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WWII comfort women: the pain that time cannot heal

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It remains a great stain on Japan that people like Hashimoto and Abe can question the legitimacy of these claims - because people simply don't make these stories up en-masse. It's insulting, malicious revisionism that should absolutely be rejected every time and the official apology, which was the right thing to do and is the official line, be referred to and hammered home at every opportunity.

24 ( +34 / -10 )

I think politicians in Japan will find it difficult to call her a liar after listening to her firsthand accounts.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

Well said, Tamarama, but unfortunately time is on the side of ultra-right wingers like those you mentioned, and they are just waiting for the people who were actually alive at the time and suffered rape and other atrocities to die off so that said wingers can finally and completely rewrite the textbooks and succeed in their white-washing. If you need any further proof that the sentiment is more than alive and well, I'm sure Ossan and others will be on here soon saying these women were all prostitutes and even blaming CURRENT problems on Korean prostitutes, etc. The issue will never be solved while current trends prevail, and while people with the aforementioned line of thinking are allowed in power or to be brainwashed by those in power.

Meanwhile these poor women wain away without proper apology and recompense, and with even the apologies possibly about to be rescinded and history rewritten again by Abe. Sadly, I think they'll never get their proper due, and young people here will learn that Japan was the victim of WWII and learn next to nothing about the women the Imperial Army raped and forced into sexual slavery.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

I think politicians in Japan will find it difficult to call her a liar after listening to her firsthand accounts.

Unfortunately they can and they will because they have no conscience and no shame.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

Abe he is such a regular fantasy story teller, till he believe in what he said no matter the truth.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

That they continue to publicly refer to them as "comfort women" instead of kidnapped sex slaves indicates how reluctant they are to face the issue.

Of course the U.S. is complicit as they allowed Japan to sweep all their war crimes under the rug, to allow the U.S. economic and strategic advantages.

As always, Japan pays lip service while hoping this problem goes away.

Kind of similar to how they're dealing with Fukushima. THAT problem is not going to be ignored so easily

7 ( +13 / -6 )

It might not be known to many (especially not to japanese) but women from non asian countries like the Netherlands and UK were also forced to work as "comfort woman". In much smaller numbers of course. There was a scene at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Japan played against the Dutch. When they were playing the japanese national anthem, many dutch supporters booed. And the japanese commentator didn't know why.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

It is actually very easy to put the blame on politicians and wash away the blame. Sad part is politicians are a reflection of the society and these are not totalitarian times. In this ages if people feel strongly about a issue that pains them, they can get themselves heard despite good/bad government. People feel strongly about nuclear energy and its crisis they get themselves heard. People in japan, if they were deeply hurt by what happened, could get politicians to bends and support apology. Which has sadly never happened constructively.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Regardless of what the likes of Hashimoto, Abe and Ishihara have to say, this did happen and it was a huge atrocity although, one could argue that the whole occupation of Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan was an atrocity. The Japanese government has made apologies for this and paid 'some' compensation to the Korean government, which was not passed on to the victims, but was spent on infrastructure. The Imperial rule of Asia is a very deep wound for many countries and it is gonna take more than one generation for the stigma to go away. The biggest problem is, the Japanese government has apologized and paid compensation, but they have never said it was wrong to enslave these women and children. In fact, they have always maintained that is was a necessary part of the war effort. An opinion that has recently been echoed by Hashimoto and supported by 'the supreme adviser' Abe. Until Japan addresses this issue as a mistake there will be no settlement. The bows and apologies mean nothing when they still think that what they did was right.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

But, But, But.... the olympics are coming and the economy is trying to rebound.. no one cares about 90 yr old comfort women all will be forgotten, right??

this is such a farce... Japan should "man up" and apologize for what its former military did. This is a black mark (among many) on its history and should be rectified

7 ( +14 / -7 )

I think politicians in Japan will find it difficult to call her a liar after listening to her firsthand accounts.

Yes, it is politically difficult. From a legal perspective, however, don't you just love these "hazy on the details and timing of her ordeal" testimonies? As legal evidence, they simply should not be accepted, and the fewer the details the harder it is to catch them out on a inconsistency (thus they are unfalsifiable). Yet to dismiss them as such will be politically unacceptable.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Andreas: "It might not be known to many (especially not to japanese) but women from non asian countries like the Netherlands and UK were also forced to work as "comfort woman". "

Exactly. A number of Dutch women who were in Indonesia when it was a colony were raped and forced into sexual slavery, and while they have made claims about it to the government as well, it is hardly known here at all. Hell, there were even Japanese women forced into sexual slavery (still are, but that's a different issue).

