Mr. Abe may imagine that denying direct participation by the Japanese government in abductions may strengthen its moral authority in demanding answers from North Korea. It does the opposite. If Mr. Abe seeks international support in learning the fate of Japan’s kidnapped citizens, he should straightforwardly accept responsibility for Japan’s own crimes — and apologize to the victims he has slandered.
In case anyone doubted the damage caused by Abe’s ill-considered remarks on the comfort women resolution to his cabinet’s diplomatic efforts, this editorial should serve as a reminder of the consequences. In the eyes of the world, Abe is now the world leader who essentially called women who testified to the US Congress liars — further tarnishing Japan’s reputation in Asia and fuelling doubts about Japan’s security normalization.
With another two months before the resolution currently before Congress will go to a vote, there’s plenty of time for members of the Abe Cabinet, from the prime minister down, to ensure the resolution’s passage with inappropriate comments, if Abe hasn’t done that already.
(Hat tip: Steve Clemons)