national

6 former 'comfort women' demand apology from Japan

140 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

140 Comments
Login to comment

And so the white washing and revisionism continues.

-1 ( +13 / -15 )

Enough already.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

I mean, these women should be satisfied, and I hope Abe's statement (which will commemorate the 70 year anniversary of the end of WWII) next year does that.

However, I think we also should remember that the Japanese government has tried to satisfy these women, and apologized several times. The Kono Statement and the Asian Woman's Fund are great examples of ways Japan has tried to make amends. Hopefully, it will continue.

I also think, though, there needs to be a acknowledgement that Imperial Japan is not post-war Japan, and the current Japanese state had no involvement in this.

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

And so the AFP's slant continues ... misrepresenting the facts as usual. It become awfully tiresome.

Now we go from "respected historians" to "many researchers".

In reality, it was one man, Yoshimi Yoshiaki and only his high estimate. Despite working with a team over two decades and all the political activism, they have not still not delivered the evidence.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

They have apologized multiple times. However Japans version of an apology ("Im sorry") and these womans version of an apology (¥¥¥) are very different. Its the same story, every year or so.I feel sorry that they went through those traumas, but how many times are they going to keep saying they want and apology, then refuse to accept it, when an apology is offered.

-3 ( +12 / -14 )

How many times have they apologized again? It was horrible but please move on.

2 ( +16 / -13 )

Japan and S Korea signed a normalization treaty that says ALL issues from the war have been handled. The end. Then the next year, the "comfort women" issue surfaced - or was made to surface. Since government involvement was prevented by the treaty, a private fund was organized by the government. 200,000 and no records? No parents complaining? There is now a vast record of confessions by WWII Japanese soldiers about what they did (you can see lots on YouTube, for example 731), so there must be some confessions about forced prostitution. Find them.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

How does that Disney song go? "Let it go ..."

0 ( +9 / -9 )

If JPN Govt offers money, they will refuse again and they will demand entire Japanese people apology.

-4 ( +7 / -10 )

@CajunH2O The point is not 'How many times have they apologized ' but 'How to make a sincere apology even once'.

Apologies are usually poorly received due to the huge gap that separates our sincerely felt emotions from the watered-down version which actually deliver.

Just use a simple, straightforward sentence 'I'm sorry', and do not add terms like 'but' or 'review'. That's it.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Whatever else Japan was, it was imperial and so the Japanese government is going to have to continue to expect to maintain responsibility in the neighborhood. Real dialogue is important here. I don't mean political conversation. I mean dialogue events sponsored by conflict resolution professionals. I don't see that people are hearing each other at this point.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Apologizing for sth you didnt do is hard enough. being asked repeatedly to do that will only make the apology less and less sincere to those who demand that.... -.-"What do these ppl want?!

-1 ( +10 / -10 )

@ shallots, I completely agree with you.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The Japanese government should go on the offensive and simply apologize (again) at the UN or some other internationally publicized setting. That would ensure the world is aware of Japan's apology and make it difficult for anyone to demand more apologies in the future..

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Do they want Japan to start another Asian Women's Fund because these women didn't want to accept the last apologies and compensation?

Or could it be that they wanted more money and wanted to hold out till they got some. Even the grandchildren are getting into the act.

avigatorJun. 01, 2014 - 08:22AM JST I think the whole problem goes back to the days of the Samurai

Now, someone wants to blame Samurai's?

Okay, here's a question for you, after WWII South Korea set-up Comfort Women stations for UN forces, who do you blame for those?

The six former comfort women attending the meeting—from South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia and the daughter of another from China—also called on the Japanese government to provide compensation to the former sexual slaves.

It's always about the money.

I'll ask it again, why didn't they accept the apology and compensation that the Japanese government started in 1995?

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Humankind has a great capacity for evil so while It is important to remind humankind of this, it is continued education on how to prevent crimes against humanity. The current government is sending mixed messages about this so this is most likely is the reason these women continue to ask for an "apology".

Rather than continue to focus on requesting more "apologies" I feel the efforts would be better directed on educating the youth of Japan and teachers. Many kids that I talk too do not know much about Ann Frank story which is related to the similar principles - human rights. When they do they seem to understand well.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

An excerpt from the Kono statement:

We shall face squarely the historical facts as described above instead of evading them, and take them to heart as lessons of history.

Clearly Japan is not doing this, which undermines this except:

The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.

The day the Diet officializes the Kono statement, with no attempts to whitewash it, is that day I also suggest people stop asking Japan to apologize. But that day sure does not seem to be coming.

Some say there were cases of unforced prostitution.

Of course that is true. Its those cases that should be called comfort women. The problem is not comfort women. Its the sex slaves, and there were many sex slaves, kidnapped, tricked by telling them they would just be doing minor nursing duties, bought from their parents or brokers (which is dead wrong and still rape and slavery in case the misogynists get confused.) and then gang raped and given bare essentials for life so they could be gang raped again.

But I am just being honest. Most people who say there were also cases of legit prostitution are just trying to obfuscate. I sincerely wish everyone would figure out the difference between a comfort woman and a sex slave. It would further this discussion greatly.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I have a comprise solution for Japan versus, Korea, China, ... Demolish the atomic bomb museums and forget Japan was ever bombed, and other countries in the region will forget your crimes. Stop crying over the atomic bomb victims and holding memorials for the two cities. We are tired of that already.... How does that work for you, Japan?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The Kono Statement has been the only official Japanese apology issued and to say that there have been so many is to be dishonest. Yes there have been a few, usually under duress and trying to undo damage by prior statements to the contrary, who made mention of the suffering these women faced but issued an official apology, no. If you disagree then please do us all a favor and provide parties names, the apology and a date so we may verify it. If one issues an apology then that party invalidates it if they later mention it's validity, question it's content or make any comments that might conflict with said apology and this is just plain common sense. Not only do such actions cancel-out the apology but you add further insult and pain onto the victims.

One simple rule to follow is NEVER make an apology unless it's sincere. One need NOT accept ANY apology if there is ANY question to it's sincerity and in Japan's case, well, the government has broken this rule! Saying sorry means nothing, feeling sorry and atoning for one's mistakes is what the victims expect and they deserve nothing less.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

SalusJUN. 01, 2014 - 09:34AM JST Apologizing for sth you didnt do is hard enough. being asked repeatedly to do that will only make the apology less and less sincere to those who demand that.... -.-"What do these ppl want?!

Yes, 'what' indeed? And let's not make assumptions just because we don't understand the full story.

Remember these are very old ladies here just like our grandmas - and we know many of them, perhaps not all, but many of them, at very young age were systematically raped on a daily basis for years.

Consider for a moment that their motivation at such a frail age (88!!) to travel to other countries to make speeches if front of TV cameras and thousands of people is not for money (that they will never use) or to beat Japan over the head with their demands for apologies. These are heartfelt pleas to not let them die without an open, direct acknowledgement and expression of regret and remorse by the now representatives of the people that did this to them.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

How about both sides are right? It was a horrible thing the Japanese army did but while it was horrible it is also being milked.

I think forced prostitution is just one of the many horrible things an invading or liberating force does.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@igloobuyer, the customers of these prostitutes are all dead. How can they apologize to them?

The politicians and leaders of the nation whose military their Korean owners and brothel keepers hired them out to have apologized to them officially and sincerely on numerous, and paid and offered various compensations.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Mister Ed

That not true, Mr Perfect. There have been many apologies, including individuals one to each comfort women.

My quote,

The Kono Statement has been the only official Japanese apology issued.

Please list a single OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT APOLOGY and by whom and a date so we can verify it. Remarks made by this person or that person is not the same as an apology issued on behalf of the Japanese government to the victims.

Please list.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If the govt apologizes, but then cockroaches like Abe undo the good will by pressuring NHK to censor a program on war responsibility, worship at Yasukuni and pretend it is nothing more than paying respect when zyushukan exists to gloify imperialism, well then the apology counts for very little. Nationalists with nostalgia for the old days undo the good deeds of Murayama and Kono. And progressive Japanese are with the victims. That is why the same Japanese who condemn the murder of the US carpet bombings of Tokyo and Desden and the nuclear holocaust in Hiroshima and Nagasaki also condemn the fascists and their desendants in the form of the LDP. As is welll known, US anti communists put the war criminals and their ilk back in power after a short period, and the LDP used Yakuza to battle students and progressives who opposed the security treaty. Being consistent is what it is all about. Peace and justice.

-3 ( +4 / -8 )

Mr. PerfectJun. 01, 2014 - 11:18AM JST My quote, The Kono Statement has been the only official Japanese apology issued.

Mr. Perfect you are being imperfect with your lack of understanding of the real issues at hand and the facts.

Question, how many apologies does it take to say you are sorry? One, two, ten fifty or a thousand?

In these cases it would take 100,000,000,000 Yen. Show me the money!

Mr. PerfectJun. 01, 2014 - 11:18AM JST Please list a single OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT APOLOGY and by whom and a date so we can verify it. Remarks made by this person or that person is not the same as an apology issued on behalf of the Japanese government to the victims. Please list.

We have on more than one occasion provided your types with those lists. If you did a bit of research you would have discovered that Japan has made many apologies and by many different people.

To save time and trouble I will list a good place for you to start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

http://www.the-american-interest.com/blog/2014/04/11/japan-apologizes-to-philippines-for-wwii-atrocities/

https://www.chinapost.com.tw/editorial/taiwan-issues/2014/02/20/400941/PM-Abe.htm

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/04/09/1310639/japan-ambassador-apologizes-wwii-atrocities

This is issue isn't about Japan apologizing or not, this issue is about getting leverage over Japan.

Communist China wants Japan to kowtow before it and give up it's territories to it.

South Korea wants Japan to pay the compensation South Korea agreed to pay when they signed the 1965 treaty. In other words South Korea reneged on the treaty and now wants to force Japan to pay pay and pay some more.

It's always about money.

-2 ( +7 / -8 )

Its already been 70 years, my grandma seen the war, but not all japanese empirial army are sexual abusive, but my grandma tells me that a japanese men give them food, and be friends with them but only a few empirial army, offcourse, that day is war, and they have orders but some of them are not approved that they should make the filipino as slaves, few of them secretly help, and orders are orders if some of them not obey, they will be punished,

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It has to be an apology from the entire Diet, not just a Prime Minister or governing party. Otherwise, it is not a full and unequivocal expression of remorse by the government. That would end the controversy and begin the healing process, not just the comfort women, but for Japan and its international reputation as well. Japan could take many similar statements to draw on as examples, such as one from Canada:

In September 1988, the Government of Canada formally apologized in the House of Commons and offered compensation for wrongful incarceration, seizure of property and the disenfranchisement of Japanese Canadians during WW II.

"I know that I speak for Members on all sides of the House today in offering to Japanese Canadians the formal and sincere apology of this Parliament for those past injustices against them, against their families, and against their heritage, and our solemn commitment and undertaking to Canadians of every origin that such violations will never again in this country be countenanced or repeated."

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's remarks to the House of Commons, September 22, 1988

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Why are right wingers offended and threatened by these strong Halmonies?

They absolutely have NOTHING to do with the current frosty relationship between the Japanese and Korean governments.

They are victims and deserve to have their grievances heard.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Mr. Ed

The politicians and leaders of the nation whose military their Korean owners and brothel keepers hired them out to have apologized to them officially and sincerely on numerous, and paid and offered various compensations.