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Guess if you were educated in Japan these "comfort" women in some way should be grateful! Thank goodness there is a whole world past these shores that has "education systems" unsullied by denial and white wash.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The article mentions that the rapists were strict about wearing condoms

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As someone who has been implied as being both a misogynist and a misandrist on this board, I am amazed at how little some people know about women. I am also amazed and appalled how little people know about the sex slave issue, and it disgusts me that anyone would call it the "comfort woman issue". That would be like calling the issue the KKK has with non-white races as the "N-word issue", but actually saying the N-word. Whose hands does that play into?

Anyway, as in the article, women brutally raped over and over tend to get internal injuries which can lead to becoming incapable of carrying a pregnancy. Since she never tried to conceive after the war, we don't know if she had that problem. But there are also issues like severe stress, beatings and malnutrition that prevent a woman from conceiving. But most important of all, no where does the article say she did not get pregnant. And if she did, who could blame her for not wanting to share that bit? Someone who knows nothing about women!

Also, those running the sex slave system might have been evil, but they were not stupid. They had two layers of protection. Some of these women and girls were for officers only, and the not as "desireable" ones were for the rank soldiers. And also condom use was either enforced or at least encouraged. An army of men all gripping their groins from gonorrhea gained by passing around the same sex slaves is really not too effective.

But that is just expansion from what is right there in the article.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Realistically speaking, I'm not sure what else can be done.

The Japanese government paid full compensation to South Korea back in the 1960's. The SK government insisted on being the party to settle the claims of the victims directly- the Japanese weren't allowed to help. In return, the issue was considered solved and diplomatic relations restored.

Would wringing a non-serious and non-heartfelt apology from a series of Japanese politicians really matter that much? To be honest, the Koreans also have themselves to blame partially. Without the willing co-operation of Korean middlemen and go betweens, the sex slaves could never have been procured.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

As the article says, Japan formally apologised in the 1990s - good. Japan should not think about retracting the apology in any way whatsoever. Abe should just shut up. The smug, arrogant, self-serving Hashimoto is too odious for words and backtracks on just about everything.

What's more to the point is WHY weren't these comfort women taken care of by their own government? It took over 45 years for them to have a voice - why? It's not as if no one in Korea knew about it until they spoke up. So why did the Korean government do nothing for them for nearly half a century? When Japan paid millions in compensation to Korea, why did the Korean government ignore them?

But it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the issue of comfort women emerged into the spotlight with the growth of the women’s rights movement in South Korea, and Kim is one of only a handful of survivors still around to ensure their stories are not forgotten.

And then it's clearly not only Japan which is responsible for forcing these women into sexual service:

“After the Japanese surrender in 1945, we do know that… comfort women were forced into continuing their service, either towards new troops (American or Russian) who came in or just left and discarded for the locals to use,” he says.

Japan apologised in the 1990s but where is the apology from the US government and the Russian government? Shouldn't these women be petitioning the U.S. and Russian governments too? Shouldn't the South Korean government be doing the same - at least for the sake of consistency as much as anything else?

Japan should not deny the facts about comfort women, but it has formally apologised and paid compensation for its wartime deeds. Why no protests against the USA and Russia? Why no talk of compensation or apologies there?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

so tired of these BS WW2 articles every single day on Japan today! Were these incidents significant enough that we should all learn about them ONCE so that they won't be repeated? Yes. Were they significant enough to write a new article on this same topic every single day freaking in the news freaking 70 years later? hell no! With all the tragedy and problems plaguing the world HERE and NOW, even mentioning aged WW2 events more than once a year in the news is pushing it! Learn from the past and MOVE ON.

So these women were sex slaves? omg, guess what, there are child sex slaves still being abused in some countries to THIS DAY. Please let up on this tired tired topic ffs

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

“After the Japanese surrender in 1945, we do know that… comfort women were forced into continuing their service, either towards new troops (American or Russian) who came in or just left and discarded for the locals to use,” he says.

... and America has never apologised... not once. It refuses to even acknowledge that MAYBE it might have done something wrong.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

There was a scene at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Japan played against the Dutch. When they were playing the japanese national anthem, many dutch supporters booed. And the japanese commentator didn't know why.

Oh, lol Nothing like that happened, sweetie :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXnXYKOatFA

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@hatsoff--Japan has never issued a formal apology. Koichi Sato issued an apology but I have no idea how that became "formal" or for all of Japan. Same with that of former PM Miyazawa. The Diet never approved it and many politicians continue to deny it ever happened. And the government has managed to strike all references to the sex slaves from junior high textbooks. And they continue to use the euphemism of "comfort women". I believe the apologies of Sato and Miyazawa were heartfelt, but obviously the rest of the government is not in line. The apologies are not official. They bear no weight of law. How is that formal? Further Kato's apology was the most forthcoming, but only admitting to the Japanese army "playing a role" in "abducting and detaining" them. That is a pretty weak apology. On the other hand, try finding a German politician saying the Holocaust never happened. Last time I met a German, I had to stop him apologizing when I brought up the war. Its quite a difference.

