Japan's Prime Minister Denies Wartime Allegations
This article by the New York Times addresses the recent declaration that Japan's military did not force women into prostitution during World War II made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The statement appears to foreshadow the government's intention to repeal an apology they issued in 1993, and has ignited a storm of debate across the political specturm.
The lead for the Times article was clear and concise: "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied Thursday that Japan’s military had forced foreign women into sexual slavery during World War II, contradicting the Japanese government’s longtime official position." The hourglass structure of the story also seemed appropriate and allowed the author to insert a sense of flow in the article.
I thought the Washington Post lead was somewhat weaker than its Times counterpart: " Japan's prime minister denied Thursday that the country's military forced women into sexual slavery during World War II, casting doubt on a past government apology and jeopardizing a fragile detente with his Asian neighbors." The omission of the word foreign casts doubt on who exactly was forced into sexual slavery. While I thought the addition of Japan's fragile relationship with its neighbors over the issue was newsworthy, "detente" seemed a unnecessary to me. Much like the Times article, the author also uses an hourglass structure to bring continuity into the piece.
Ultimately, I thought the New York Times article provided better coverage for two reasons. First, the Times did an admirable job of fleshing out the history of the debate. While both newspapers included much of the same information, the Washington Post did not explain the background as thoroughly. Secondly, I felt the Times made better use of attribution, primarily because the concluding quote in the Washington Post didn't feel unique or revealing:
'"The Japanese government must not run from its responsibilities," said Lee, who has long campaigned for Japanese compensation. I want them to apologize. To admit that they took me away, when I was a little girl, to be a sex slave. To admit that history." The insertion of the quote didn't do anything for my understanding of the story.