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 Documents of Japanese Government and the AWF
Letter from Prime Minister to the Former Comfort Women

The Year of 1996
Dear Madam,
On the occasion that the Asian Women's Fund, in cooperation with the Government and the people of Japan, offers atonement from the Japanese people to the former wartime comfort women, I wish to express my personal* feelings as well.
The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women.
As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.
We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future.
I believe that our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations.
Furthermore, Japan also should take an active part in dealing with violence and other forms of injustice to the honor and dignity of women.
Finally, I pray from the bottom of my heart that each of you will find peace for the rest of your lives.
Respectfully yours,
Ryutaro Hashimoto
Prime Minister of Japan
(Subsequent Prime Ministers who signed the letter are: Keizo Obuchi, Yoshiro Mori and Junichiro Koizumi)
* This word was omitted from the texts after 1998.

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