About compensation, there was a 1998 court ruling for compensation to the sex slaves, and it was granted because Japan's earlier payment to South Korea did not make mention of, or include sufficient funds for the sex slaves. But that decision was overturned in 2001 by a higher court so no money. The only compensation they have ever received has been from private Japanese funding, which is nice and all. But the government does not pay and it keeps trying to bury and deny the facts. Apologies like this are a slap in the face. There is no contrition. Just a bunch of empty words.

And while I understand your point about South Korea keeping the money, Japan agreed to keep this all a secret. That is like paying the local yakuza boss for your pain and suffering. It makes no sense. Japan has not gotten out of its obligation like that by any sensible reckoning.

I do not know if they ever petitioned the Russian and American governments, but, I see no reason why they should not focus more on the ones who abducted in the first place and raped them first. I can even imagine that they were actually paid and treated with a bit more respect. Whatever. Its their choice who they persue and its no doubt who they have the biggest grudge against and probably for very good reason.

What should Japan do? I think they can get by without apologies or money. What they need to do is fully admit the history and get these damnable politicians to stop denying it and covering it all up.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Can we consider a person who was paid for her services a confort woman? Im not denying things, but as far as I know, those so called confort women were paid for such job. source: Amercian Military Office

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

What a sick comment Mitsuo. Gang raping a woman and tossing cash at her is hardly payment for a service!

Besides, what they got tossed at them was basically Monopoly money and it became worthless after the war. They called it scrip. But its as good as Monopoly money.

So no. They got raped. They did not get paid. And the excuses and make-believe of your comment are about enough to make one want to hurl.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

****ControlFreakSep. 28, 2013 - 06:43PM JST

I know you did'nt like my coments regarding this story, but can I ask a question. Can you giver me some sources that prove your point?

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

CFreak; the 1998 ruling was irrelevant because it failed to take into account the earlier agreement that was reached at the national level between Japan and South Korea. The surviving victims can look to their OWN government for compensation. AFAIK, most of the money was used for infrastructure projects in Korea instead of being given to the victims. That issue lays squarely in Korea. Nothing to do with Japan.

As for apologies and recognition, that is a waste of time. There have been numerous apologies at various levels. Sometimes I wonder what will actually satisfy the Koreans. Perhaps Emperor Akihito should crawl naked through the streets of Seoul, flogging himself and crying. Would THAT be enough?

Probably not. Like the Chinese, the Koreans keep these issues alive for domestic political purposes. They are using the victims' sorrow for scoring political points in other areas. Frankly, it's disgusting.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

the PM was talking about women issues in the UN but never mentioned any relation of it to this story or any others that were already been heard. Japanese politicians are just afraid to talk about reality. looks more like they have no more visions and/or willing to approach it and try to solve it. or they are just tired of it. can be part of why most seats were empty during the speech. the world might be tired as well of the same stories as I think there is nothing new to learn from it. and i think addressing women issue is not only the goal of japan but every country are looking into this issue. there is something that makes japan exception into issue. and what is that! i don't think i heard it during the speech.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Control Freak - thanks for the background on the apologies. It's appreciated.

As for the comfort women issue in JHS textbooks, were the references in there originally? To be honest, I would be surprised if there are any references to any kind of prostitution (enforced or not) or the sex industry in any kind of text book at junior high school level. As jumpultimatestars says above, there are child sex slaves in the world today but I bet these issues don't get discussed in any subject at junior high school level in most countries in the world.

As for compensation, I honestly think these South Korean court rulings are revisionist and dodge the real issue. It's not correct to say that Japan should pay more now because it didn't pay enough then. Whose fault would that have been? It can only ever be the fault of the South Korean government. Why did the South Korean government not include the sex slaves in the compensation plan? Why did these people's own government ignore them? Why did the sex slaves not have a voice in their own country? Why did their own government not seek justice for them? Why wait nearly half a century?

Japan's earlier payment to South Korea did not make mention of, or include sufficient funds for the sex slaves.

The responsibility for deciding who the victims were and who should therefore be compensated lay fully with the South Korean government. It was the South Korean government which insisted Japan give them the money for distribution. I believe the comfort women's / sex slave's grievances should be aimed fully and squarely at their own government.