Sincerely, really? Numerous, really? And they are just looking to be paid off, really? If Abe and the Japanese Government, not to mention the countless minion that spout off whatever indoctrinated propaganda they profess to be truth, were really indeed empathetic to the women who suffered and they actually supported apologies to the victims, not just recognition of an injustice, then why is it that the right wing in Japan continue to demand retraction of the Kono statement and countless reviews to the validity of the testimony of the victims. Why do they continue to refer to the victims as comfort women instead what they actually were, sexual slaves for sole use by the Japanese Imperial Army. These women are not looking for compensation, they are looking for recognition and justice which neither was ever afforded them. Do you think these women simply returned home, which it is suspected that only 1/3 actually did as the others died of various disease do to rapes as they received little to no medical treatment or were simple killed so as not to leave any witness behind, went back home and went on with their merry little lives? do you really? These women went through hell and beyond and what survivors there were, few of which have no children of their own due to their inability to reproduce as consequence to their servitude or couldn't find husbands because of the baggage these women had to be burdened with simply want to get some money? What you suggest is a much bigger insult and of far greater consequence to the dignity of these women than the people who refuse to accept the situation actually ever happened at all. You people who share the view that these women are just out for a quick buck and could care less about the apology should be ashamed and seem to have NO idea to the nightmares these women had and continue to live through by the stupidity that keeps those vile memories alive. It would be far better to be silent then to disparage these poor old ladies even more.

But you might be right that they could care less about the apologies though. I would spit at the person who apologizes to me then turns around and dishes on it soon afterward and questions my integrity and shames me a second time. I might just do more than spit at them!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The deniers of the Comfort Women don't usually stop there, and take issue with a wide range of historical events with the more serious like the rightwing group, "Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact" seeking to make a revisionism of the whole history of the Pacific War.

-The Pacific War, for this event, the main point is to show that the responsibility for the war was not Japan's, but America's

-Nanjing Massacre is a fabrication of the Chinese government

-no women were forced into sexual slavery as "comfort women" for Japan's troops in the 1930s and 1940s

-the violent subjugation of the Korean peninsula was in the best interests of the local population.

-the Unit 531 never existed

-the POW's were mainly guarded by Korean troops and not Japanese. It was they who tortured and murdered the troops.

-The Rape of Manila never happened.

and on and on....

1 ( +9 / -8 )

The situation calls for a statement of apology from the full membership of the Diet, with government funds for compensation. Then the case would be closed and everyone could move on. It's only because this hasn't happened yet that this issue continues to linger and cause a great disturbance in the Force.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@ Yuro Otani China, Korea, Singapore and other countries does not want JPN to forget about the crimes they committed. Ok I can understand this because I don't see any difference in JPN not wanting the US to forget about dropping atomic bombs on JPN. You fight fire with fire JPN attack Pearl Harbor and they paid a price and you say your ancestors done no wrong ok neither did mine so why should American be reminded about dropping the Atomoic Bomb. Now if you are willing to agree yes our countries benefited for what crimes they committed during that time then I can agree but if you are saying you or your country didn't benefit a thing then why should Anyone else let go of what they Feel?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

SmithinJapan, you of all people have not right to talk about high horses. Has your country admitted to its past? Aren't you the one on here always attacking Japan about its wartime past while your country never admits to anything at all? Has your or my country ever admitted to its own atrocities that it has committed and been forthright with an apology? SHOW ME WHEN, WHERE AND WHO, PLEASE!!! YOU and I have no right to shake our fingers at Japan while our countries do not address their own faults at all. I don't know what japan you live in, but I know many Japanese who feel bad about the past and who are also tired of hearing this same old song and are losing patience with a billegerent neighbour that they have already apologised to over and over again. Would you like me to list again the apologies?

And nobody said that they were all willing prostitutes, but what is sad is that there is not that much evidence to support either side on this issue. If you think that some of them were not willing prostitutes than you are living in denial. Many Japanese women were willing participants in it as well. Fact is Korean women could make money at the time feed their families. Many men voluntary joined the Japanese Military to get a better life. Heck, President Park's own father did so himself. What was his Japanese name that he took for himself? He himself adopted? Oh, yeah. Takagi Masao (高木正雄). Some were forced and some not. Both sides have provided little information to support their sides. Only the survivors tell their stories and we believe it.

I find it hideous that people like you come over here and have such a strong hatred for this country and point your hypocritical finger at them, when in fact your country nor mine has apologised for what we did in other countries. Get your own country to admit things. I am sure that it is loaded with it. And i am sure you will get into a lot of trouble among your own people for spouting the same things that you hurl at the Japanese.

@Zichi - I want to make one thing clear. I am not denying that the comfort women issue happened at all. But how much was forced and how much was not is not something that can be verified. However I do love your post. It is sad but true. There are those who can not accept any responsibility. And that is very sad. But there are others who just run around point the fingers and spreading hate while their countries run around and never are repentant for their own countries violent and ugly past.

-

The Pacific War, for this event, the main point is to show that the responsibility for the war was not Japan's, but America's

-Nanjing Massacre is a fabrication of the Chinese government

-no women were forced into sexual slavery as "comfort women" for Japan's troops in the 1930s and 1940s

-the violent subjugation of the Korean peninsula was in the best interests of the local population.

-the Unit 531 never existed

-the POW's were mainly guarded by Korean troops and not Japanese. It was they who tortured and murdered the troops.

-The Rape of Manila never happened.

and on and on....

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Readers, please stop bickering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A statement of apology by a Prime Minister is only a personal statement or one on behalf of his party. Although there have been many of these issued related to the comfort women, as listed on the Wikipedia page some have referred to above, there has NEVER been an apology from the ENTIRE Diet of Japan on the comfort women issue specifically, and therefore NO apology from the Government (with a capital "G") of Japan. I'm sorry for being pedantic, but when it comes to parliamentary procedure, these distinctions are important. An apology from just a PM, however sincere, is only his own, not the country's.

1 ( +5 / -5 )

@Mister Ed,

What this government could do is make a memorial with the Emperors comissioning to the Comfort Women. It would be sanctioned by the state. They could put it somewhere in Tokyo. It would formally recongnize that attrocity, and show Japans true remorse.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Sandieglove: "SmithinJapan, you of all people have not right to talk about high horses. Has your country admitted to its past?"

Yes it has. That was just proven with a quotation from Brian Mulroney on yesterday's thread, so that's that.

"I find it hideous that people like you come over here and have such a strong hatred for this country and point your hypocritical finger at them, when in fact your country nor mine has apologised for what we did in other countries."

First, I don't hate this country one bit -- in fact I love it and that is why I stay. What I hate is people in complete denial of the past. Both my country and yours have apologized, in fact, for past atrocities, but the difference is one was sincere and recognized by the entire government, while the other was an individual that apology that people here continue to deny, and even you admit there are those who deny it. So no, I do not hate this country -- it's the people in denial who hate it, because you cannot possibly love something you consistently invite threats and pain upon.

"And nobody said that they were all willing prostitutes,"

Ossan and others have, and in fact say it's still a major problem today.

"There are those who can not accept any responsibility. And that is very sad. But..."

Glad you can admit it. It's the 'but' that kind of undermines everything, though. These women are soon going to die, and that is indeed what the government is waiting for. When there are less voices who can ACTUALLY prove what happened, it'll be easier for 'historians' who were never there to make stuff up that nationalists and admitted revisionists can 'add' to history texts.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Diet members are fully aware of the legal and political difference between a PM's personal apology and one issued by the entire Diet, and are not incapable of issuing the latter:

June 9, 1995: House of Representatives, National Diet of Japan passed a resolution stating: "On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, this House offers its sincere condolences to those who fell in action and victims of wars and similar actions all over the world. Solemnly reflecting upon many instances of colonial rule and acts of aggression in the modern history of the world, and recognizing that Japan carried out those acts in the past, inflicting pain and suffering upon the peoples of other countries, especially in Asia, the Members of this House express a sense of deep remorse"

This is taken from the Wikipedia list of apologies. It is an example of a fully-endorsed Government of Japan statement in the true sense of the meaning. None like this has ever been issued to the comfort women, and that is why they and their supporters continue to pressure Japan. Those women want one. They deserve one for their suffering. And it has nothing to do with money or "leverage" (whatever that means). Mr. Abe likes to walk tall. He should man up and get the Diet to rally behind a proper apology. Show some true courage and reap the respect he would earn for doing so. He would be a much more formidable leader for it.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

yyj72

A statement of apology by a Prime Minister is only a personal statement or one on behalf of his party. Although there have been many of these issued related to the comfort women, as listed on the Wikipedia page some have referred to above, there has NEVER been an apology from the ENTIRE Diet of Japan on the comfort women issue specifically, and therefore NO apology from the Government (with a capital "G") of Japan. I'm sorry for being pedantic, but when it comes to parliamentary procedure, these distinctions are important. An apology from just a PM, however sincere, is only his own, not the country's.

Couldn't be explained better than this.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

yyj72: Extremely well put, but I'm afraid Abe would never do it. Why would a man who takes out any reference to sex-slaves from textbooks want to rally the diet to apologize for Japan's wrong-doings against these women? It would absolutely make him a formidable leader, but alas, he's shown already he's not that at all through his revisions and attempts to rewrite and 'review' history.

0 ( +6 / -8 )

I have felt sorry for these former comfort women but when they keep accusing current Japanese govt who did neither created nor used such system, differently, I don;t feel sorry anymore. I feel they will accuse entire Japanese from now on after they exhausted targets to blame. I will shift my sympathy to family of Japan's war dead soldiers from now on.

-3 ( +1 / -3 )

The fact that there are still people questioning that women did it voluntarily or this matter has been blown up to be bigger than what it is leaves room for a sincere apology. These women had there dignity taken away from them, by offering money as compensation is not necessarily a way of restoring their dignity. Accepting payment could also be viewed as 'shut up and move on' money, they are 88 yrs or older they dont want money.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Playing Devil's Advocate here, where is the proof that all 'comfort women' were forced? There are the testimonies of the women, yes, but like prostitutes in Europe under German and later allied occupation how many actually saw a chance to make a little money and then later claim they were sex slaves? I'm not denying there were sex slaves, but we should also accept that there had to be a number of willing prostitutes too. As I said, trying to look at this from both sides. Prostitution and war have always gone hand in hand.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope all parties can comes together and the Japanese government to make a formal apology and all can move on. Can someone guarantee this issue is dead and burry after the Japanese government make a formal apology?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@thunderbird - some women refused cash because because it didnt come from the government. If you were wanted to make some money why would it matter where it came from?it doesnt appear that these women are motivated by money at their of 88 yrs old..

1 ( +3 / -2 )

China is obviously behind this, as always. If the women need an apology, they should ask if from those who were actually not involved, not young Japanese boys in elementary school who have never heard of such things!

And let Mao Zedong apologize to the Chinese for the millions of his own people he had put to death, and the untold number of women he raped!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Thunderbird: "I'm not denying there were sex slaves, but we should also accept that there had to be a number of willing prostitutes too. As I said, trying to look at this from both sides. Prostitution and war have always gone hand in hand."

Actually, you're not looking at it from both sides at all with the last sentence of your post. You're dismissing the very real suffering of women who were forced into prostitution, gang-raped daily, forced to have abortions (or else be killed) if they became pregnant, when you undermine it by saying that SOME might have been prostitutes. Where's your outrage for those who were not?

