Among the most brutal experiences in Japan’s history was its abuse of women in conquered nations during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of women were forced into sexual slavery by the invading Japanese forces and still to this day most of neither received an apology or financial compensation for their mistreatment. Azuma Konno, of Japan’s Democratic Party, said, his “government has kept its eyes shut and ignored the issue.” He spoke at the ninth Solidarity Conference for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan which met in the continual effort to awaken Japan’s conscience for past misdeeds. “To build our future,” said Konno, “we cannot remain blind to the past.”
The conference brought together both victims of the mistreatment and concerned Japanese who want their nation to atone for past behavior. They want an official government apology and rewriting of school history books to teach children about the past. In so doing, Japan restores its dignity.