However, it's one thing for them to be rebuffed by a foreign country (Japan - the arch enemy), and quite another to be rebuffed by their own government - again. And I do believe they would be rebuffed if they petitioned their own government, saying "Why didn't you pay us a proportion of the compensation you received from Japan in the 1960s?"

And if the South Korean government were to claim "But we didn't know about your plight in the 1960s" that would have to be a big dirty lie - or cast huge doubt on the extent of the sex slave issue (because if no one knew about it, it couldn't have been so widespread). No one in Korea would want that. Definitely not.

I don't fully understand your point about Japan agreeing to keep things secret. You mean what South Korea did with the money? If so, it takes two parties to agree to keep things secret, and the most shameful of these would have to be South Korea itself, since the funds were meant to be used for its own people. Really - why does the South Korean government not receive criticism from its own people on this?

As for not petitioning the USA or Russia because it's up to them - yes, that's true. They can choose who they wish to fight. However, they are after moral justice - aren't they? - so it doesn't make sense NOT to pursue the USA and Russia.

After all, if I run a brothel full of sex slaves, I am not in any way LESS guilty just because someone was running the brothel before me. I would become morally culpable the moment I took it over, when the right thing to do would have been to set them free. That didn't happen.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

You see their smiling photos now, telling their stories of being sex slaves who were able to travel then to Taiwan, Hongkong , Malaysia and Singapore. And being able to travel to different countries now just to re tell their stories.  Were they really sexslaves or they went in their own volition for survival as we all know during war, only the soldiers, the military have plenty of supplies.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@hatsoff--Thanks for listening.

After all, if I run a brothel full of sex slaves, I am not in any way LESS guilty just because someone was running the brothel before me.

Imagine that you are 14 years old and abducted by John who beats you and forces you to have sex with 10 men every day. He does not feed you right. He gives you no breaks or holidays. He pays you with Monopoly money.

Now imagine that you are 20 and endured this for 6 years. Frank kicks John right in the family jewels, breaks his nose, and sends him packing. He offers to let you go home, but you have only Monopoly money and can't. So he lets you now take real money for sexual services that you perform until you get enough money to go home. Who gets the bulk of your grudge? John or Frank?

It's not correct to say that Japan should pay more now because it didn't pay enough then.

Let's say you are injured in a car accident caused by Ron. You demand compensation from him. Ron tells everyone he was not even in town that day and is somehow believed. So you get nothing. Then one day some proof that Ron did cause the accident is found by your father. Your father demands compensation from Ron, and Ron gives it. Also, your father swears Ron to silence and neither tell you anything. 30 years later, you find out Ron paid your father and your father spent all the money. Who do you go after? Ron or your father? Either way, do you really think Ron is off the hook?

Japan should have paid off the people Japan owed. The South Korean government was a third party who never should have been handed Korean citizen's money. Paying the wrong people is the same as not paying. If not, then from now on I give my rent money to my mother and when the landlord comes knocking, I say I paid and they should collect from my mother. You think that will fly in court?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

CFreak you nailed it at 6:24PM!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Control Freak - it's undeniable that there is real personal pain involved in this situation (e.g. Kim Bok-dong and the other victims), but that doesn't absolve South Korea of its responsibility towards its own people.

Japan did offer to pay the victims directly but South Korea refused. I think it would be unrealistic for anyone to say Japan should have ignored the SK government and attempted to pay each individual. In any case, how exactly would Japan have done that?

You call it "paying the wrong people" but the sovereign nation demanded payment from the wartime aggressor and Japan admitted its aggression and paid the requested compensation.

As for your analogy of Ron and the father, Ron equals Japan and the father equals the South Korean government, and Ron discharges his responsibilities if the law recognises the father's right to act as the representative of his family. The father is to blame for cheating his daughter and shows her no respect at all.

If a minor is sexually abused and the court awards compensation, the money will be paid to the parent or guardian of that minor, not the minor herself. The parent or guardian then bears the responsibility of handling the money correctly and for the purpose for which it was given.

Analogies aside, the USA and Russia could easily have sent these girls and women home (and some never even left occupied Korea), but they didn't.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's not her fault that parents wanted to give her away for some money instead of keeping her in the house. Also, it wasn't IJA who knocked to the doors but probably her fellow Korean who wanted to make some money on this biz.

I've heard people accusing these 14 year old children of volunteering to become prostitutes. But now you blame her Korean parents for selling off their 14 year old girls as prostitutes, and blame Koreans of selling these children as prostitutes? It seems you are prepared to blame everyone as long as they are not Japanese.

And 'probably'? When you make such a big call, you need more than 'probably' to back up your claims.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's too bad some people cannot forgive other people for what their grandfathers did.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Mitch; There is a lot of blame to go around. Arguably, Japan owns the largest share since the brothels were for the use of Japanese soldiers. However, that does not mean that Korea is blameless. No issue is so simple as that.