-2 ( +5 / -6 )

First of all, I am American, not Japanese. I have been here many years and have been on both sides of the aisle on this issue. I am not a Japanophile and I have many post that have shown be bashing Japan, but I don't see that with you. It is just a constant bashing session.

Now, you are to take one apology from a former president. Well that has been done by us in America as well. But aside from that apologies for past wrongs have not been given by yours or mine. How about the millions of Native Americans how were purposefully killed by smallpox infested blankets that wiped out 95 % of the First Nation population? Has that been addressed?

http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/our-home-on-native-land

Anyway, my point is that neither you nor I are in a position to point the finger at the Japanese and say anything at all because we have not righted so many wrongs that we have committed.

I am happy to see that you do love this place and believe that in order to be a good citizen one must be honest. I am always trying to do that with my fellow Americans as well and am always saying the same thing. I don't know which Japan you live in, but many Japanese have told me that they know that Japan was wrong in the past. Yes, there are people who are going to act foolish and deny that anything has happened. But that is going to happen forever and in every country. It is just a fact. Your president may have apologised but I assure you that there were many dissenting voices to that at the time. Furthermore, you really need to take a look at the list of apologises that have been given by past leaders of Japan. Yes, some of them were iffy. But many of them were very heartfelt. Especially by the late Prime Minister Miyazawa;

January 1, 1992: Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, in a press conference, said: "Concerning the comfort women, I apologize from the bottom of my heart and feel remorse for those people who suffered indescribable hardships". January 16, 1992: Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, in a speech at dinner with President Roh Tae Woo, said: "We the Japanese people, first and foremost, have to bear in our mind the fact that your people experienced unbearable suffering and sorrow during a certain period in the past because of our nation's act, and never forget the feeling of remorse. I, as a prime minister, would like to once again express a heartfelt remorse and apology to the people of your nation". January 17, 1992: Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, at a policy speech on a visit to South Korea, said:. "What we should not forget about relationship between our nation and your nation is a fact that there was a certain period in the thousands of years of our company when we were the victimizer and you were the victim. I would like to once again express a heartfelt remorse and apology for the unbearable suffering and sorrow that you experienced during this period because of our nation's act." Recently the issue of the so-called 'wartime comfort women' is being brought up. I think that incidents like this are seriously heartbreaking, and I am truly sorry".

Now those are heartfelt apologies. Yes many idiots came along and denied those apologies but those people exist everywhere and always will.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Red Dragon

China is obviously behind this, as always. If the women need an apology, they should ask if from those who were actually not involved, not young Japanese boys in elementary school who have never heard of such things!

No one is asking young elementary school girl but a major part of the problem is the lack of education on what actually happened during the Pacific War so we have generations and generations who don't know their historical past.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

sandieglove: " I have been here many years and have been on both sides of the aisle on this issue."

You have said this three times now -- almost a mantra to promote confidence -- and yet it shows you have not at all been on both sides of the issue as long as you are willing to suggest these women are wrong in going what they are doing.

"It is just a constant bashing session."

If calling a spade a spade is bashing, then perhaps I am, but there's a bit of a paradox in that, no?

"Now, you are to take one apology from a former president."

Canada has Prime Ministers, not Presidents, and as stated the apology was approved by the ENTIRE government, not just the PM, as with the apology to Japanese people interred in camps after the Empire ruthlessly attacked Pearl Harbor (I'm guessing your not against the internment being remembered).

"How about the millions of Native Americans how were purposefully killed by smallpox infested blankets that wiped out 95 % of the First Nation population? Has that been addressed?"

Again, yes it has. And again, ummmm... China and Korea needs to forget about 70 years ago but you need to remember and bring up something that all Canadians and Americans know fully well hundreds of years after the fact? Do you not see how badly you defeat your own argument?

"Yes many idiots came along and denied those apologies..."

Exactly. Since you bring up the apologies to other atrocities in other nations, show me the 'idiots who exist everywhere' who deny it. I can show you some called "Neo-Nazi", and guess what, they are illegal and saying the Holocaust did not happen is a crime in many nations. How about saying sex slaves did not exist in Japan? That a crime? How about saying Nanjing did not exist? A crime?

Practice what you preach, Sandie.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@smithinjapan

First of all I have been on both sides of this issue. I was just like you at one time. But education has shown me that I was wrong, sorry you can't admit it and result to snarky quips. I never said these women were wrong. But read carefully. I know it is difficult, but here goes again. This issue was resolved in 1965! The Korean government is the one that denied payments to these poor women and said that THEY would handle it. THEY DID NOT and that is not the Japanese's fault at all. Look up the agreement. South Korea promised to let the issue go and not bring it up anymore. Well, they lied and are bringing it up and that is the problem. You can't enter an agreement and then change your mind along the way. That is what I am talking about.

My calling your prime minister a president was simply an accident.

Again, yes it has. And again, ummmm... China and Korea needs to forget about 70 years ago but you need to remember and bring up something that all Canadians and Americans know fully well hundreds of years after the fact? Do you not see how badly you defeat your own argument?

I bet you didn't even click the link. Did that woman say that things had been settled? NOPE. There are so many native Americans in Canada and in the USA who do not feel that things are taken care of. That is just wishful thinking on your part. You are acting just like how you think the Japanese are acting. YOU are defeating your own argument with that!!!

As for Germany, maybe reading what others have written is not your forte but I have said numerous times that Germany is the only country that gets it right. Everyone else white-washes their history, including your Canada. That is what is sad. Yes, maybe we in North America are more open about the native American issue but we are not doing as much as should be done, nor are we teaching it as much as it should be taught in our schools. If you doubt that then go to a reservation and look at the high percentage of suicide, drug abuse and alcoholism rates? I am sure that you will be very surprised.

Here is my point once again. Nobody except for Germany is being totally honest about their history. Nobody, so I don't see a need to bash the dog snot out of Japan at each and every turn because we come off as first class hypocrites.

Practice what you preach? WOW, at least I am not going around attacking the Japanese at each and every turn like you are. I would hate to see what you would do if you hated a country.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

sandiegoluv and smithinjapan, please do not address each other any further on this thread. Focus your comments on what is in the story and not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

not demand apology, but demand quick money before they die. because children n grandchildren wants quick cash.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@mister Ed and toshiko,

How do you feel about a memorial to the comfort women in Japan? The head of state could comission it with his blessing. There would be no more future complaining or manipulation from either side.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I would love to see such a statue in Japan. That would be a great thing. I believe countries need to criticise themselves not be lectured into submission and looked down on. All countries need to have memorials that are a tribute to the victims of their own actions.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Without reading the other comments.... Many atrocities were committed during the war. I understand how those women carried that abuse throughout their lives. MHO but maybe an offer of money or something to make the remainder of their lives comfortable. (no pun intended). What was done is done and nothing anyone can say or do will change the past or how they feel. They will take that to the grave. All that being said, nothing will change how they feel. Nothing! My father was on a battle ship pounding the coast of Japan during the war and witnessed bodies piled high on the back of trucks. His hope for me was that I never had to go to war. I was lucky and my number too high in the last lottery to have to go to Vietnam. So I'm alive to be here now. All that being said, nothing can change the past! Let's strive so it doesn't happen again...... A moment of silence for the hell those women are still feeling... Slavery and rape!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is pointless to debate on this issue because you will never get to point where all parties to compromise and move on. No one can ever tell how those victims felt and no one’s has the right to tell them what to do, it is only them can decide to forgive or not. Nevertheless, as long as politic is still around this issue will never go away. Very complicate and complex issue there is no silver bullet for this (Propaganda & Politic)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How about if the Abe government issues a statement admitting that what Japanese soldiers did during the war was despicable? No good?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

2462-05-31 news headlines: Korean "comfort women" descendants demand apology from Japan (although it ways done several times).

It can be like this. Or, people and media can just start to ignore the Korean (and Chinese). Because they will never stop. Even if all the Japanese people goes down in their knees and say "Ok, rape us à la vonté and please move on your lives".
1 ( +3 / -2 )

How about if the Abe government issues a statement admitting that what Japanese soldiers did during the war was despicable? No good?

Depends. If a bunch of Japanese politicians come out denying it and they never put any of it in the textbooks and continue getting all flustered about memorials to victims, then no, it would be no good.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It may sound facetious, but why not dedicate a monument? Couldnt the Emperor make an offering? I mean there are visits to the Yasukuni, demos with nuts on trucks with speakers and all sorts of other tired antics to stir up trouble. They could put one of the Bodhisattvas there, something of real meaning to attone for their attrocity.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because human rights are universal, anyone can, and should, express an opinion about them. It is up to the people of Japan and their Government to decide whether or not the Diet should issue an apology for the military brothel system, yes. But this does not mean that non-Japanese cannot have an opinion about it. A Japanese person has the right to express outrage over the thousands of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada, for example. But waiting around for others to issue apologies for their own past wrongs before you apologize for your own is neither a mature or inspiring choice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So there isn't one South Korean lawyer willing to represent these victims and take the South Korean Government to court to get compensation that the government received in 1965?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

OssanAmericaJun. 02, 2014 - 01:43AM JST So there isn't one South Korean lawyer willing to represent these victims and take the South Korean Government to court to get compensation that the government received in 1965?

Imagine what would happen to the South Korean lawyer if he did take the case.

He/She wouldn't last a week.....

Remember what happened to the 95 year old Korean man when he said that conditions under Japanese rule weren't as bad as how some people are saying?

http://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a02701/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Both sides are partially correct. Some comfort women were professionals who were paid, or daughters who were sold by their parents, there is evidence supporting this. But there are too many for this nice system to have covered everyone, especially as things went to hell towards the end of the war. Therefore, both sides have a point, e.g. Korea and Taiwan have points, and Japan should probably apologize. It will never be enough, and there'll be something else that crops up the minute they do apologize, but they should.

As for money, sorry, but South Korea spent it on trains and freeways. Ask them for the money.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gerard van Schip:

" How about both sides are right? It was a horrible thing the Japanese army did but while it was horrible it is also being milked. "

Exactly. And no matter how much Japan apologizes and pays, it will continue to be milked. That is why I am really tired of this.

Of course, the small gaggle of Japanese moroninc revisionists who try to re-write history, does not help either. I wish both sides would stop already.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How old is Ms Kim Bok Dong?

She is 88, now.

She was 90 as of November 2012. http://livewire.amnesty.org/2012/11/29/to-all-the-women-around-the-world-be-strong/

How long did she endure as an ianfu?

said 88-year-old South Korean Kim Bok-Dong at the meeting, who was allegedly drafted into the brothel system in 1941 aged 15 and served in "comfort stations" across Asia for nearly five years.

http://livewire.amnesty.org/2012/11/29/to-all-the-women-around-the-world-be-strong/

I was 14 years old when I was forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese government. They said they would hire me as a factory worker, but instead they dragged many of us to Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Indonesia. I was with the army headquarters so I went almost everywhere with them.There are no words to describe what the soldiers did to me, from noon to 5pm on Saturdays and 8am to 8pm on Sundays. By the end of the day, I could not even sit up. After eight years of suffering, they placed me as a worker in an army hospital. Their intention was to hide any evidence of "comfort women".

If she was 90 in November 2012, and if she became an ianfu at the age of 14, she became an ianfu in 1936, rather than in 1941. Things get confusing every time they speak.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CH3CHO

well I'm just 60+ years and I can you, tell there are many exact dates and details from decades ago I can't remember or can't remember so accurately.

Kim Bok-dong didn't write the article you linked, Kristin Hulaas Sunde wrote it so you should at least question that. Did the author write down the correct facts?

I would suggest that she became a Comfort Woman in 1941 at about the age of 15 and I believe the fact that they (the person who hired/bought her) told her she was going to work in a factory which is in common with the US Military document from the Ledo Stockade, which you have linked to more times than I can remember, but anyway, that states,

The nature of this "service" was not specified but it was assumed to be work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy.

So Kim Bok-dong could be 88 years born in 1926 and became a Comfort Woman at 15 in 1941?

http://kaforumca.org/?page_id=191

Kil Won-ok forced to work in a brothel in Manchuria during the war when she was 11 years old.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichiJun. 02, 2014 - 04:53PM JST

So, you would rather believe 5 year version of her story.

Here are 8 year version of her stories.

March 7, 2012 http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/06/world/asia/korean-comfort-women/

Kim has tears in her eyes as she talks of her ordeal -- an ordeal that lasted every single day for eight years.

November 18, 2012 http://groovekorea.com/article/japans-shame-sex-slaves-await-justice

"I went to a base camp of the Japanese military," Kim said. From there, the Imperial Army took her wherever it conquered: China, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand. "Every place the army went, (we) followed. It lasted eight years."

August 8, 2013 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/802543.shtml

Kim Bok Dong, a 87-year-old Korean woman who spent eight years as a "comfort woman" during WWII

January 27, 2014 http://www.koreaherald.com/common_prog/newsprint.php?ud=20140127000736&dt=2

Kim was taken away at age 14 and was forced to serve the Japanese Imperial Army as a military sex slave for eight years.

There are as many 5 year version of her testimonies.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So, you would rather believe 5 year version of her story.

I would rather believe her ordeal lasted between 5 and 8 years. The exact number of days is not as important as the fact that she, as a young teenager, was forced into sexual slavery in order to "comfort" Japanese military men.

It is not as important as the fact that many thousands of other very young women were similarly coerced as Ms. Kim was.

It is very interesting as well as shameful that an attempt is made to play down the more important details by trying to strain out the tiny gnats in the ordeal of a woman who is now nearly 90 years old.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

yabitsJun. 02, 2014 - 07:40PM JST

I would rather believe her ordeal lasted between 5 and 8 years. The exact number of days is not as important as the fact that she, as a young teenager, was forced into sexual slavery in order to "comfort" Japanese military men.

Is it a fact? So far, there is nothing but her words, which are contradicting. To verify her story, one needs to know when she became an ianfu and where. It could be 1937 or 1941. The situation of the world is totally different in 1941 from 1937.

It is not as important as the fact that many thousands of other very young women were similarly coerced as Ms. Kim was.

As far as the historians in the world have studied, there is no evidence, other then contradicting testimonies, that Korean young women were coerced into ianfu by Japanese military. Dont you think it peculiar?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As far as the historians in the world have studied, there is no evidence, other then contradicting testimonies, that Korean young women were coerced into ianfu by Japanese military.

There is plenty of testimony -- non-contradicting -- that many women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. (Dutch women in what is now Indonesia, for example.) I don't know how the Japanese considered themselves in relation to the Dutch, but from personal recollections of Japanese, I am aware that the Japanese of the time held the Koreans in very low esteem.

So if the Japanese forced young Dutch girls into sexual slavery, would they have any hesitation of doing so to young Korean women? I seriously doubt it. I understand how some Japanese want to throw out "conflicting stories" as a kind of smokescreen in an attempt to cover their crimes from the past. The requirement by some that every recollection must match identically with every other recollection in order to create doubt is one usually imposed by a guilty party desperately seeking to mask its guilt. Where there is smoke, there is fire. That reality greatly lessens any doubt.

The fact is that this is still an issue because Japan, unlike Germany, has never genuinely sought to fully own up to and atone for its past crimes. What Japan has done is to offer some things that it believes constitutes atonement in its own eyes, but never has sincerely sought out what constitutes atonement in the eyes of the victims of its crimes against humanity. Japan is by no means alone in this, but as it regards Korean comfort women, this is certainly the case.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

yabitsJun. 02, 2014 - 08:53PM JST

So if the Japanese forced young Dutch girls into sexual slavery, would they have any hesitation of doing so to young Korean women?

It was Japanese military police who rescued the Dutch women, while Indonesia was still under Japanese occupation. The brothel operation was illegal under Japanese laws in that the operator did not get the concent of the prostitutes. That is why Japanese MP rescued the Dutch women and closed the brothel. You cannot generalize the Dutch case.

In addition, Koreans were Japanese citizens whereas Dutch was enemy.

I hope you keep studying the ianfu issue to make a well advised judgment of your own.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CH3CHO

whatever you care to state, I will accept that Kim Bok-dong was a Comfort Women and suffered from that experience.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

zichiJun. 02, 2014 - 09:44PM JST

I hope the government panel would just establish her date of birth and then follow where she was when. It is much better than having to listen to contradicting testimonies.

You believe she was an ianfu whatever I say, whatever the truth may be.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CH3CHO

Its clear since you joined JT that you don't believe anything about the Comfort Women and has far as you are concerned they were all willing prostitutes who also enjoyed good levels of comfort and luxury.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The brothel operation was illegal under Japanese laws in that the operator did not get the concent of the prostitutes.

Some of the Dutch women were novitiate Catholic nuns. And you refer to them as "prostitutes?"

According to the women, after it became blatantly known that the brothel was what it was, it was closed. But, according to the women, operations were moved to another location. I will believe their story rather than claims of someone trying to help cover up the crimes of the guilty party.

You cannot generalize the Dutch case.

What can easily be generalized are the immoral and criminal actions of the Japanese military. It seems criminal and offensive to me that any woman who suffered sexual violence at the hands of the Japanese military would be classified as a "prostitute." This reveals very much about the deniers.

In addition, Koreans were Japanese citizens whereas Dutch was enemy.

The technical status of Koreans as being under Japanese domination is well known, as well as their status as, at best, second-class citizens. There is no justification for taking "enemy" women and forcing them into sexual slavery. And doing so was not something left to individual "initiative," but something very innate and common in the character of the Japanese military person of the time. It is my opinion that much of that same character is coming through in the people who disparage the victims, which can not bode well for Japan to the extent that it is allowed to rise to dominate Japan again.

While the stories of the victims can be nitpicked for relatively minor discrepancies, their stories -- coming from a variety of different locations -- reveal a common pattern. It is very clear to this outside observer that Japan has mismanaged this whole situation abysmally. Japan's neighbors have good reason to feel concern.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A major problem was created by the Imperialist troops burning more than 8,000 documents to prevent the truth from being revealed. The Americans didn't help this situation. At the end of the war, tens of thousands of documents were confiscated and taken to America. They were, after some years, returned to Japan without the Americans making a copy of them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

you've gotten your apology already, now go away.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Pasting my earlier post for Mirai's education:

A statement of apology by a Prime Minister is only a personal statement or one on behalf of his party. Although there have been many of these issued related to the comfort women, as listed on the Wikipedia page some have referred to above, there has NEVER been an apology from the ENTIRE Diet of Japan on the comfort women issue specifically, and therefore NO apology from the Government (with a capital "G") of Japan. I'm sorry for being pedantic, but when it comes to parliamentary procedure, these distinctions are important. An apology from just a PM, however sincere, is only his own, not the country's.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'm wondering why now, about 70 years after the fact, they are resurfacing this issue. It is a new country, new constitution and new people in government. It wasn't the Abe government who declared world war 2, not even the LDP. The Germans did a similar brothel system in their war, and no one is complaining about it. The President Park is just desperate to just keep pressuring Japan with media in order to gain an upper hand diplomatically with Takeshima or maybe its a personal prejudice from the president.

I think that the entire East Asia Region should take an example from Europe. Even after devastation and a sentiment of belligerence, the EU still managed to surface and act in a cooperative and non-confrontational diplomatic manner. This issue would probably not sort itself out until the 2017 presidential elections or an impeachment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The issue is the military brothel system itself. Questions about whether the women in it were coerced or volunteers, who did the pimping and procurement, who used the brothels, whether prostitution is rape or not, whether they were "sex slaves" or not -- these are not the main issue. They are related issues, true, and worth discussing, but we should not let them distract us from the central issue, which is: the Ministry of Defence of the Imperial Government of Japan established and ran, both directly and/or at arms length, a formal system of brothels for its soldiers in the field that by nearly all accounts was brutal and inhumane for these women. This is the reprehensible Government of Japan policy for which an apology from the Diet is still missing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yabitsJun. 02, 2014 - 08:53PM JST The fact is that this is still an issue because Japan, unlike Germany, has never genuinely sought to fully own up to and atone for its past crimes. What Japan has done is to offer some things that it believes constitutes atonement in its own eyes, but never has sincerely sought out what constitutes atonement in the eyes of the victims of its crimes against humanity. Japan is by no means alone in this, but as it regards Korean comfort women, this is certainly the case.

You might also want to ask the same question to Korean goverment. In 1965, the Japanese goverment asked Korean goverment to show the concrete number of conscripted workers and soldiers, dead and injured and how much unpaid wages were. They asked to "show the evidences and they would pay". Korea agreed and investigated them. What I want to clarify here is that Korea didn't claim the compensation for the war time prostitutes. Why didn't they? Nobody said at the time in Korea, those prostitutes were abducted. Everyone knew there were many women who were so poor that they sold themselves to live and the Japan army didn't have to abduct Korean women. Although we know later on that some were abducted. After 50 years later, it's the Korean goverment's problem if they did not disclose the comfort women issue at the time. Korean goverment agreed to handle all individual compensation claim after the 1965 treaty. Average Korean citizens didn't even know until declassification in 2005 file (which is 40 years later) that Koreans learned for the first time that Japan had actually paid reparations and that their own Korean government had used up most of the reparations designated for individual compensation.

Whatever the case, the South Korean government needs to be forthright about the fact it spent the compensation money and take some responsibility itself, instead of blustering that Japan “hasn’t apologized nor compensated enough.” If the South Korean government had done it’s part back in the 1960′s and disbursed compensation efficiently to those Koreans conscripted by the Japanese into corporations and the military during WWII, this problem wouldn’t exist today. Korea and China will never be satisfied with any apology, and they are happy to keep rejecting apologies and pressing for new apologies because they can turn this position into a popular one among the people in their countries. While recognizing Japan’s guilt in this matter, we also need to recognize the political posturing on the parts of China, Korea, and others who want to keep this issue fresh and unresolved for the purpose of personal political gain.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You might also want to ask the same question to Korean goverment. In 1965, the Japanese goverment asked Korean goverment...

When a person has to evaluate an attempt to make amends, the scale ranges from a "sincere attempt at atonement" to the very low end of "a cynical and opportunistic ploy." The "government" of Korea of 1965 was not one that cared about this issue and the Japanese knew it. The Japanese are not dumb people by a very long stretch.

To use an analogy, it would be as if Britain, 1910, wanted to make amends to African victims of the slave trade, and so tried to negotiate with the American government of the time. (A government which didn't hold the interests of black people with very high regard.) And so, to your question:

What I want to clarify here is that Korea didn't claim the compensation for the war time prostitutes. Why didn't they?

