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Public opinion, legal hurdles cloud outlook for Japan-S Korea forced labor row

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By Linda Sieg and Hyonhee Shin

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if Japan's government cared about popular opinion they would not be amending the constitution to send SDF forces overseas nor would they be raising taxes next year. When was the last time Abe based decisions on popular opinion??

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Japan has threatened to seek international arbitration of the dispute, but Kono told reporters it would wait to see what steps South Korean President Moon Jae-in's government takes.

I think that is an excellent idea. No way these 2 are going to see eye to eye. Let an independent neutral body analyze both claims with the agreement that both sides would abide by the findings of this independent commitee. Then, if any side breaks the agreement or goes back on their word, they can be denounced internationally or sanctioned or whatever...

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Let an independent neutral body analyze both claims with the agreement that both sides would abide by the findings of this independent commitee.

Great idea! But we know it will never happen. They would be exposed internationally for handling this manner irresponsibly like children. There would be egg-on-faces, and someone would learn that a deep bow for the cameras (when actions speak differently) do not cut in the rest of the world.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

In 2000, the German government and companies set up a forced labor fund to compensate Hitler-era victims, a format some experts said could be a model for Japan - although whether Japanese firms would be willing to contribute is not clear.

It's quite clear that Japan does not want to follow Germany's good example on war-crime atonement.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

Without doubt this issue should be brought before the ICJ. However, in order to do so both parties must agree to accept ICJ jurisdiction and abide by the ruling, regardless of what it may be. Japan is a signatory to an agreement that accepts ICJ jurisdiction and acceptance of it's ruling. However, South Korea is not. For this reason, Japan has suggested going before the ICJ to settle the Liancourt Rocks dispute 3 times and South Korea has refused all 3 times. So it is extremely unlikely that they would go before the ICJ on this issue.

Leaving that aside, South Korea may or may not realize what a precedent it has created that will now alarm the entire world. Nations have fought countless wars over the last couple of centuries and in modern times when a war is over a peace treaty of sorts is agreed upon by the two parties. Such treaties put an end to civil actions by individuals of those nations because (1) it runs counter to the intent of the peace treaty in that reparations and other forms of compensation on a national level are meant to put to rest any further claims, and (2) prevent the massive clogging of the court systems of the two nations by accepting countless claims for damages incurred during times of war. There have been a number of claims brought by American WWII veterans which have all been dismissed by a US Federal Court on the grounds that the 1951 San Francisco Treaty settled all such issues.

While South Korea (which did not exist until WWII was over)was never at war with Japan, it did sign an equivalent Treaty in 1965. And this action will raise the question of South Korean credibility as regards diplomatic relations with other nations. The south Korean government claims to be trying to mitigate the damage to SJ-JPN relations but frankly I think the damage has been done. Just as the surviving Comfort Women were suppose to receive funds earmarked for Korean "individuals who suffered" in 1965 but the money kept and used by the SK government, it has the responsibility to settle civil claims such as this one.

As an American I am really sick and tired of South Korean revisionist history (google Hong Sa-ik) and their constant attempt to disrupt our pacific strategic alliances. If South Korea is psychologically unable to rid themselves of their Chinese tributary mentality, I'd like to see all US troops pulled out of South Korea and let them do what they want to do. Tired of my tax money wasted on a country that keeps working against us. And if defense of South Korea is no longer our concern then we can reduce our footprint in Japan as well.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

If Japan had just been more honest decades ago none of this stuff would be happening now. SKorea comes off as whinny & Japan comes off as not wanting to admit its past

As Charlie Brown would say GOOD GRIEF!

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Abe and his goons are on a Kamikaze mission with this topic, 10% GST and high debts

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Cheque book closed, no more yen

3 ( +6 / -3 )

There are no limits to the claims that could be lodged---going back to Hideyoshi's time. Even if more money is handed over---where will it finish up?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

How can you claim that those who were deprived of their liberty and forced to work as slaves do not deserve redress? The US owes its citizens of African descent enormous reparations, and every country that had a colonial empire in which the indigenous people were treated as chattel should be on the hook for the same.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

and every country that had a colonial empire in which the indigenous people were treated as chattel should be on the hook for the same.

