Japanese priest apologizes over ‘comfort women’
TOKYO — A Japanese Jesuit apologized on behalf of Japan for keeping sex slaves known as “comfort women” during World War II and colonial rule.
Father Jun Nakai from Simonoseki made his apology during the Weekly Mass for the Just Settlement of Comfort Women Issue out the front of the Japanese embassy on March 1, Ash Wednesday. “After I learned about the wrong doings my heart ached so much,” Father Nakai said.
“When I go back to Japan, I will try to make Japan remember the past violent history and set forth a new future by erecting statues in the hearts of each Japanese,” the priest added, referring to the statue of a comfort woman that stands outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
Franciscan Father Charles Ho Myeong-hwan, chairperson of the Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, said in his homily, “I pray to God for the revelation of the truth related to comfort women and an apology from the Japanese government.”
In December 2015, foreign ministers of both countries agreed that Japan would pay for a foundation to take care of the sex slave survivors. The agreement also declared that both governments would regard the issue as being finally resolved.