It doesn't matter. The cynical Japanese negotiators probably jumped for joy when the corrupt Korean government didn't make any claims. Nevertheless, the Japanese know that the women had been wronged. (Just as the British would know that the Africans had been.) Instead of going to the Korean government, the Japanese could have established their own bureau where their victims could submit the details of their experience for the public record. That is IF they were interested in making a sincere attempt to provide redress for wrongs.

After 50 years later, it's the Korean goverment's problem if they did not disclose the comfort women issue

Totally and completely wrong. This is a cynical Japan taking advantage of a political situation. The comfort women issue is a reality -- a wrong committed by the Japanese, whether or not the Korean government of the time properly addressed it. The weight of the crime, unless atoned for, still rests with Japan.

Whatever the case, the South Korean government needs to be forthright about the fact it spent the compensation money and take some responsibility itself, instead of blustering that Japan “hasn’t apologized nor compensated enough.”

Again, the Japanese are not stupid. They knew full well at the time the Korean government was not doing anything to redress the wrongs done to the comfort women. The attempt of Japan's government apologists to pass this off as a genuine attempt to address the wrongs done only serves to add more weight to the crime.

Korea and China will never be satisfied with any apology, and they are happy to keep rejecting apologies and pressing for new apologies

Prove it. The world will never forget when Sadat went to Jerusalem to seek peace, and when the German leader Merkel went to the Israeli Knesset to "bow her head in shame" in full admission of the wrongs done by the German people. The equivalent would be the Japanese emperor presenting himself before the Korean National Assembly and putting forth an apology on behalf of the nation of Japan. This is something no Japanese could ever "re-evaluate" or rescind, and the whole world would be witness to it. And it would cost Japan nothing -- aside from the foolish pride of nationalists -- and gain them everything.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

yyj72Jun. 03, 2014 - 12:20AM JST

there has NEVER been an apology from the ENTIRE Diet of Japan

Which branch of the government has what power is written in the constitution. In Japan, all the powers of diplomacy are vested in the Cabinet. The Diet does not have any power to apologize on behalf of the country. Even if it did, the resolution is invalid and thus non binding.

The activists should stop this futile demand.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

CH3CHO: I'm going to assume you missed my earlier post, so I'll paste it here:

Diet members are fully aware of the legal and political difference between a PM's personal apology and one issued by the entire Diet, and are not incapable of issuing the latter:

June 9, 1995: House of Representatives, National Diet of Japan passed a resolution stating: "On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, this House offers its sincere condolences to those who fell in action and victims of wars and similar actions all over the world. Solemnly reflecting upon many instances of colonial rule and acts of aggression in the modern history of the world, and recognizing that Japan carried out those acts in the past, inflicting pain and suffering upon the peoples of other countries, especially in Asia, the Members of this House express a sense of deep remorse"

This is taken from the Wikipedia list of apologies. It is an example of a fully-endorsed Government of Japan statement in the true sense of the meaning. None like this has ever been issued to the comfort women, and that is why they and their supporters continue to pressure Japan.

As you can see, the Diet does have the power to apologize on behalf of the country. In fact, it is the only government body which has this power, and the above statement on World War II is an example of one.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

yyj72Jun. 03, 2014 - 10:25AM JST

I do not know if I should tell you the truth, but the 1995 resolution is an example of non binding resolution.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CH3CHO: The term "binding" refers to budgetary and lawmaking implications, neither of which are relevant when it comes to a statement of apology. What matters to the victims is the emotional content of the statement and that it come from ultimate expression of the Japanese polity, the Diet, which represents the entirety of the country of Japan, its Government and its people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

yabits Jun. 03, 2014 - 07:56AM JST The cynical Japanese negotiators probably jumped for joy when the corrupt Korean government didn't make any claims. Nevertheless, the Japanese know that the women had been wronged. This is a cynical Japan taking advantage of a political situation.

It can be easily argue that Japan knowingly negotiated a dictator who was not democratically selected to lead the country. But interestingly, one of the concurring justices of the Constitutional Court wrote that if in fact Korean government (Park regime) signed away the Comfort Women’s claims, Korean government should be liable for the remainder of damages.

Whether individual Comfort Woman has a cause of action separate and apart from the cause of action through Korean government. I agree with the decision that the Korean government did not respect the constitutional rights of the citizens who were victims, but does it nullify the agreement? Wouldn’t it make the South Korean government accountable for these grievances, not the Japanese? If the Cooperation Treaty was never valid, what about all the other treaties entered into during Park’s dictatorship? Park was undoubtedly the de facto ruler of South Korea. All the improvements that he made as President to South Korea were very real. Other presidents from other nations with whom he met and secured aid for the nation believed he was the president. Good luck trying to argue that the 1965 treaty was invalid because the government that led the country for 18 years, led by a man still so widely respected that his daughter is the favorite to become the next president,was illegitimate.

Park Chung-hee was elected in 1963 and even again in 1967 in accordance with the constitution of the time, not to mention the National Assembly which ratified the treaty was also duly elected. What were the Japanese supposed to say? “Uh, we think in the 1980s and later Koreans are going to question the legitimacy of their government, so, we’re going to pass on this treaty thing? Let someone more politically correct, like win the next presidential election and we’ll think about it. Pardon my ignorance but wouldn’t this open a can of worms of biblical proportions ? I mean how many Governments around the world fit this description ? Wouldn’t any treaty reached with say Russia or Indonesia be valid under such assumption? So then you would agree that all of the inter-Korean agreements and all the treaties with China, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and other dictatorial governments are all invalid as well? As such can only determine future actions, if this is to follow arbitration procedure under the treaty then any dispute would relate to the treaty. Presumably if 1965 treaty was enacted in compliance with international law and the respective local laws of Japan and korea then it could only arbitrate on the terms and application therein. If the treaty clearly signs away the rights then what is there to arbitrate? Accordingly, don’t see this as huge impact at all, since arbitrator will one day unanimously decide in favor of Japan. The comfort women’s action and grievance should be to claim against the Korean government for signing their rights away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sfjp330: You have erected many straw men and ignored what I wrote. You have gone off on many irrelevant tangents.

The bottom line is this: The people of Japan know that the actions of Japan during the war hurt and abused many people, often needlessly. The brothel system and comfort women are examples.

Your arguments paint a picture of a Japan engaged in cynical politics as a way to wash its hands of the matter. Completely dishonorable. The sin against the comfort women was Japan's, is Japan's, and will always be Japan's, and can never be assigned away. Not as long as there is a world out here that doesn't delude itself as so many Japanese apparently have.

Japan could easily have established a quasi-governmental bureau of its own dedicated to providing the opportunity for the women to present their cases and receive restitution. And to take the lead in case the governments of other countries failed in the task. Japan set up the brothel system where many of these women were systematically gang-raped; they can easily set up an organization -- inviting members of the UN to observe and advise -- to enable some justice and relief to be delivered.

I read through your post and I frankly feel very embarrassed at what it reveals of the writer. My sympathies for the women have greatly increased.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@yabits,

What your saying is 1965 treaty is invalid? Prove it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What your saying is 1965 treaty is invalid? Prove it.

I make so such claim, one way or the other.

As it regards atonement and restitution to the comfort women, no treaty is in and of itself relevant or adequate unless the victims of Japan's former crimes deem it so. It would be more proper for the Japanese to provide a formal venue in Japan for "truth and reconciliation" out of a sense of genuine remorse for the wrongs committed against them women.

The wrongs done to the women remain on Japan's ledger, for as long as it stubbornly refuses to do the right thing. This much a child could grasp.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@yabits

You may have better luck arguing that the Korea waiver of the rights to a claim by the women was ineffective and attempt to invalidate the specific clause while keeping the treaty intact. The Japanese internal memo may be persuasive on a moral level, but one has to ask, if it was intended that the rights of individuals were not included in the 1965 Treaty, why does its text indicate otherwise? Keep in mind that the document cited was penned nearly four months before the Treaty was signed. What other evidence might exist that shows a change in Japan’s negotiating position, assuming that if read in context the document cited can be understood in the manner represented? Won’t it further reveal the clear intent of the Korean side precisely to settle all Korean claims to enable the Korean goverment to grab all the proceeds of the Treaty settlement for its own purposes? You know that Korean goverment dispossessed all individual rights as a result of the treaty. This tells you that Korean goverment didn't care about their own people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sfjp330: your posts indicate that you seem to regard this as some kind of simple court case, with plaintiffs and defendants arguing over who is at fault. You have fallen victim to one the oldest tricks that lawyers use: confuse the issue, drag it out, and quibble over points of procedure in order to make the process so excruciatingly cumbersome that the parties forget what they were after in the first place. The lawyers walk away rich, and everyone else is still miserable and unsatisfied. All the women want, and deserve, is a full and unequivocal apology from the Government of Japan in the form of a Diet resolution. They were abused the Government of Japan, and so were the soldiers who had sex with them. All parties in this issue want and need to wash their souls clean. If for no other reason, on a humanitarian basis, it should be done.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

yyj72 Jun. 04, 2014 - 05:57AM JST All the women want, and deserve, is a full and unequivocal apology from the Government of Japan in the form of a Diet resolution.

It's not about apology, but liabilty in potential compensation lawsuits. After Japan's acknowledging the involvement of the military in the comfort system in 1992, the J-government conducted formal investigations into the matter before it admitted in 1993 that there had been coercive recruitment in some cases. PM Miyazawa and the government wanted to come up with some vague gesture in lieu of compensation for the survivors. The Miyazawa's goverment was unable to act on this for reasons. The Korean Council and other support groups were opposed to any measure that evaded Japan's legal responsibility. The ruling LDP was trapped between its admission of coercive recruitment and its unwillingness to say or do anything that might indicate legal responsibility. Japan was concerned about the class-action lawsuit, stunned by numerous compensation lawsuit, and Japanese immediately assumed that the comfort women survivors were motivated by economic gain. This is the reason why many backed the J-government position that the 1965 treaty agreement normalizing relations between Korea and Japan had settled all reparation issues.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

PM Miyazawa and the government wanted to come up with some vague gesture in lieu of compensation

The Miyazawa's goverment was unable to act on this for reasons.

Japan was concerned about the class-action lawsuit, stunned by numerous compensation lawsuit, and Japanese immediately assumed that the comfort women survivors were motivated by economic gain.

This is the reason why many backed the J-government position that the 1965 treaty agreement normalizing relations between Korea and Japan had settled all reparation issues.

The Japanese know that the people they wronged have not received a formal, non-vague apology. This is to the Japanese great shame.

People want to mince legalisms like lawyers, but they are terrified by lawsuits -- which means they are terrified that these women would have a chance to tell their stories in a court of law, as the mere fact of a lawsuit does not mean winning it, nor the amount of compensation.

The quotes above from the previous post go a very long way to demonstrate the embarrassment that is the government of Japan and, by extension, the nation. Japanese should be embarrassed by their government. The women demanding the apology are standing on much higher moral ground.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

yabitsJun. 04, 2014 - 04:18AM JST

Japan could easily have established a quasi-governmental bureau of its own dedicated to providing the opportunity for the women to present their cases and receive restitution.

Are you talking about Asian Women Fund founded in 1995? http://www.awf.or.jp/e-preface.htm

It predates German "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Fund" by 5 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_%22Remembrance,_Responsibility_and_Future%22

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Are you talking about Asian Women Fund founded in 1995?