Macedonians would be paying off half of Asia for generations to come due to Alexander's rampage. But maybe they could get some money back from the Romans. That's if the Romans had any money back after repaying half of northern Europe. Which would need money to compensate their vast colonies. Who also took turns in butchering & enslaving each other for centuries. I just want to know who's signing my cheque?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I'd like to see all US troops pulled out of South Korea and let them do what they want to do. 

Why are they there, and did they kill any Koreans or divide the country?

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

To have such issues lingering on with your no.3 export partner (? Or how to call that relationship) shows the level of international competence that can be achieved in Eastasia.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Germany didn't accept further claims for war reparations from Greece. I wonder why these articles always forget that, when they are recent facts.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Japan could start to ban Korean pop culture. I know that South Korea continues to ban Japanese pop culture to some extent, to fuel anti-Japanese feelings. So, I think Japan could follow South Korea example. Enough is enough.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Eventually, the Northeast Asians have to choose between justice and prejudice, fairness and biases, Confucianism and Imperialism, sovereignty and colonization.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

"AgentX Today 08:48 am JST

In 2000, the German government and companies set up a forced labor fund to compensate Hitler-era victims, a format some experts said could be a model for Japan - although whether Japanese firms would be willing to contribute is not clear.

It's quite clear that Japan does not want to follow Germany's good example on war-crime atonement."

It seems like Someone doesn't know that Any ex-major powers, EVEN GERMANY, has neither apologized nor compensated for their past colonizations.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Akie: they should look at the EU. The egoism of the German-French axis is bringing to the collapse of the project, and this will play positively for the US and any other superpower. Division is always a source of weakness, so I supported the EU project, but now I am accepting its failure, because I care about my Country interests, and this EU only oppressed my Country.

China and both the Koreas shouldn't oppress Japan with claims for facts happened almost 100 years ago, or they will push it into the American sphere always more. China understood this, so it is using a softer approach with Japan. South Korea continues its anti-Japanese politics and rhetoric, and I wonder what this political agenda hides.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

‚neither apologized nor compensated for their past colonizations‘

The point is that this is the mayor issue. Consider the Euro currency!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The USA set up Liberia as a home for freed slaves and their dependants-as reparations. Untold billions of dollars from Ship Registrations flowed in but due to their own mismanagement it has all come to nought. Liberia is a failed state with it's people leaving to become refugees. Lots of money and good will doesn't necessarily work.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There is no such a thing as anti-Japan, only anti-Japan's past crimes and the attitude to deny it. Look at the trade and people's exchange and long lasting peaceful time since the end of war and you will agree with me. It takes two to tango, the repeated apologies are reversed by repeated offenses by some very few Japanese politicians. However, it is not unnormal, given human nature. Koreans do have the right to express their own views and feelings, it is normal and lawful and expected. I believe that there is an effort for the three nations to work on history and I hope that it will be successful. As I said, we all should read situation correctly and appropriately: there is no anti-Japan effort by both Koreas and China. Resentment, yes and fair to Japanese people. Being parents, we all wish our children behave, spanking is necessary, sometimes, but most times, kisses and loves.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I find very funny when I read everywhere Koreans saying "if only Japan was like Germany", because it's obvious they are very ignorant about Europe, they speak like if they knew our situation. Germany is the REASON WHY many Europeans want to escape from the EU.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Alex80, I agree that some Koreans are ignorant, but the same thing can be said to Japanese. The difference is that there are more fools in Japan, but there are also more oracles too. The problem for Northeast Asians is that they are too easy to be fooled: the west isn't that good they believed it is, at the same time, it isn't as bad either.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

@Akie: when resentment for war crimes happened almost one century ago, can ruin current relationships, it's not "normal". Also in Europe, we have sometimes politicians who express controversial opinions about fascism and stuff, and in those cases you have some kind of negative public reaction, but that's all. It's never able to ruin the diplomatic relations between States. Again, Europe is very different from East Asia. We are more based on the present than on the past, also because our history of invasions is so complex that we can't waste time on discussing eternally about the past. But the past can be brought conveniently into the discussion, if you are acting in a detrimental way NOW.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Alex80, by law, the west and the east are different, no dispute at all. Japan used to believe it is a part of west and behaved as such, but now they deny it. Abe govt still believes that Japan is more associated with the west, ignoring the fact that it is located in the east. The truth is that when the sun rises, it is in the east. When it downs, it is in the west.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

About South Korea/Japan, in my opinion, things could be fixed this way:

Dokdo/Takeshima islands: Japan should let these islands to South Korea. They are already ruled by South Korea, so move on.