We can't change what happened 70 years ago. We CAN acknowledge that at least the issue was settled on the diplomatic front in 1965. The victims' beef is with their own government for misappropriating the funds that were meant for the victims. After all, Japan in 1965 was hardly in a position to demand to participate in the compensation effort. Letting the Korean government take care of the situation was the logical thing to do.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Smith

I agree that time is on the side for Japan right's revisionism. They have already triumphed in Japan. BUT...

China (and the ROK) will never let it drop. So it will always be an issue between China (et al) and Japan. That much is clear. What is not so clear is the the demographic change in the US will make it an issue between Japan and the US, because much all the growth comes from Chinese and Korean immigrants, in important states like CA, and NY, and the rest of the Pacific States.

As these immigrant communities mature, the Senators and House Reps with names like Honda and Inoue will be replaced with names like Lee, Kim and Nguen.

And they will not let Japan get away with it's BS.

Then it will come down to whether the nationalists in Japan want to get along with the US, or not.

I am optimistic, once the entire WWII generation dies away, that Japan's nationalists will come to understand it is better to get along with the US than lie about their past.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's too bad some people cannot forgive other people for what their grandfathers did.

It's too bad some people cannot acknowledge what their grandfathers did.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@Mitsuo Matsuyama You want proof that forcing women into prostitution is beyond awful? I don't know. Do you know any women? You might try asking them. Something you don't like about the phrase? It's too "nice" or it's not "nice" enough? Perhaps we can agree that forcing women into degrading situations is awful no matter who's doing it or if they are "compensated." You suspect all these women are lying I see. Perhaps you are right; perhaps you are wrong. However I do think testimony can be persuasive when checked against other kinds of evidence and sources. I suspect you might be living in an echo chamber (to be fair, so are the unrelenting S. Korean critics chopping off their fingers in front of Japanese embassies). I also have a problem with the "middle men" arguments. Anyway, most of the problem here on both sides is nationalism. It distorts reality (since it is largely an invention of the imagination).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Mitsuo

know you did'nt like my coments regarding this story, but can I ask a question. Can you giver me some sources that prove your point?

You could try reading the article where the victim actually tells her story? Or if you are not comfortable trusting someone who is not Japanese, perhaps you could refer to the testimonies of the now elderly former Japanese soldiers who regularly come forwards and clear their consciences by backing up these womens stories, confirming everything they say is true. There was one quite recently describing how the men lined up with their pants already down to save time.

Or of course, you could just stay in denial and continue to endure everyones disgust. Your choice.

From a legal perspective, however, don't you just love these "hazy on the details and timing of her ordeal" testimonies?

I find nothing to "love" about a testimony given by an elderly lady on events that happened nearly 80 years ago when she was a child and was so brutally violated and traumatised that she has almost certainly blocked aspects of it from her memory just to enable her to survive the rest of her life. Meanwhile, as I just said above, and many others have pointed out, more and more Japanese soldiers are backing up their stories, and mass-fabrication across other countries and cultures just isnt conceivable.

Have some respect for these victims.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Don't forget folks. NHK had a documentary made about the issue and interviewed former rape victims at a symposium that was held here in Japan. It was slated to be broadcast BUT after a certain Shinzo Abe protested and threatened their funding less than a week before broadcast the documentary was never shown. This prime minister not only tells massive lies (under control) he is also afraid of the truth. Chicken gutless politician who prefers to hide the truth from his people.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@hatsoff--Something I have not mentioned yet is the fact that former sex slaves have come to Japan several times to demand compensation and were turned away with excuses like "their claims could not be accepted" or "the Diet should decide". What they were not told is that the Japanese gave their money to the South Korean government. You cannot just write that off. Even when the 1998 compensation decision was overturned in 2001, it was never said that Japan already paid. It was not revealed that Japan paid any money until 2005, 40 years after the fact, and it was not by Japan. Japan was fully complicit in the scam to deny these women compensation. Every time they came here, they were laughed off and lied to.

How could Japan pay victims directly and by-pass the South Korean government? As per above, many have come to Japan directly to demand compensation. There is zero reason they could not have been paid, and that would have clued the others to come get their pay. There is no more stopping Japan compensation victims directly than there was stopping them from abducting and gang raping them in the first place.

Since 2005 there have been demands for compensation placed on the South Korean government. But of course, there could not have been any earlier since both governments keep it a secret. I should think both governments are still liable for the payments PLUS liable for even more given the scam to deny them. If the women wind up getting paid twice, I should think that is totally fair. If Japan pays twice, I should think that is totally fair. But I say again, no mention of the sex slaves was in the 1965 agreement. Japan never paid for them.