No. People can compare with the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Fund and see that the clear difference that the German fund was established in a rather long partnership and negotiations with representatives of the victims.

Japan could learn much from the Germans in this matter.

To clarify, the bureau would have the ultimate aim of righting the wrongs, but it's first milestone would be to work in partnership with representatives of those wronged until a Board and fund similar to the German one could be established.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It just doesn't cut it, boys. And taking an overly legalistic approach, negotiating hard over every detail, only adds to the misery and perceived lack of sincerity. It's truly shameful behaviour and brings dishonour to the great nation of Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yabitsJun. 04, 2014 - 04:33AM JST

As it regards atonement and restitution to the comfort women, no treaty is in and of itself relevant or adequate unless the victims of Japan's former crimes deem it so.

yabitsJun. 04, 2014 - 11:33AM JST

No. People can compare with the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Fund and see that the clear difference that the German fund was established in a rather long partnership and negotiations with representatives of the victims.

Japan could learn much from the Germans in this matter.

Let us learn. When will the victim group say they received enough? Or do they intend to receive money from Germany forever and ever?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And taking an overly legalistic approach, negotiating hard over every detail, only adds to the misery and perceived lack of sincerity

Precisely, yyj72. Well said.

Let us learn. When will the victim group say they received enough? Or do they intend to receive money from Germany forever and ever?

These questions, to the extent they are not uncommon, indicate an attitude of arrogance and hostility by the nation that committed the wrongs towards the victims of those wrongs. Please consider that the atonement process is not undertaken as much for the victims as it done to fully restore the humanity and harmony of the community of the people who committed the wrongful, immoral acts. The Germans have come to understand this, by and large. Perhaps someday the Japanese will be represented by leaders who grasp this too.

When a victim is approached in a spirit of genuine contriteness, with a desire to atone, they might surprise us with the level of their humanity and the willingness to restore harmony. Perhaps many in Japan are afraid of this.

The question might be asked: What is it worth to Japan to regain its own soul?

But it will only be driven by the people, and right now it appears that Japan has too many people with the same mindset that brought it great misery in the past. The way of atonement may be the surest way out of the current malaise.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

yabitsJun. 04, 2014 - 08:24PM JST

Perhaps someday the Japanese will be represented by leaders who grasp this too.

It is not someday, but it was 49 years ago in 1965. Japanese government and democratically elected president of Korea, Pak Jeong Hui, who was the leader of victims, agreed, after lengthy negotiations, that all the claims of Korea Korean entity and Korean individuals are waived in return for the payment from Japan. Diplomatic records of both countries agree that President Pak insisted that the payment to individual victims be received by Korean government for further distribution. The deal was done. The treaty was sent to Korean Congress and was ratified. If you think President Pak was a dictator, you are wrong. He is the most popular president of the entire South Korean history. About 70% of South Koreans choose him as the best president of South Korea.

You may have a question if a nation can waive the claim of its nationals against a foreign country. Koreans brought the question to US and Japanese courts. The answers of the courts of those 2 nations were both yes.

That should have concluded everything and bring back harmony.

Those women say they are determined not to quit until they receive money from Japanese government, even though they know Japanese government has paid and they know where the money is now.

Our Korean friends, would you tell the old ladies where their money is now?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That should have concluded everything and bring back harmony.

That is for the victims to decide.

Look, there are templates for this kind of truth and reconciliation process. It isn't easy, but it's not rocket science either. South Africa's is the most famous, but there are hundreds of others, big and small, and none of them (at least not the successful ones) are rooted in a closed process negotiated over by lawyers, diplomats and historians in a hybrid legal-academic exercise whose results are then bequeathed upon the masses from their social betters. That kind of process ignores the human factor. It treats the suffering as a side issue instead of the core one. That is why the deal struck in 1965 is unsatisfactory to those for whom the Japanese military brothel system is a deeply personal issue. That is why they continue to ask for more. No one has argued that South Korea's government has no role in this - of course it does! But if a reconciliation is to truly happen, it is up to the victimizing party, the Government of Japan, to lead by example. South Africa today is a widely-admired country for its courage and honesty with its troubled past. Japan could reap the same rewards if it wanted to.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is not someday, but it was 49 years ago in 1965. Japanese government and democratically elected president of Korea,

As someone who is not Asian, but whose family in Poland were victims at the hands of Nazi Germany, I can only attest that the arguments I hear from some Japanese are those of a people lacking genuine contrition and seeking only to let themselves off the hook legalistically. And as such, they stand on much lower moral ground than the former prostitutes.

The common pattern in Japan's relationship to those it considers weak or unworthy continues. In the past, they took advantage of economic conditions to compel people, even their own, to sell their daughters into prostitution. The Japanese in 1965 had full reason to suspect that an economically weak and often corrupt Korea could be pressured to sign just about anything. But most important, the Japanese had every responsibility to determine that money paid to anyone actually got to the victims it was intended for. Failing that, Japan has become a willing participant in a new wrong. So much for "the deal."

Yes, Japan could stand to learn much from how Germany has acted.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The constant demands for more, and more formal, and more sincere, apologies is getting tiring. It shows me that South Korea sees its future as being part of red China's orbit rather than the free world's. They are merely following along with their masters in Beijing. In turn, China keeps North Korea from imploding and wrecking the economy of the South. It is a bizarre symbiotic relationship.

Yabits, the Korean government at the time in 1965 refused to let Japan participate in the specific distribution of the money. Instead, it kept the cash for infrastructure projects and paid a pittance to the victims. So, if the survivors have a beef with anyone, it is their own government. THEY are the ones who stole the apology money.

To an outsider, the whole fetish for apologies that is such a large part of many Asian cultures is fascinating.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The constant demands for more, and more formal, and more sincere, apologies is getting tiring.

It really shouldn't. It is nearly certain that these remaining "comfort women" represent the stragglers who are part of any formerly large group.

It shows me that South Korea sees its future as being part of red China's orbit rather than the free world's.

Well, South Korea is certainly justified in thinking that Japan is in a long-term state of decline. (Heck, they can't even effectively deal with a handful of former women in their 80s!)

So, if the survivors have a beef with anyone, it is their own government. THEY are the ones who stole the apology money.

If Japan gave the money to a party they had reasonable suspicion to believe would "steal" it, the wrong is still Japan's. Japan easily could have monitored to see that the money wasn't being stolen. This is not rocket science.

I am cynical enough to see that some of that stolen apology money was coming right back to Japan in the form of business deals.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Try putting yourself into the shoes of these comfort women. I'm sure even at 88 they remember being gang raped for years and seeing their friends die in most horrific ways.

They deserve to be formally apologized to as many times as they want...for as long as they are alive. And no one should ever forget this atrocity.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

yabitsJun. 04, 2014 - 11:40PM JST

In the past, they took advantage of economic conditions to compel people, even their own, to sell their daughters into prostitution.

They meaning who? If someone says "the peasants were forced to sell their daughters into prostitution due to poverty," it means no one forced them. It simply means that the peasants sold their daughters due to poverty.

The Japanese in 1965 had full reason to suspect that an economically weak and often corrupt Korea could be pressured to sign just about anything.

Do you have any reason to believe that the Korea Japan Basic Treaty of 1965 was not satisfactory to Korea? I think Korea did extremely well in the negotiations and that is why President Pak has such high approval ratings even today.

But most important, the Japanese had every responsibility to determine that money paid to anyone actually got to the victims it was intended for.

But how? South Korea is a sovereign nation and Japan does not have any enforcement power over Korean government. Levy economic sanction or even wage war if Korea does not pay?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CH3CH0

They meaning who? If someone says "the peasants were forced to sell their daughters into prostitution due to poverty," it means no one forced them. It simply means that the peasants sold their daughters due to poverty.

But we know from a link you have provided numerous times, that even though families sold their daughters to agents of the Imperialist military they weren't informed that they would become military prostitutes. The 20 women documented in the US Military report from the Ledo Stockade were not informed.

I accept that some of the Comfort Women were already prostitutes but when the agents of the Imperial military were unable to secure sufficient numbers to fulfill the quota's in their orders that they turned to other sources like very young girls from poor farming families.

I also accept that a number of young women were forced into military prostitution.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They meaning who? If someone says "the peasants were forced to sell their daughters into prostitution due to poverty," it means no one forced them. It simply means that the peasants sold their daughters due to poverty.

It is so obvious. The kind of "poverty" that forces a person to sell their daughter into prostitution is part of a man-made system. The people paying to control the girl -- who rarely has a choice in the matter -- and the people paying to use her body are not in financial poverty. There are many ways for a person to pay off a debt. There is another moral code that is thousands of years old -- and not "man-made" -- that enabled people to get out of debt without sacrificing their dignity -- and the very idea of selling a daughter into sexual slavery would be an abomination for anyone who would suggest such a thing.

Under a less moral system, a man -- almost always a farmer whose crop has failed due to conditions beyond his control -- might desperately try to come up with some other way to pay back, but if the lender will accept nothing besides his daughter, then he is forced to comply.

As it regards the comfort women who, for whatever reason, found themselves in brothels servicing the Japanese military, the "forcing" came on a daily basis, as they could not control the number of men their masters forced them to service. Any woman who comes forward to describe herself as being in that position warrants a deep apology. The person from the low-moral system will always view her as a prostitute rather than the victim of fate and evil men that she is.

Do you have any reason to believe that the Korea Japan Basic Treaty of 1965 was not satisfactory to Korea?

The question to me is not important compared to whether or not the individual woman has a just case, and a just demand for an apology, to present. Allow her to tell her story about what life in a Japanese wartime brothel was like, and see if any reasonable person would believe that she knew ahead of time that this was what she was signing up for.

But how? South Korea is a sovereign nation and Japan does not have any enforcement power over Korean government. Levy economic sanction or even wage war if Korea does not pay?

If Japan had ever been serious about making proper amends, one obvious way would be to first establish its own "memorial" to recognize the comfort women, and have the Emperor dedicate it with deepest apology on the part of all Japanese people. Doing so, no one on planet Earth could make a reasonable claim regarding the lack of an appropriate apology. Regarding payments, again you are overlooking obvious solutions. Look to how Germany and its partners in the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Fund have accomplished it.

There are many thousands more survivors of German crimes in WWII, and they are not going to Germany continuously demanding apologies because Germany has properly fulfilled that requirement whereas Japan has not.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

yabitsJun. 05, 2014 - 10:49AM JST

The kind of "poverty" that forces a person to sell their daughter into prostitution is part of a man-made system.

Starvation was a real and ubiquitous threat in pre-war Japan. Crops do not grow over night. Whether a peasant family can survive until the next harvest was a matter of life and death. If the field is damaged due to bad weather or whatever, and if the next harvest becomes hopeless, the family has to make a difficult choice. One is to starve and make the whole family die. The other is to sell off a daughter.

There is another moral code that is thousands of years old -- and not "man-made" -- that enabled people to get out of debt without sacrificing their dignity

What is it? Can you explain to a man of other religion?

Allow her to tell her story

But her demand is compensation payment, which should be directed to South Korean government rather than Japanese.

to first establish its own "memorial" to recognize the comfort women

You were criticizing Japan for not making Korea to pay. Now, this is your solution to make Korea pay.

they are not going to Germany continuously demanding apologies

I doubt.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

t her demand is compensation payment, which should be directed to South Korean government rather than Japanese

Her demand is an apology for years of forced suffering...rape...and a demand for recognition of this event for what it was...essentially a mass rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of women. She's trying to make sure that her suffering will not be forgotten similar to the suffering endured by the Jews. If you erase is from history it will make what happened to her and thousands of women like her who did not survive the rape completely meaningless and no lessons would be learned at all by the Japanese.

