South Korea and Japan to Strike New “Comfort Women” Deal
During the second World War thousands of women and girls the victims of sexual abuse in Japanese comfort houses. These slave houses were set up by the Imperial Japanese Army. At first, according to historical reports, these women were willing prostitutes from Japan (and later Korea). As time went on the Japanese military men began to force ordinary Korean women to “work” in these locations as well. The women were subject to rape and sexual torture from sun-up till sun-down. These women have become known as South Korean comfort women.
The government of South Korea will soon release their official statement and view on the 2015 deal made with the previous Japanese administration. The deal was made in order to resolve the decades old wartime issue of the “comfort women.” After announcing their statement, which will be announced by Kang Kyung-wha, the Foreign Minister of South Korea, the government will expect Japan to willingly take action to address the matter.
The reason for renegotiation of the issues comes after an official report released back in the end of December last year (2017). The report concluded by a special South Korean task force found that considerations for the actual South Korean comfort women themselves had not been taken into consideration in the previous deal struck with Japan. President Moon Jae-in, of South Korea, has since then instructed several government agencies to create a better solution. Moon also made a formal apology to the women during a lunch last month. He also stated that resolving the issue would not be so simple, as a deal had already been made with the Japanese government.
Japanese officials from the Japanese Foreign Ministry of Asian Affairs met with South Korean officials last week. During their meeting, Kenji Kanasugi, a Japanese Cheif of Foreign Affairs, stated that the Japanese government views the 2015 deal as final and irreversible. As far as Japan is concerned, the issue has been settled. Any new demands made by the South Korean government are expected to be rejected.
The agreement between Japan and now impeached South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, was made in an obvious attempt to heal old wounds between the two sovereign nations. There is a rich history of strain between Japan and South Korea over squabbling over territory and other various historical events. In the 2015 agreement, the government of Japan admitted to their military’s illegal actions of creating and operating brothels within occupied war-zones, under the ministry of Shinzo Abe. The Japanese government expressed regret and sympathy towards the “comfort women.”
The establishment of a foundation for the women was also part of the agreement which the previous South Korean government accepted and announced the old issue as finally resolved. The foundation was aimed to further positive relations between the neighboring nations. However, a public outcry in South Korea after the deal was struck proved opposite. What will happen next is yet to be seen as millions of South Koreans, Japanese, and concerned citizens of the world await word from South Korean and Japanese officials in the coming weeks.
Photos courtesy of Gettyimages