And in the analogy, the daughters are not minors. They are full grown adults. Your government has no right to take your compensation money like a parent has to take from minor children anyway. That is ridiculous. They also have no right to sign away your right to compensation in secret agreements, but they did that too. The actions of both governments are completely, totally, and in all other ways unacceptable, heinous and dastardly. No one in any legal profession would back that up unless they were completely biased by nationalism.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I find nothing to "love" about a testimony given by an elderly lady on events that happened nearly 80 years ago when she was a child and was so brutally violated and traumatised that she has almost certainly blocked aspects of it from her memory just to enable her to survive the rest of her life.

I use "love" in a sarcastic sense.

I make no final decision on the authenticity of the story. I just point out coldly how useless such testimony is at court, at least if it is being run properly.

Yes, the sympathetic gang would try the whole "brutally traumatized so she blocked it" shtick. However, it is also a very convenient shtick to avoid having to give details that might be proven wrong or self-contradictory. I don't see you trying to debate that.

Meanwhile, as I just said above, and many others have pointed out, more and more Japanese soldiers are backing up their stories, and mass-fabrication across other countries and cultures just isnt conceivable.

It is true that a certain number of soldiers have floated up admitting such (really, I don't understand what's wrong with these people ... if I did something like that and wasn't caught I'll be burying it at the bottom of my heart for the rest of my life, both for myself and country... this isn't even whistleblowing because the whole organization that needs to be whistleblown is dead)

But as far as their usefulness in court is concerned, it is pretty useless. The woman will have to prove, with preponderance of evidence, that she was indeed abducted, indeed by Japanese soldiers, indeed forced to have sex and so on. The kind of stuff you (and most of their supporters) put up only at best demonstrates such things are going on. In a sense, it is like a women trying to prove she was raped by a particular man by holding up newspaper articles of a random rape incident (thus proving rape does exist in our world).

I suspect there is not much physical evidence left one way or the other after so many years, and combined with "hazy on the details and timing of her ordeal" testimonies there simply cannot be credible preponderance of evidence. So a court will be forced to either be true to due process of law (to the displeasure of many) or just handing a guilty verdict anyway (thus making a joke of the whole due process concept).

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

if I did something like that and wasn't caught I'll be burying it at the bottom of my heart for the rest of my life, both for myself and country.

no honor in that, the honor is in be truthful, even a Japanese patriot could see that. A nation built on lies and denial is morally weak. You want a strong country? Be open and honest and then you can gain international trust, even with your former enemies. Witness Germany with great EU allies Vs Japan which has no immediate allies in the region. But still Japan can see what is obvious as it's growing nose.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Whoever is bothering to futily fight for either side of this argument and effectively continue the cycle of negative emotion and controversy deserves all the frustration and time loss that they receive in the process. It's criminal what you guys are doing. This has been resolved and subsequently unraveled so many times. 70 years people, 70 years.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This has been resolved

Obviously not! There is an incomplete process that Japan has no moral fiber to complete, unlike Germany. Ask yourself why is this issue still burning for Japan but not for Germany? Japan saw itself as a dominating Asian power second to no one until it lost the war but Japan continued to see itself as superior to it's former colonies and consequently was unable to bare it's soul and build friendships. Test it yourself, ask a young Japanese person what they know about the issue? Answer wil be a vague, Japan did some bad things before it suffered an atomic bombing that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese and the Chinese lie about how bad it was.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Why would I bother asking a young Japanese person when all the xenophobic people who are stuck in the past are their elders, from either country? The young Japanese are too busy living in the present- as they should be- going on foreign exchanges to these places and actually making friends and building international connections to care about the old peanut gallery that lurks ancient news articles online like this.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Actually more young Japanese have negative views about their neighbors than in the past.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

...And where did you get such a vague statement? Please tell me, I really want to know

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What Tokiyo said. Both the exhausted pseudo-activists and blind hyper-nationalists just need to wake up and live for the current generation. And no, I'm not talking about any actual victims of slavery. They aren't the problem. I'm saying all of these people who weren't even involved or even aware of the events at the time that are stubbornly keeping this "issue" alive between the countries with constant attacking political comments, denials, accusations, 70 years later are responsible for all the international damage that can /may /has come from this.

Yeah, do not mistake those elder people that have the immature inability to move on (without dragging down everyone with them into the argument) with the youth of today actually taking it personally. They have better things to do with their time...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What Tokiyo said. Both the exhausted pseudo-activists and blind hyper-nationalists just need to wake up and live for the current generation. And no, I'm not talking about any actual victims of slavery. They aren't the problem. I'm saying all of these people who weren't even involved or even aware of the events at the time that are stubbornly keeping this "issue" alive between the countries with constant attacking political comments, denials, accusations, 70 years later are responsible for all the international damage that can /may /has come from this.

