politics

Japan, S Korea to discuss 'comfort women' issue

62 Comments

Japan and South Korea will hold talks this week to try to improve frosty relations before President Barack Obama visits both the U.S. allies during an Asian tour, it was announced Sunday.

The two governments "have decided to engage in intensive discussions on various subjects at various levels" to improve conditions surrounding relations, the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement.

Junichi Ihara, head of its Asia and Oceania affairs bureau, will visit Seoul on Wednesday for a meeting with his Korean counterpart, the statement said.

"At the occasion, the 'comfort women' issue will be discussed," it added.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have sunk to their worst level in years, mired in emotive disputes linked to Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over Korea -- particularly its use of so-called "comfort women" from Korea and other Asian nations as sex slaves in wartime brothels.

The emotional issue has deeply divided the key U.S. allies in northeast Asia amid growing regional security risks such as China's military buildup and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Obama managed last month to arrange the first summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, in The Hague.

Japan's government made a landmark apology in 1993 to the "comfort women".

But repeated wavering since then on the issue among senior right-wing politicians has contributed to a feeling in South Korea that Japan is in denial and is not sufficiently remorseful.

Abe, despite his nationalistic inclinations, promised last month not to revise the 1993 apology, and said he was "deeply pained" by the suffering of women drawn into a system of wartime brothels.

© (c) 2014 AFP

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62 Comments
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To understand Koreans, we have to know about "Han" an important sentiment consisting their nature. "Han" means grudge. As an asian race which is influenced a lot from the continent in the past, Japanese people also keep some of the emotions. You can understand it from old Japanese songs which sound sad and whining for westerners. It remains a lot stronger in Korea than in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's time the comfort women issue be nipped in the bud.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Unfortunately I really don't see this resulting in any progress. Is South Korea prepared to concede that Japan already paid compensation in 1965? I doubt it.

-4 ( +11 / -14 )

Well, it's nice to see Japan at least making an effort. Whether or not it amounts to anything is still unknown. But there is no way of knowing without trying.

3 ( +9 / -5 )

I have faith in you Abe. Please make peace. That's what we all want.

0 ( +6 / -5 )

Go Japan. You must put an end and shut whinny Koreans up once and for all.

-11 ( +10 / -20 )

“Japan’s government made a landmark apology in 1993 to the “comfort women”. But repeated wavering since then on the issue among senior right-wing politicians has contributed to a feeling in South Korea that Japan is in denial and is not sufficiently remorseful.”

If Japan has incentives to hold talks with N.K., then the same should hold true with S.K.

The negativity generated from the ways that Abe’s admin handles Japan’s wartime sex slavery have been damaging Japan’s public image big time in the international community. It would be wise for Abe’s gov to find a way to end this once for all.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I pray for good result, the one where Park will say , "all is forgiven now " .

-2 ( +6 / -7 )

OssanAmericaAPR. 14, 2014 - 07:44AM JST Unfortunately I really don't see this resulting in any progress. Is South Korea prepared to concede that Japan already paid compensation in 1965? I doubt it.

Crucially, and perhaps regretfully, this 'they (Koreans) are causing trouble by complaining" is the attitude I get when talking to foreign affairs staff on this issue. There is little effort to take responsibility, be adult and listen to what Korea has to say. You cannot have reasonable and productive diplomatic relations if you persist in not taking responsibility and blaming the other party. Hopefully, Japanese diplomats will walk into the meetings with an open mind, but I suspect they will repeat their mantra ;we have made respirations already'

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

The problem is obviously not "whiny Koreans" (which is what unbelievably said by people who lack morals. Do they not care about comfort women?), but how certain PMs and politicians who refuse to apologize or take any responsibility for the crimes that their government has committed.

There have been some who, or at least one, who apologized, and that is Kono. Honestly, his attitude should be the norm, but unfortunately isn't, due to childish PMs and politicians with too much pride and irresponsibility.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Yawn.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I pray for good result, the one where Park will say , "all is forgiven now " .

Nenad, me too. Everytime I read the words "comfort woman" seems like a never ending dejavu, unfortunately even if a sk head of state oficially "forgive" the past agressions I doubt some citizens would forget about the issue completely. If you walk in the streets of Seoul you can see graphic pictures and monuments showing the suffering caused by the japanese in the korean peninsula, as if urging the people to "Never Forget".