Sea of Japan: seriously, all the world calls it that way, except for South Korea. In this case South Korea should only give up, and accept this name.

The rising sun flag controversy: South Korea should give up, it's like to ask to the UK to change the Union Jack.

Comfort women and forced labor: South Korea should accept that everything related to Japanese occupation was settled with the 1965 agreement, also because any new deal, is never enough to South Korea.

Japan should remember more openly in its history books its war atrocities, but also South Korea should remember more openly the role of Korean collaborationists in Imperial Japan and other stuff that they don't want to admit.

This is my personal opinion, but I know that the interests involved in these historical controversies are very complicated and important for the internal agendas of these Countries, and their foreign policy is also influenced by superpowers like the US and China.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Alex80

They are already ruled by South Korea, so move on.

Life of any Japanese politician who agree to this is in danger by Japan's rightwingers.

Sea of Japan: seriously, all the world calls it that way, except for South Korea.

Actually the name use is already in decrease. I watch The Weather Channel videos and am surprised to find exclusively East Sea while showing weather forecast. About 30% of electronic navigation charts in use only list East Sea nowadays as well. Let us recall that IHS UNANIMOUSLY with the single exception of Japan rejected Japan's call to keep the name Sea of Japan. So everybody at IHS is willing to change the sea name, and is urging Japan and Korea to come up with an agreement. So the Sea of Japan name use is in fact in decline, and only time will take care of this naturally. Of course Japanese press won't provide coverage to Japanese public.

The rising sun flag controversy:

The Rising Sun flags is equivalent to Nazi Swastika flag and must forever be banned. It is already banned at OCA(Olympic Committee of Asia), AFC(Asian Football Confederation), and La Liga. Anyone who promotes the Rising Sun flag should be ashamed of themselves.

Comfort women and forced labor: South Korea should accept that everything related to Japanese occupation was settled with the 1965 agreement

Comfort women issue was not a part of the 1965 treaty and is in fact a matter of crimes against humanity.

As for the forced labor, once again nowhere in 1965 treaty mention damages claim and Japan in fact shot itself in the foot by rejecting the ROK offer to include the word damages in the treaty and has to deal with its consequences.

South Korea should remember more openly the role of Korean collaborationists in Imperial Japan and other stuff that they don't want to admit.

Actually they do, there is a national encyclopedia of the collaborators during the Japanese occupation time and their descendants are ashamed.

One thing Korea does extremely well compared to China and Japan is history education; for example, you will find much better historical description of all of Japan's major WW2 battles in Korean sources than in Japanese sources, hour by hour. Koreans do this so that they can learn from Japan's mistakes and not to repeat them for themselves. I find this pretty astounding that you will find better historical accounts of China and Japan in Korea than in China and Japan, but that's the way it is.

This is the root of tension between Japan and Korea; Japan has a history amnesia, while Korea has a photographic accounts of history.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

@Samit Basu:

Unlike you, I don't see in the international press an increase of the use of the name "East Sea" compared to "Sea of Japan". Honestly, my life doesn't change if that name changes, I only think South Korea could give up, since the name Sea of Japan is already accepted worldwide. I don't see the necessity to change the status quo, exactly how I don't see the necessity to change the status quo about Dokdo. I don't care about what Korean and Japanese politicians think about it, I am expressing my opinion as a European person interested in international geopolitics. Peace can be realized only if both the Countries give up on some stuff. About the rising sun flag, it can't be compared to the Nazi Swastika, here in the West we don't see how that comparison can work, since that flag was born before Japanese imperialism, and this is why we use that flag like decoration on many goods, like clothes and hats. About the 1965 agreement, I read the exact opposite of what you are saying, indeed I read that Japan proposed to South Korea to use the money also for individual compensation, but South Korea rejected. About history education in Japan and in South Korea, I believe it's bad in both the Countries. I am not able to speak Japanese and Korean, but I love reading the international press in English, including Japanese and Korean newspapers. According to my cultural background as an Italian person, I found South Korean press way more nationalist and biased than Japanese press, so I am not sure about your words. I am speaking exclusively of press in English, so I can't judge the press written in Korean and Japanese.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Alex80

 I only think South Korea could give up

Or Japan could give up and adapt a neutral name(East Sea is already neutral enough) like the Blue Sea.