Yeah, do not mistake those elder people that have the immature inability to move on (without dragging down everyone with them into the argument) with the youth of today actually taking it personally. They have better things to do with their time...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kazuaki: "really, I don't understand what's wrong with these people ... if I did something like that and wasn't caught I'll be burying it at the bottom of my heart for the rest of my life, "

Well, I've got to be honest, that's a pretty selfish and horrible attitude. Perhaps 'these people', who are reaching the end of their lives, want to atone for their sins before they die, and make what reparations they can. Perhaps they realize that we are all human, and what they did to their fellow human beings was atrocious, and want to apologize. I see nothing but honor in that -- they are not going to be punished, but instead are respected and welcomed by those he or she confesses to. Only a coward wants to hide their secrets until they die or those they offended are dead.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

...And where did you get such a vague statement? Please tell me, I really want to know

It's called research. Try looking for information for yourself.

http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/08/05/asias-view-of-china-mostly-wary-but-japan-most-of-all/

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What is amazing to me is that Abe/Taro/Hashimoto/Ishihara can all get away with denial and defense of these shames and nobody ask for their resignation and there is zero accountability. Can you imagine if a Euro leader denied nazi attrocities what the world would say? For me, its a kind of racism...that is the reasoning that "those sweet little Japanese are not capable of such an act..or they were just victims of the superior whites who brainwashed them" Its like Japan is their pet, or inferior peoples that can be excused and whites are to be held to a higher standard because they are superior.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kazuaki: "really, I don't understand what's wrong with these people ... if I did something like that and wasn't caught I'll be burying it at the bottom of my heart for the rest of my life, "

I imagine there are quite a few Japanese people thinking the same thing. Unfortunately.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

comfort women during war crime existed --> admit it and be sincerely and wholeheartedly apologetic about it --> pay compensation if you had too --> move on.....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Using the term "comfort women" to describe sex slaves is beyond deplorable: the only thing imaginable that could be worse than committing such inhumane sex crimes would be doing so, then calling the victims a psychotic term such as 'comfort women'... comfort for who not the surviving victims, not the ones that were beaten or staved to death? Not the families or the people... is it comfort for the rapists to ease their sick nature or is it for the nation from which they came to ease their shame?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Mike45 Oct. 01, 2013 - 11:36AM JST What is amazing to me is that Abe/Taro/Hashimoto/Ishihara can all get away with denial and defense of these shames and nobody ask for their resignation and there is zero accountability.

Japan settled the issue with Korea in 1965. But a treaty is a treaty. Japan had no control over who was head of Korea’s government nor the form of government at the time of the treaty of 1965. Japan made reparations in good faith to the Korean government instead of to individuals because that’s the way the Korean government wanted it. The Korean government was supposed to pay our individual reparations. It was not Japan’s fault that Park Chung-hee used the money for infrastructure instead. Many Koreans for years didn’t even know that Japan paid reparations.

Now isn’t that interesting? Once it became South Korea’s responsibilty to compensate any losses due to Japan’s colonial rule miraculously any losses had already been compensated. And ever since early 2000's Korea has been trying to find ways to pass their financial responsibility back to Japan. If Korea had agreed back in 1965 for Japan to handle individual compensation, as Japan had first suggested, Japan would have immediately publicized, and given claimants a deadline by which to submit claims with substantiating evidence. Japan would have honored the claim. But based on the Treaty it was up to the South Korean government to set up these measures. It didn’t happen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sadly, efforts to rewrite history and label these women as 'highly paid prostitutes who enjoyed luxury lifestyles' is far too prevalent.

Many would say Youtube comments aren't an accurate gauge of the world's opinion, but it is telling that if you search for 'comfort women', you'll find that comments which claim they were paid, voluntary prostitutes get hundreds of likes, and videos by the likes of "GloriousJapanForever" (sounds like they would be objective in matters involving Japan) and "PropagandaBuster" (an American senior citizen who has won legions of fans in Japan for spouting Japanese ultranationalist views) get hundreds of thousands of views and comments that agree with them.

And when the Korean president says that Japan has not fully reconciled for past atrocities (using denial of wrongdoing in sexual slavery by politicians as an example), people point the finger of blame at Koreans and accuse them of being whingers..

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Mitch Cohen Oct. 02, 2013 - 06:37AM JST And when the Korean president says that Japan has not fully reconciled for past atrocities (using denial of wrongdoing in sexual slavery by politicians as an example), people point the finger of blame at Koreans and accuse them of being whingers..