Even if the human being is sold into slavery it does not make it ok to abuse and treat that human being as an animal. These women had no choice and were clearly forced into brothels to be raped. A fate far worse than death of starvation.

Maybe you can ask your mother,sister or wife if they would prefer death to hand rape by thousands of enemy soldiers on a daily basis for years. I'm sure you would find their answers surprising...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even if the human being is sold into slavery it does not make it ok to abuse and treat that human being as an animal.

Yes, exactly. The ancient code for the treatment of those serving to pay off a debt is often far better than the condition of today's minimum wage worker -- who is not a slave -- and it did not require exchanging sexual favors.

As I review the comments, it increasingly dawns on me that the Japanese arguing that the women's claims can be dismissed because, for one reason, prostitution was legal, are actually using that to try to cover up the serious abuse these women suffered at their military's hands. They might need to have someone prove to them that it is possible to rape a prostitute, as they probably don't believe it can be done. A prostitute who has suffered genuine abuse would not be likely to receive justice.

I doubt.

Your "doubt" is regarding former victims of Nazi Germany. There is no need to doubt. There are many thousands more victims still alive of Germany's wartime crimes than there are comfort women. If there are victims groups still pressing Germany, unsatisfied with how it has responded, we would be able to read about it just like we are reading about Japan's failure in this matter.

One is to starve and make the whole family die. The other is to sell off a daughter.

A moral and decent society would provide other options, and wouldn't even have selling one's daughter into sexual slavery as an option. Once starting down that evil road, there will be Hell to pay.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This could be ended if the Japanese government would just accept full responsibility, without equivocation or nuanced language. Heck, have the women come before the Diet and have all the legislators bow to them to show how remorseful they feel. Then it is done and over with.

One wonders if this is not being prolonged intentionally. Why allow your rivals to be able to use this as negative propaganda? Do what needs to be done to put it to rest.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One wonders if this is not being prolonged intentionally.

It is a good question, well worth considering. What would an unequivocal and un-nuanced apology mean to the Japanese?

Such apologies are regularly given by inferiors to their superiors in a relationship, so the very act of an apology would mean that, in this instance, the Japanese are humbling themselves before former prostitutes, or those that they still consider to be prostitutes. And Korean prostitutes at that.

But it was Japan, through occupation and war, that provided these women with the opportunity to become prostitutes. Without Japan, many of these women probably would have led lives that were completely different.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@yabits

Korea is simply a nation that does not honor international treaties. As a result of this revelation of the 1965 treaty from the declassified documents in 2005, South Korean citizens started to call on their own government to compensate the victims of Japan's colonial rule. In response, the South Korean government set up a team to deal with the expected subtantial numbers of appeals for compensation, but also insisted at that time that "compensation for losses during the Japanese occupation had already been settled. " Now isn't that interesting? Once it became South Korea's responsibility to compensate any losses due to Japan's colonial rule, miraculously any losses had "already been compensated?" And ever since 2005 Korea has been trying to find ways to pass their financial responsibility back to Japan and get Japan to pay out more money to make up for Korea's mis-use of funds.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a result of this revelation of the 1965 treaty from the declassified documents in 2005, South Korean citizens started to call on their own government to compensate the victims of Japan's colonial rule.

If the special case of comfort women was part of the victims' compensation for colonial rule it would not have been necessary for Japan to establish the Asian Women's Fund.

A nation which coerces or forces women of occupied countries into sexual slavery does not have much ground to stand on w/regards to the honor of others. This is not about Korea; is about Japan and the women it degraded and often subjected to gang rape. This goes far beyond the ordinary wrongs of colonizing.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

yabitsJun. 05, 2014 - 09:50PM JST

Your "doubt" is regarding former victims of Nazi Germany.

Let me make it clear to avoid further confusion. Your claim was that the victims of Nazi Germany completely forgave them and would not ask for another apology any more. I doubt if that is the case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Your claim was that the victims of Nazi Germany completely forgave them and would not ask for another apology any more.

The words "completely forgave" are yours. I made no such claim. However, there is no need for the victims to ask for a formal apology because Germany has delivered on that part of the process. (We don't read about any groups these days demanding a formal apology from Germany -- despite the fact that many more thousands of victims of the Germans are still alive.) Forgiveness is something completely different and depends much on Germany making good on its formal apologies to the victims.

So far, Germany has been doing so. Japan has yet to do so, at least with regards to the Korean comfort women.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

yabitsJun. 06, 2014 - 08:11AM JST

If the special case of comfort women was part of the victims' compensation for colonial rule it would not have been necessary for Japan to establish the Asian Women's Fund.

This is a classidc example of backward reasoning that makes any good will proof of crime.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One can just imagine the slimy revisionists waiting with baited breath for the last victims to die. The Japanese gov't white-washing of history will be easier. Fortunately for Germany, honest and sincere apologies were made, and its dark history taught to younger generations of Germans. Japan will always remain the little brat at the children's table, never to join the adults.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fortunately for Germany, honest and sincere apologies were made, and its dark history taught to younger generations of Germans.

Yes. It is sad to witness Japan's revisionists acting so shamefully in this matter. Germany is well on the road to redemption; the revisionists want to pull Japan down the opposite direction. Let us hope wiser ones prevail and the fools are put in their place.

This is a classidc example of backward reasoning that makes any good will proof of crime.

Yours has been the classic reasoning that makes any indication of good will on the part of others appear as bad will. When the Asian Women's Fund was inaugurated, crimes against women were acknowledged. Nothing proves a hardened criminal, or an immature and petulant child, as a complete unwillingness to take responsibility and atone.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

yabitsJun. 06, 2014 - 07:35PM JST

When the Asian Women's Fund was inaugurated, crimes against women were acknowledged.

Do you remember what you said?

yabitsJun. 06, 2014 - 08:11AM JST

If the special case of comfort women was part of the victims' compensation for colonial rule it would not have been necessary for Japan to establish the Asian Women's Fund.

The question was whether the compensation payment in 1965 included that for ianfu? The language of the 1965 treaty concludes it was included. Japanese government decided to pay through AWF redundant money to the women from rape victims to prostitutes, whether or not each one of them is a victim of a crime or not.

I think your logic that concession is confession of guilt will not contribute to reconciliation.

Do you know the territorial dispute over Ulleungdo Island between Korea and Japan during 1700s?

Both Korea and Japan claimed the uninhibited small island in the Sea of Japan. After lengthy negotiation, Japan decided to give up the island, hoping the concession would promote friendship between the two countries. However, Korea took the concession as confession of guilt and demanded an apology on top of concession. Japan conceded the island any way but the relationship deteriorated in spite of what could be a shining example of friendly solution to a territorial dispute in world history. Since then concession to Korea is a bad word. It seems AWF is another bad example.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

One needs only read Sarah Soh's book entitled "Comfort Women: Sexual Violence in Post-Colonial Memory in Korea and Japan" to recognize that many many Koreans, particularly sex brokers, were complicit in the horror experienced by these women. She maintains that compatriots recruited a majority of the Korean comfort women by luring them to "factory jobs" in Japan, and some were sold to traffickers by indigent parents. Moreover, after the war Korean society stigmatized these women, compounding their tragedy. I am not attempting exonerate Japan for its misdeeds, but to illustrate the totality of the picture. Korea needs to look not only outwardly but inwardly as well.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jaseinspace1JUN. 06, 2014 - 11:35PM JST One needs only read Sarah Soh's book entitled "Comfort Women: Sexual Violence in Post-Colonial Memory in Korea and Japan" to recognize that many many Koreans, particularly sex brokers, were complicit in the horror experienced by these women. She maintains that compatriots recruited a majority of the Korean comfort women by luring them to "factory jobs" in Japan, and some were sold to traffickers by indigent parents. Moreover, after the war Korean society stigmatized these women, compounding their tragedy. I am not attempting exonerate Japan for its misdeeds, but to illustrate the totality of the picture.

Korea needs to look not only outwardly but inwardly as well.

How do you know they aren't already? And how relevant is any of this to erecting a monument dedicated to all comfort women during the war?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is relevant to the overall issue of blame. As I say, there's no question that Japan deserves its share, but having lived in Korea for several years, I never heard Koreans take responsibility for their part. The finger is always pointed at Japan without taking responsibility for their own part.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think your logic that concession is confession of guilt will not contribute to reconciliation...Since then concession to Korea is a bad word. It seems AWF is another bad example.

It seems clear that hatred of Korea, and Koreans seeking justice in light of Japan's former crimes, is the prime motivator behind your position. This makes you less likely from the start to see any reason for a genuine apology from Japan to the Korean women it so brutally mistreated.

Nevertheless, you keep missing the key point all the way along. The key point is this: You don't reconcile with your neighbor for their sake, but for your own. If you have wronged your neighbor -- as Japan certainly has wronged the comfort women -- you incur a debt. The debt is not yours to decide. The mealy-mouthed and insincere will try to hide behind "treaties" and legalisms. The ordinary people of the world see this for what it is. Japan was very effective and direct in getting women to become sexual slaves for its military; but when it becomes time to see that justice is done, Japan wrings its hands and works through men and governments it knows are untrustworthy. How much of that money given as compensation came back to Japan for business contracts? (The debt and the crime have now increased.)

It is crystal clear that major elements within Japan never wanted to come to the realization of the full extent of their nation's atrocities committed against its neighbors. There are some who always want to portray Japan as the victim. Germany has taken a completely different and much wiser course -- and one that will lead to its own redemption in the eyes of the world. Germany will continue to rise as a nation and be more assured of divine blessings and guidance. Japan will reap a very different harvest, I am sorry to say. It's debt will be repaid -- many times worse than if it simply made good from the start.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

yabits Jun. 06, 2014 - 11:21AM JST Forgiveness is something completely different and depends much on Germany making good on its formal apologies to the victims. So far, Germany has been doing so. Japan has yet to do so, at least with regards to the Korean comfort women.

In 1965 treaty, morally, what Park did to betray the comfort women was wrong, and the modern Korean government has inherited the responsibility to fix this. That heartfelt apologies by any national government for past wrongs are both rare and unlikely, regardless of the severity of the moral crime. Hence, look at the lack of apologies from Western colonial powers.

Perhaps, Holocaust survivors were helped by the "good luck" of Allied Powers' intentional pressure on Germany leading to reparations and recognition of the gravity of the crime committed against them. If the cards hadn't been stacked in their favor, would you tell them to be more realistic and take whatever Germany offered like what Japan did?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In 1965 treaty, morally, what Park did to betray the comfort women was wrong..

And Japan, as witness to this, shares the guilt. The responsibility is Japan's to see that justice is done to the women it wronged. It can't be delegated to a government it knows or suspects is corrupt.

That heartfelt apologies by any national government for past wrongs are both rare..

And this is why most governments sow the seeds of their own destruction. Germany, however, has set an example. Perhaps rare before, it will now be viewed as the model.

If the cards hadn't been stacked in their favor, would you tell them to be more realistic and take whatever Germany offered like what Japan did?