I don't see the necessity to change the status quo

The US has agreed to hand over the wartime command of US troops to the ROK defense ministry and will be under the ROK control during wartime combat and major joint exercises. Korea and its surrounding waters is the only place on earth where the US military has agreed to accept foreign command and control. Any discrepancy between two in geographic naming can be confusing and troubling, since the ROK military under any circumstances will not use the name "Sea of Japan" so the ROK and the US military already deals with this by referring to the area by the geographic coordinates.

exactly how I don't see the necessity to change the status quo about Dokdo.

If the status of the Liancourt Rocks is changed, then Japan will also be under pressure to accept the Russian rule of the Kurils. On top of that, Japan conceding the Liancourt Rocks and the Kurils won't solve the Diaoyu Islands disputes, since China is hell bent on taking back the islets by war if necessary.

About the rising sun flag, it can't be compared to the Nazi Swastika

It is the Japanese equivalent of the Nazi Swastika.

here in the West we don't see how that comparison can work, 

And the ROK is trying to educate the equivalency in the West, since the East has accepted their equivalency and has banned the Rising Sun flags in international sports events.

About history education in Japan and in South Korea, I believe it's bad in both the Countries.

It is just Japan with poor history education. It is not just history education that I am talking about, but the quality and quantity of historic archives and resources available to general public.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@Alex80

In case you are confused by the ROK defense military commanding US troops in war time story, refer to this news.

The US considers the ROK military to be competent enough to command and control its own troops. Of course the US will never hand over the war time command of US Forces in Japan to Japan.

http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/kim-jong-un-getting-ready-meet-bunch-world-leaders

Changing of the Guard

On Wednesday, the U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs agreed to a plan for **giving Seoul command during the event of any war on the Korean Peninsula.** Although unrelated to the recent detente with Kim, the plan illustrates the changing role of America’s postwar troop presence in the region.

The document laid out guiding principles for a “conditions-based transition” — including keeping a U.S. general as deputy commander — while guaranteeing American troops would continue to be stationed in South Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis and South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo also agreed to conduct a joint study next year to assess the alliance’s role, after North Korea’s “final, fully verified denuclearization.”

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

@Samit Basu: another sign about how much different is history teaching in your Country, compared to mine, is the fact that you honestly think that the West needs to be "educated" by the ROK about the Rising Sun Flag meaning. I expressed my personal view about it, but I know perfectly that here in the West, the governments will see that flag according to their strategical interests. So, they will agree with the ROK position about it, when and if it will be convenient for them acting this way, not as a result of "education" by the ROK. I found so many Koreans like you on internet, that think they need to educate us Westerns about the "Evil Japan". Honestly, this shows how naive many Koreans are, and their lack of critical skills, compared to us Westerns.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Alex80

You think that a detailed way to tell every battle in WWII, is a sign of good history teaching.

It is good for drawing up a battle plan against Japan. This is why Koreans are 100% guaranteed to defeat Japan if there were to be a military resolution to ongoing disputes, because Koreans know Japan's history well but Japanese don't know Japan's history at all, namely what went wrong for Imperial Japan.

This is why one must study history to the fullest extent no matter how painful it is, no sugar coating is acceptable.

the fact that you honestly think that the West needs to be "educated" by the ROK about the Rising Sun Flag meaning.

Nazi Swastika doesn't carry the same strong meaning in the East as it does in Europe and US and Asians must be educated on the meanings of Nazi Swastika.

The same goes for the Rising Sun flag. This is the Asian equivalent of Nazi Swastika flag in Asia but Europeans and Americans, so Europeans and Americans must be educated on the true meaning of the Rising Sun flag.

they will agree with the ROK position about it

There, you admit Europe and the US generally agree that the Rising Sun flag is evil.  