Then why did Korean goverment agreed to treaty in 1965? The 1965 Japan and South Korea's official documents of the treaty, Park Chung-hee administration actually agreed never to make further compensation demands against Japan, either at a government or individual level, after receiving U.S. $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan as compensation for its 1910-45 colonial rule. It's true that the South Korean government did not take sufficient interests in its people such as comfort women who actually suffered from the colonial times, but that was the responsibility of their own goverment.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@sfjp330 - I agree with you.

Monetary compensation was settled in 1965.

However, there is a lack of open acknowledgment from the Japanese government, as evidenced by politicians at various levels of Japanese government all the way up to the PM himself denying or questions the legitimacy of claims made by comfort women, as well as Japanese activists who attempt to influence the world's opinion with their so-called evidence that these women happily volunteered to prostitutes themselves to Japanese soldiers, while many of them were as young as 14.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Mitch Cohen

It can be argued that it is strongly implied in the treaty since it covers conscripted labor (of any kind) , and there is such a thing as a statute of limitation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@sfjp330 - Again, I agree with you.

I don't believe in further monetary compensation and I don't think these few survivors now approaching 90 years of age are asking for money. If anyone is asking for money, it should come from the Korean government.

However Japan, having paid their compensation, could have done a lot more to achieve open acknowledgement of their past in a way that does not insult victims in the way that the likes of Abe/ Hashimoto/ Ishihara have done.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

She is a liar. She said in this speech, "I was taken by Japanese during the Korean war" LOL!!! What did you say? I could not believe what she said. Makes no sense. It is a make up story as obvious, unless she had had a time machine. These women's statements that were interviewed by Mr. Ahn byung jik PHD at Seoul University and his team did research for the case as well as many interviews for ex comfort women were held but they could not find any single indications which identified those women's claims as a forceful abduction case, but they were hired at a kisaeng (Brothel) owned by Korean civilians. But I still feel my sympathy and remaining a moral issue for Japan and the world. This issue and wars were the problem of the world in those days.

Many media give a wrong impression. The fact is that Japan has never dined that Japan used brothels till 1945, but Japan has always dined forceful abductions except a sad case in Indonesia that Mr. Kono did not specify in his speech. In Japan and Korea's tacit agreement, Kono intentionally did not say Indonesia to save the honor of these Korean women who were standing up then. The both governments were not interested in putting them in the spot light as liars.

I am pretty sure that they have been also used by the some innocent supporters also the people intentionally produce a deception. In 1991 Aug.14th, Kim gaku jyun. I remember her because she was on the 9 o'clock NHK news then.She was the first comfort woman came forward. She was not a slave. She was saying that she was sold just for 40 yen by her parents and she got a lot of sympathy by Japaneses then. But today, she was supposed to be kidnapped by Japan! I know she did not say it but some people fabricated her story. After that, Japan did a lot of researches as the accumulated paper documents were as high as 6 feet. We found the case in Indonesia. Mr. Ahn byung jik PHD also appeared on KBS TV and he dined the abduction case but that was a prostitution case. Korea knew how the both nations tried to resolve the issue. Korea said, no more issue for this from Korea if they could get today as known as the Kono speech.

However, some reason, Korea used the speech for lobbying. This deception makes the issue of today. I have a strong sympathy for these women, some of them were sold by their parents! But because of this background situation. I strongly feel that Japan must not apologize any more for the sake of next generations.Also produces a wrong idea to the world then, this wrong accusation will be the history.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Mitch Cohen

"while many of them were as young as 14" Please give us your convincing evidence for this.

As Chamkun said, Korean professor studied and found that the testimonies of these Korean ex-comfort women were not credible to support the claim of coercing by Japanese army, and they were exploited by the anti-Japan group for their propaganda. Actually, these women had a chance to start their new life when the Asian Womens Fund was established. But they were prevented by this group to receive the money, and the women received the money were criiticized as unpatriotic in Korea including Korean media. This professor was severely criticized just the same way in Korea. They never admit different views.

It is them, this group and Korean media, to be blamed to a great extent for that these women are still unhappy attracting all the attention of the world in this issue, unless it is not their hope in the first place. Yes, I am sorry for them because they would be exploited for anti-Japan campaigns till they die.

@Chamkun

Korean media cleverly changed the sentence from "Korean war" to "the period of Japanese ruling" in Korean language on the web, although it is too late. This is another evidence that they know the words of the ex-comfort women are not credible enough.

This is the same woman who cancelled the meeting with Hashimoto abruptly right before the appointment. Why?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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