressional leaders, who I believe understood…I did not apologize to the United States. I only clearly expressed my feelings.“
This is a bit different from what happened. The journalist who asked this question blogged this event as follows.
At the US-Japan summit too, the comfort women issue was one of the topics. Do you still think that there was no coercion by Japanese troop?
I have already explained everything. My thought and feelings has been conveyed wrongly, so I explained it. I explained my thought to the leaders of the Congress. I think they understood it.
You statement as to the comfort woman at the US-Japan summit was reported in the media as if you were apologizing to the US. It makes sense to apologize to the former comfort women but it doesn't make sense to apologize to the US. What is your opinion?
Do you have something more to say about it?
I didn't apologize to the US at all. My feeling toward the former comfort women was conveyed wrongly, so I only clearly express my honest feelings.
So the point is , from the context in which Abe talked, the apology was not for the US, but for the former comfort women.
Here is an article comparing Abe's apology with Korean the ambassador of South Korea 's apology for the incident of the Virginia Tech tragedy,
The hothouse (and sometimes hot air) South Korean print news media, or at least the conservative portions of it (which is most of it), will probably never be satisfied with a Japanese Prime Minister’s apology. A more humanitarian and statesman like response from the Korean media would have been to take Abe at his word, and assume that Japan’s actions would mirror these words over the next few years – until proven otherwise. Don’t hang the guy before you even give him a fair chance!
All nations and cultures have committed terrible misdeeds in the past, for which the current generation is not responsible. While it is most appropriate to accept and recognise the reality of history, it is unhelpful and counter-productive to hold up the sins of the past as an obstacle to progress in the future.
Apologies, as with all human communications that attempt to reflect reality, however roughly, need to be expressions more or less proportionate to the matter at hand. In this regard, the Japanese prime minister’s struck me as far more rational than the Korean ambassador’s – and arguably more helpfully sincere.
Abe's apology to comfort women
In case of Blare