Germany actually listened to what the victims had to say with regards to the process of atonement. Not to some corrupt government. There were much more representative organizations for victims' interests than national governments.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

yabits Jun. 07, 2014 - 04:59AM JST And Japan, as witness to this, shares the guilt. The responsibility is Japan's to see that justice is done to the women it wronged. It can't be delegated to a government it knows or suspects is corrupt.

It is clear that comfort women issue will not recede without third-party arbitration. Japan and Korea are at an impasse, with national pride on the line. A more enduring effort needs to be made, and the U.S. is the only party with enough leverage in Japan and Korea to be an effective mediator. This is an option a special envoy can stand in the background and keep a low profile if political circumstances require it. A compensation proposal may be too extreme for the apology-fatigued Japanese, who have already paid compensation. The U.S. should use its diplomatic influence to push Korea to accept past compensation and apologies, and to push Japan to avoid unnecessary provocative statements going forward and mediate a resolution and pressure Japan to carry it through. Initiative must come from Japan, which has more to gain from improved relations. Conversely, U.S. must extract guarantees from Korea that the issue would then be closed, with public statements from victims that they permanently accept Japan’s gesture as full amends for crimes of the past.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@sfjp330

I cheer your post. You may well be right about arbitration, as there is always a clear possibility of bad faith on either party to an issue. No one is ever 100% right or 100% wrong. The third party would have to be acceptable to both, and the U.S. might be among those to fulfill a role.

No one knows exactly what "closure" to this issue will look like exactly. To the extent that an apology is sincere, un-retractable, and unequivocal, comes from a powerful source, and is witnessed by all, it should completely satisfy that part of the process. There is no reason to suffer "apology-fatigue" if just one effective apology is made.

The past compensation and apologies should be put in front of the Koreans and allow them to acknowledge and comment on them. This will be an important step on their part. If the Koreans are operating in bad faith, it will soon be revealed. Frankly, I think many Japanese will be surprised how magnanimous others can be if approached in the right spirit. In the end, we must always seek the good in others.

I come from a nation that also has much to reckon with in its past. If Japan can join Germany in setting the example for the nations including my own, our children can look forward to a better future. This is the real work towards peace, in my view.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One needs only read Sarah Soh's book entitled "Comfort Women: Sexual Violence in Post-Colonial Memory in Korea and Japan" to recognize that many many Koreans, particularly sex brokers, were complicit in the horror experienced by these women. She maintains that compatriots recruited a majority of the Korean comfort women by luring them to "factory jobs" in Japan, and some were sold to traffickers by indigent parents. Moreover, after the war Korean society stigmatized these women, compounding their tragedy. I am not attempting exonerate Japan for its misdeeds, but to illustrate the totality of the picture. Korea needs to look not only outwardly but inwardly as well.

Good point, Jase. You will never hear Koreans criticize themselves or accept criticism of any kind. It's always Japan or some other nation's fault. That's why there is no introspection and self-improvement, and Korean culture as well as its people remain backward and underdeveloped. That is why you will never hear them acknowledge that their own Korean government was complicit in the sex trade of Korean women during the war and even as recent as the 1980's.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/world/asia/08iht-08korea.19174342.html

They will play out this victim card for compensation as long as they can. You can count on it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You will never hear Koreans criticize themselves or accept criticism of any kind...That's why there is no introspection and self-improvement, and Korean culture as well as its people remain backward and underdeveloped.

Generalizations against an entire people. What kind of person makes such a comment? The world has seen how far South Korea has come.

Korea, in building relations with Vietnam, did take steps to acknowledge the actions of many of its soldiers who fought there. Koreans who served have written about their experiences with remorse. All that seems to have satisfied Vietnam, which goes to demonstrate if atonement is sought out properly from the start, it does not have to be continually revisited.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

jaseinspace1JUN. 07, 2014 - 04:35AM JST This is relevant to the overall issue of blame. As I say, there's no question that Japan deserves its share, but having lived in Korea for several years, I never heard Koreans take responsibility for their part. The finger is always pointed at Japan without taking responsibility for their own part.

Ridiculous, look, there is no atrocity committed that didn't involve the complicity, approval or involvement of people from the group that suffered from the atrocity. Some Jews helped Germans find other Jews, some willingly worked for the French, and some Koreans were involved in recruiting young women to become sex-slaves". So what?! Whose idea was the comfort women stations, who created them, who oversaw them, who managed them? Japan. Right, that's who the world should go after.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

letsberealisticJun. 07, 2014 - 11:02AM JST Ridiculous, look, there is no atrocity committed that didn't involve the complicity, approval or involvement of people from the group that suffered from the atrocity. Some Jews helped Germans find other Jews, some willingly worked for the French, and some Koreans were involved in recruiting young women to become sex-slaves". So what?!

How is it ridiculous? Were the European Nazis Collaborators not prosecuted after the war for their crimes?

In the case of the Korean collaborators they weren't, most if not all Chinilpa ever met the gallows for their collaborations. Many of them actually stayed in power after the war and some were even elected to higher office.

Did you know that South Korea prosecuted very few Japanese collaborators after the war? They waited over 50 years to go after them and even then it was a half hearted attempt.

The reality is that many powerful and influential Korean's made a living by working with Japan before and after the war. And many not-so powerful or influential Korean's worked for the Japanese administration before and during it also.

letsberealisticJun. 07, 2014 - 11:02AM JST Whose idea was the comfort women stations, who created them, who oversaw them, who managed them? Japan. Right, that's who the world should go after.

Now, can you provide unfettered proof of your claims?

Next tell me something if Korean's weren't involved in the creation, overseeing them and managing them how did South Korea create manage, oversaw and managed the UN Comfort Stations during the Korean war.

Then, how did South Korea continue to provide these Comfort Station to the US forces stationed in South Korea?

Tell me, do you also blame the Japanese for these Comfort stations or could it be that South Korea had something to do with them?

Inquiring minds want to know.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The reality is that many powerful and influential Korean's made a living by working with Japan before and after the war.

Well, shame on them. Working with Japan at that time equaled corrupting themselves.

Next tell me something if Korean's weren't involved in the creation, overseeing them and managing them how did South Korea create manage, oversaw and managed the UN Comfort Stations during the Korean war.

This is perverse thinking. Most accept that there is a culture that accepts prostitution as within the bounds of legality, provided women were not subject to mistreatment, and were acting of their own volition. What these particular comfort women are claiming is that they were both misled and mistreated by the Japanese.

Where is the evidence that unwilling Korean women were gang-raped by UN soldiers, the way 15-year-old Korean girls were raped by the Japanese? Inquiring minds want to know.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

yabitsJun. 08, 2014 - 08:49AM JST The reality is that many powerful and influential Korean's made a living by working with Japan before and after the war. Well, shame on them. Working with Japan at that time equaled corrupting themselves.

But, nothing happened to these people and most of them stayed in power. Now, shame on who, the Japanese or the South Korean's?

yabitsJun. 08, 2014 - 08:49AM JST This is perverse thinking. Most accept that there is a culture that accepts prostitution as within the bounds of legality, provided women were not subject to mistreatment, and were acting of their own volition.

Oh, so if the Japanese used Comfort women those women were all innocent victims, but when it's the allies the women were prostitutes, got it.

Now, you were saying something about perverse thinking? Best look into a mirror or just look at your reflection on your monitor.

yabitsJun. 08, 2014 - 08:49AM JST What these particular comfort women are claiming is that they were both misled and mistreated by the Japanese. Where is the evidence that unwilling Korean women were gang-raped by UN soldiers, the way 15-year-old Korean girls were raped by the Japanese? Inquiring minds want to know.

So, in other words you have no proof and it's all based on opinion and their words, got it.

BTW, if they just wanted an apology they would have accepted the one Japan gave way back in 1997. But we all know that this has nothing to do with an apology and everything to do with COMPENSATION.

Now, as for some tidbits of information about the UN/US/Allied Comfort women you claim were just prostitutes.

First look up Sex Among Allies by Katharine H. S. Moon ,

Here are some excerpts from her book

http://zeroempty000.blogspot.jp/2007/03/comfort-women-in-korea-after.html

Now here are some fun filled facts of the human trafficking that took place at these "rest and relaxation" stations.

http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/modern_day_comfort_women.pdf

http://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/e-journal/articles/gage.pdf

http://stanford.edu/group/womenscourage/cgi-bin/blogs/structuralviolence/2009/01/22/the-united-states-south-korea-and-comfort-women/

http://allisonkilkenny.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/ex-prostitutes-say-south-korea-and-us-enabled-sex-trade-near-bases/

http://www.humantrafficking.org/countries/south_korea

http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korea-thriving-sex-industry-powerful-wealthy-super-state-1222647

Human trafficking is human trafficking no matter whoever does it. If one damns one side while turning a blind-eye to another, well that's called hypocrisy.

South Korea was involved in the trafficking of young women for the Japanese and is still involved in human trafficking for the US.

They got so good at the recruiting and managing of Comfort Station during WWII that when the UN and the US came to town they had no problems setting up and managing these station for them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh, so if the Japanese used Comfort women those women were all innocent victims, but when it's the allies the women were prostitutes, got it.

It would depend upon the testimony of the women involved. The Japanese arguing here seem to take the position that a prostitute can't be victimized. They seem to argue that since the "allies" used prostitutes, whatever Japan did to women was OK. Well, I recall my days in the military, where we were instructed not to go to prostitutes. The Japanese military, on the other hand, was directly involved in establishing and running their brothels. Quite a difference.

BTW, if they just wanted an apology they would have accepted the one Japan gave way back in 1997

Unfortunately, there are too many revisionists in Japan's leadership to make any apology stick. Japan is simply not sincere in its apologies. That is a big problem.

Now, as for some tidbits of information about the UN/US/Allied Comfort women you claim were just prostitutes.

The damning thing in many of the documents you provided is that they point back to the wartime system set up by Japan. I suspect that Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910 brought along with it the corrupting influence of "legal" prostitution. This was not something the Koreans influenced the Japanese to do.

Still, in all of your "tidbits" there is no evidence of UN/allies gang-raping unwilling women as the Comfort Women of this article relate in their personal stories regarding the Japanese military. As such, your attempts to make a point are revealing in and of themselves. I don't know what the penalty is for gang-rape, but certainly it is deserving of a sincere apology and some compensation, since Japan's military was representing Japan.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

yabitsJun. 09, 2014 - 06:20AM JST

Unfortunately, there are too many revisionists in Japan's leadership to make any apology stick. Japan is simply not sincere in its apologies. That is a big problem.

You know the little history of that apology. The apology was based partially on the testimonies of former Korean ianfu. But later, they turned out to be false testimonies. Naturally, there are moves in Japan to rescind the apology as far as the false testimonies are concerned. I think the persons who made false testimonies have no right to complain.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But later, they turned out to be false testimonies.

The false statements by the defenders of the Japanese wartime system are hard to keep track of. How is it specifically that the woman in the article, Kim Bok-Dong, has "testified" falsely?

What I have seen of the Japanese revisionists' claims they are more along the lines of: "Ms. P. claims that she was forced to have sexual relations with 40 troops in one day, but the number could not have exceeded 35." Or "she claims she was 15, but she was really 16."

Keep in mind that such conflicting testimony is ultimately up for an impartial jury to decide. That testimony comes from women of various backgrounds and is very consistent as to Japanese military abuse. So the jury of world opinion will not be swayed very positively towards Japan's revisionists in this matter.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites