Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide
Minister of Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu

We have learned that the Government of Japan repeatedly requested the removal of the “Statue of Peace” (also known as “Statue of Girl”), recently installed in Mitte District in Berlin, Germany. We are embarrassed and angered by the news. 

Government of Japan has expressed “apologies and remorse” to the victims of Japan’s Military “Comfort Women” System in the past. Isn’t remorse to reflect upon one’s doings and correct mistakes? While expressing “apologies and remorse,” the government has tried to hide its own mistakes and erase historical facts, which continues to anger the victims and victim nations, and makes it harder to resolve Japan’s “Comfort Women” issues to this day. 

Certainly, it is not the first time that Government of Japan interfered the efforts to install memorials dedicated to the victims. It has interfered in such countries as the United States, Germany, Australia, China and the Philippines. At the memorials in those places, however, the inscriptions read: “The ‘Statue of a Girl of Peace’ is a promise to protect women and girls from all forms of violence” (Frankfurt, Germany), “…that such violence and crimes against humanity by war never be repeated in the future (Sydney, Australia) and “…to eradicating sexual violence and sex trafficking throughout the world” (San Francisco, the United States). Indeed, these messages appeal to eradication of sexual violence and promotion of peace. If these messages do “not align with what Government of Japan stands for,” as it repeatedly argues, it is telling the world that Japan does not respect human rights and peace. 

Furthermore, the fact that Chief Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Minister of Japan in the current administration do not hesitate to admit having sent a request of the removal of the memorial makes us frightened because in the past Government of Japan never admitted the interference but simply said that it would try “to explain its standpoint.” 

We urge you to change this kind of attitude. As a perpetrator country that facilitated Military “Comfort Women” System, Japan must confront the history, sincerely remorse the past wrongdoings, and educate the younger generation so that we will learn a lesson and never forget. This is the way Japan will gain respect from the rest of the world, and the issue of Japan’s Military “Comfort Women” System will be finally resolved. 

We cannot pretend these things never happened because they did happen. No one can stop the citizens of the world who make efforts to create a world free of sexual violence by remembering Japan’s Military “Comfort Women” Issues. We urge you to join this global movement by doing what is right. 

We demand that: 

1. Government of Japan withdraw the removal request for the “Statue of Peace” installed in Berlin. 

2. Government of Japan immediately stop interfering various efforts in memorializing Japan’s Military “Comfort Women” Issue in hopes of eradicating sexual violence and building peace.