The Vatican is most likely reluctant to open the archives out of a desire to protect the image of the Catholic Church, which is understandable but misguided. The appearance of secrecy does nothing to help their image. At least if they give historians access to the WWII documents we can learn the truth and potentially undermine some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories.
I’m happy to see this open letter from historians in support of the historians in Japan who are committed to confronting the past honestly. Because, as they conclude: “The process of acknowledging past wrongs strengthens a democratic society and fosters cooperation among nations. Since the equal rights and dignity of women lie at the core of the “comfort women” issue, its resolution would be a historic step toward the equality of women and men in Japan, East Asia and the world. In our classrooms, students from Japan, Korea, China and elsewhere discuss these difficult issues with mutual respect and probity. Their generation will live with the record of the past that we bequeath them. To help them build a world free of sexual violence and human trafficking, and to promote peace and friendship in Asia, we must leave as full and unbiased an accounting of past wrongs as possible.”
Please read the entire letter here: