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Forbes Criticizes US Congress for Japanese Prime Minister’s Speech
Sharp Words
Forbes Criticizes US Congress for Japanese Prime Minister’s Speech
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • April 21, 2015, 06:30
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Eamonn Fingleton's article at Forbes.
Eamonn Fingleton's article at Forbes.


Forbes contributor Eamonn Fingleton has said that money is behind the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to speak at the U.S. Congress.

“Congress now runs ever more explicitly on money – and few nations are more generous than Japan in unloading in greenbacks on American politicians whose agendas suit the island empire,” he wrote in his column titled “Dissing Comfort Women, House Speaker John Boehner Panders To Japan's Most Toxic Prime Minister.” He went on, “Of course, it is technically illegal for foreigners to fund American politics – but that is the flimsiest of fig-leaves. Any foreign corporation can perfectly legally funnel money into American politics via a U.S. subsidiary. With huge investments in the U.S. automotive and electronics industries, corporate Japan is uniquely well placed to influence Congress.”

The former Forbes and Financial Times editor-in-chief continued, “Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to be accorded the honor – yet, arguably of all Japan’s Prime Ministers since 1945, he is the least deserving. Where obloquy is concerned, his only rival is his grandfather, the accused Class A war criminal Nobusuke Kishi, who served as Prime Minister in the late 1950s.

“Among other things Abe has at times suggested that the Imperial Japanese Army’s sex slaves – generally known by the euphemism 'comfort women' – were common prostitutes. A mountain of evidence indicates otherwise. There is, for instance, the testimony of Dutch housewives captured in the Netherlands East Indies who were forced into sexual servitude in the early 1940s. So far as I am aware, their evidence has never been challenged even by the most fanatical Japanese rightists. Abe has at times conducted an almost sadistic exercise in double talk. Sometimes he seems to acknowledge the extent of the atrocities and to be duly regretful. At other times he seems to want to 'unapologize' – to take back, at least in part, previous leaders’ apologies. This latter attitude appears like an Orwellian insult to millions of people – Asians, Americans, Western Europeans, and Russians – who either suffered directly from such atrocities or whose parents or other relatives did,” he wrote. 

At present, it is predicted that the Japanese Prime Minister will mention such words as remorse during his Congress speech scheduled for April 29, but will never make an apology with regard to what happened during WWII. Professor Gerald Curtis of Columbia University urged the Japanese Prime Minister to apologize by taking the opportunity in his contribution to the Wall Street Journal.