Korean Comfort Women Testimonies
At a recent meeting, the two had met together, there was an offer of 1 billion yen ($9 million) along with an official apology that was formally presented to many of these former comfort women who had suffered tremendous shame and dishonor during that time. The predecessors of Abe and Moon, in a 2015 deal, had not at all been fair regarding the treatment of these women, let alone the names that had unjustly been tagged on them. Now hopefully it was time to make-up for those mistakes and this contract would help these women and their families greatly recover from their emotional wounds.
Earlier in the year, South Korea had mentioned that this agreement was weak and had requested further assistance from Japan to get more involved, however, Japan no longer wanted to negotiate and had made up its mind to stick with the provisions they had made earlier. Furthermore, Japan did not want to make any new changes to the final agreement it had reached regarding this matter.
After his meeting with Moon in Pyeongchang, Abe discussed at great length with reporters that this was a promise that the two countries have made with each other and that it would greatly help the bilateral ties between the two countries. To everyone’s surprise, it was also mentioned that Moon would be attending the Winter Olympic Games opening ceremonies this time.
Blue House (South Korea) spokesman Kim Eui-Kyeom held a briefing where he stated that Moon had been greatly sympathetic to the victims, especially regarding their emotional state and the comfort women testimonies he had heard. It was agreed by both South Korea and Japan that together they should make a united effort to sympathetically help these South Korean comfort women recover as much as they could during their healing process.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee, back in 2014, had asked Tokyo to change the euphemism from “enforced sex slaves” to a more appropriate name since it was a better way to portray these Korean comfort women. An expert on the panel agreed and actually stated this would be a more respectful description regarding these women and their function.
It was very interesting to note that, despite their differences, Moon and Abe would continue to hold their indirect meetings regarding the comfort women stories perhaps on a long term basis, if necessary, and would even go as far as organizing a summit where China would also be included in the discussions with them.
Moon and Abe also both discussed the pressure they were putting on North Korea so that it would at some point hopefully give up the elaborate build-up of its missile and nuclear programs it was currently undertaking. Tokyo had also stated that it was pointless to just talk about these matters and that something had to be done about it in a more diplomatic manner.
The new detente between North and South Korea during the Olympics has made Washington and Tokyo think more closely about the fact that Seoul may become more relaxed regarding the pressure campaign it has always felt from the both the U.S., as well as her allies and that they may even rein in North Korea into the arena.