I found so many Koreans like you on internet

LOL, this confirms you are indeed Japanese. Only Japanese accuse people who criticize Japan to be Chinese or Korean and you are no different. I have never met non-Japanese who accuse me of being Chinese or Korean for criticizing Japan.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

@Samit Basu: Sorry, I am not Japanese. ^^" It's evident enough how your education is strongly different from mine. How can I explain you...Here in Italy we don't teach history to learn how to act in war...unlike what happens in your Country, apparently. And if I said that I met on internet many Koreans like you, it's not because I assumed by default they were Koreans because they were criticizing Japan, I knew they were Koreans because they TOLD me that they were Koreans. And they were as much as nationalist like you, speaking about how they will win their next war against Japan. ^^" I believe my impression about South Korean education is really correct, and there's something pretty wrong with it. At least, I am able to see the reasons why here in Europe nationalism is increasing everywhere, and how it was basically induced. I could look a bit nationalist myself when I speak about my Country, Italy, but I fought so much against any possible "nationalist contamination" of my mind. Anyway, if sometimes if I could sound nationalist, it is the inevitable result of the terrible pressure against my Country, not of our school education.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Reparations? How about some from South Korea for the crimes commited by their army in Vietnam during that war. All of the children left behind---never a word from anyone about that!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Alex80

speaking about how they will win their next war against Japan.

Huh, ALL of Japan's neighbors wanting to settle scores with Japan by war is an open secret. This is why Japan needs to study history to the fullest account to better defend itself, because Japan is hopeless if Japanese don't know why Imperial Japan lost but Japan's enemies do. But that's exactly the situation we have on hand, and this is extremely dangerous for Japan.

At least, I am able to see the reasons why here in Europe nationalism is increasing everywhere

I don't have to be in Europe to see why that is happening.

But you apparently can't tell what's wrong with things in Asia unless you are physically present in Asia.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

@Samit Basu: I am able to see what is happening in East Asia perfectly. Fueling nationalism everywhere, by using past events that should be let to historians for healthy discussions, is one of the conditions for history repeating itself, putting population of different Countries against each other.

And in East Asia this nationalism is the result of education, unlike in my Country, where education isn't nationalist at all. In my Country it is especially the result of the massive immigration in a period of strong economic crisis. This created so much social instability.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

About the rising sun flag meaning, it's clear you missed my point completely. Independently by my personal view about it, do you really think the Western governments are ignorant about that flag history? This is what I meant when I said some Koreans are naive, when they say they need to educate us Westerns about these things. If our governments have been okay with that flag so far, it's not because they are "ignorant" about its history, it's because to them is convenient this way. And if and when they will change their mind about it, it means that their strategical needs will be changed.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Alex80

Fueling nationalism everywhere, by using past events that should be let to historians for healthy discussions, is one of the conditions for history repeating itself, putting population of different Countries against each other.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana

This is why Japan and Japanese must remember the past to the fullest details in its brutal honesty, or Japan is bound to repeat the tragic end of Imperial Japan, which I don't want to see happen. But Japan is heading toward that inevitable end if nothing changes.

Since Koreans remember the past with a photographic vivid memory(Chinese less so, but still better than Japanese), they are guaranteed to not repeat it. Japanese suffering from collective amnesia on the other hand...

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

@Samit Basu: again, we have a different education about history. In Italy we learn that history will repeat itself, when the Countries create the conditions for it repeating itself, and fueling nationalism is one of these conditions, not the fact that in history textbooks the battles are not told "hour by hour", or the war crimes are not described in every single graphic detail.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Readers, you are just going around in circles. No further discussion along these lines please.

Samit BasuToday 06:58 am JST

Since Koreans remember the past with a photographic vivid memory(Chinese less so, but still better than Japanese), they are guaranteed to not repeat it. Japanese suffering from collective amnesia on the other hand...

Oh please you people had rewrote and beaten history so out of shape that anyone out side of Korea does not recognize what you are talking about.

Try arguing what's written within the link;

http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/89_S4.pdf

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@expat 1000 thumbs up!!

How can you claim that those who were deprived of their liberty and forced to work as slaves do not deserve redress? The US owes its citizens of African descent enormous reparations, and every country that had a colonial empire in which the indigenous people were treated as chattel should be on the hook for the same.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan most certainly should take South Korea to the ICJ. Of course SK will refuse just like they have with the Liancourt Rocks dispute. Pathetic country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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