The problem with both countries is the total lack of interest in politics by the youth, hence both countries are ruled solely by old bigots. Hope the youth build a better relation between both countries someday.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

There is nothing wrong with "never forgetting", that's what normal countries do. Normal countries also apologize for their past crimes of their government. Is Korea going overboard, perhaps, but that's not the problem. The problem is not apologizing, which obviously creates resentments. If Japanese PMs and politicians thereafter genuinely apologized like Kono did and Korea was still not satisfied, then we can say that Korea is in the wrong. But that is not the case. Besides it's not necessarily about Korea, but it's about comfort women. There is an Australian victim who said that she WILL have an apology by Abe before she des. Think about that for a moment. Stop being so selfish as to only think about Japan for once. Japan is not the center of the world.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

"wavering since then on the issue among senior right-wing politicians"

Here's to destroying the future!

Pointless demonization!

Bad you, bad me! Forever destroying the future of our children!

Quick! Let's all kill for stupid foolishness!

It’s Fun to die for nonsense!

Sure wish thousands will die for more of it! Die, everyone die! Civilization at its lowest form, meet the nonsense of a seventy year old grudge match to line the pockets of today warmongers. Why not? Dip your bread in blood, yum!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The problem is obviously not "whiny Koreans" (which is what unbelievably said by people who lack morals. Do they not care about comfort women?), but how certain PMs and politicians who refuse to apologize or take any responsibility for the crimes that their government has committed.

Actually it's both. The Japanese government needs to learn how to show proper contrition, but the Koreans do themselves no favors by consistently whining about the situation. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Alienating the people you want to work with you does nothing other that put their hackles up. It does nothing to further their cause.

On one hand I would have expected you to realize this, considering that even though much of what you says has substance, your vitriol has swayed absolutely no one to your cause, and has in fact alienated people. But on the other hand, you obviously haven't realized that, so expecting you to have recognized it in the Korean whining is probably too much to expect.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Pretty please, let bygones be bygones, best news to take back to London today.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nenad Jovanović, They should follow the Philippines. Forgiving is not a hard thing. But hey, if you're $$$$ broke, you are loud and noisy.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Sorry for the wild irony, it's just so sad, so much suffering over so much harm done so long ago. Why should our children suffer from the sins of 1930's. Sorry, I love my kids too much and all I hear is so destructive. Why?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Strangerland

Actually it's both. The Japanese government needs to learn how to show proper contrition, but the Koreans do themselves no favors by consistently whining about the situation. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Alienating the people you want to work with you does nothing other that put their hackles up. It does nothing to further their cause.

LOL, this is yet another ass-backwards way of thinking of yours, Strangerland. You're saying that Korea or any other country should "ask nicely" and say "pretty please" to Japan, as if they were ASKING FOR A FAVOR...!! Unbelievable. Did the Jews "ask nicely" to the Germans, before the Germans apologized? Did Japanese-Americans ask nicely? Should they? NO! Of course not, that's ridiculous. It just goes to show that Japan has too much pride invested in it.

Where is the "whining" in demanding for JUSTICE? Saying that it's "whining" is what's wrong with the typical Japanese attitude. It's about justice, which is a concept that is not very well understood in Japan, unfortunately.

Strangerland

On one hand I would have expected you to realize this, considering that even though much of what you says has substance, your vitriol has swayed absolutely no one to your cause, and has in fact alienated people.

Says you. Unfortunately, the anti-racist crowd in Japan faces the same problem from people like you, who say that they should not "upset the racists" and "rock the boat" and "ask nicely" so forth and so on, which is just yet another way of saying "maintain the status quo". It's the same with the comfort women issue. Don't upset the Japanese, is what they're really saying.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Well, here's hoping things go well during this meeting.

I don't have high hopes, but its nice to see the dialogue begin.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Where is the "whining" in demanding for JUSTICE? Saying that it's "whining" is what's wrong with the typical Japanese attitude. It's about justice, which is a concept that is not very well understood in Japan, unfortunately.

The reality is that Japan doesn't have to do anything. They can deny the comfort women issue until the cows come home, and there is nothing anyone can do about it, Japan being a sovereign country with the right to have whatever official opinion they want.

Korea wants Japan to take a different stance on the matter. Korea has zero power to compel Japan to take a different stance. Therefore the only way they will get Japan to take a different stance is through external influence. There are two ways to create external influence, the first is by imposing external hardships, such as trade sanctions, and the other is through positive encouragement. Whining about this situation does not impose any external hardship, and it is actually harmful to positive encouragement. Therefore whining about it is actually counter productive. Not only does it not do anything to further the cause, it actually hurts the cause.

Take your comments as another example. You insult, make broad sweeping generalizations, and infer the negative for absolutely everything. And what exactly has that done for you? Nothing. You have not swayed anyone to your cause that wasn't already there, and you've alienated a number of others.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Strangerland

The reality is that Japan doesn't have to do anything.

Again, quite an unbelievable statement by Strangerland. JAPAN DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Does not Japan have any moral compass? Should Japan not do the right thing? Jesus H... there really is no hope, is there.

Japan being a sovereign country with the right to have whatever official opinion they want.

"Doing whatever one wants" does not mean that one should act irresponsibly. Japan is part of the international community, and therefore, it is obliged to act according to its rules and laws, such as respecting HUMAN RIGHTS and condemning injustice and war aggression and so forth. Saying that "Japan doesn't have to do anything" is completely and totally wrong, both factually and morally.

"Japan doesn't have to do anything", when there are certain Japanese bands that are sending death threats and CDs with songs claiming to "kill the comfort women" to the comfort women, indeed. Quite unbelievable statements from you.

And yes, there are consequences for Japan not doing anything, like say, having your neighbors be upset at you. Can you imagine what would happen if Germany never apologized for Nazi Germany? Germany would be destroyed by now.

positive encouragement.

Do you honestly think that Japan needs "positive encouragement" to do the RIGHT THING??? Then there is no hope for Japan. It's like saying that Germany needs "positive encouragement" to apologize to the Jews or America needs positive encouragement to apologize for slavery and so forth. Completely unbelievable. But what this all means in the end, is making excuses for Japan.

Take your comments as another example. You insult, make broad sweeping generalizations, and infer the negative for absolutely everything. And what exactly has that done for you? Nothing. You have not swayed anyone to your cause that wasn't already there, and you've alienated a number of others.

Again, says you? You're not saying anything new here. Again, the anti-racist crowd in Japan gets the same treatment. They're saying that it's the "wrong way" or "wrong approach" because the anti-racist crowd are being "insulting" to the racists!! LOL!! You're saying the exact same thing. You're just being handed down the same old Confucius and post-Meiji era Emperor propaganda (that Emperor protects his citizens out of "kindness" NOT because the people have any rights whatsoever). So THAT'S your reasoning for having to "ask nicely".

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

JAPAN DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Does not Japan have any moral compass?

What does moral compass have to do with whether or not they have to do anything? If they choose not to follow said 'moral compass', then they don't have to do anything.

Should Japan not do the right thing?

Again, whether or not they should is irrelevant to whether or not they have to. I think they should myself, but my opinion is irrelevant, because they don't have to. They are a sovereign nation and they can choose to believe whatever they want, regardless of what I or anyone else thinks they should do.

Saying that "Japan doesn't have to do anything" is completely and totally wrong, both factually and morally.

No, it's entirely correct factually. It's maybe not correct morally, but Japan is under no obligation to follow anyone's morality.

Look at North Korea. Pretty much the whole world thinks they are immoral and than they shouldn't be doing most everything that they do. Yet no one can stop them because they are a sovereign nation.

The point we are getting hung up on here is that you are focused on how things should be, and I'm telling you how they are. You are focusing on an ideal, I'm pointing out the reality. The difference is I'm pointing out how to get to that ideal based on the current reality, while you are ignoring the reality and shouting that things should be the ideal. But as I'm pointing out, jumping up and down and screaming will do nothing to move the current reality to the ideal, rather it creates barriers to that ideal becoming true.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Strangerland

Again, whether or not they should is irrelevant to whether or not they have to. I think they should myself, but my opinion is irrelevant, because they don't have to. They are a sovereign nation and they can choose to believe whatever they want, regardless of what I or anyone else thinks they should do.

We're talking about (international) laws, Strangerland, not Japan feeling like it's up to doing it or not. When we're talking about laws, Japan HAS to do it, whether it "feels like it" or not. When we're talking about (universal) morals, Japan is MORALLY OBLIGED to, whether it is legally obliged or not.

No, it's entirely correct factually. It's maybe not correct morally, but Japan is under no obligation to follow anyone's morality.

Again, THERE ARE INTERNATIONAL LAWS, such as respecting human rights. Japan is 100% obliged to act according to the laws.

And morals, such as respecting people's rights, are considered universal.

But as I'm pointing out, jumping up and down and screaming will do nothing to move the current reality to the ideal, rather it creates barriers to that ideal becoming true.

I'm not saying anything new or extraordinary here, and neither are you saying anything new. You're just repeating the same things that some Japanese have been saying forever. Which is to maintain the status quo and to not "rock the boat" and "ask nicely" if you want "favors from the above".

Korea being upset (to people like you, it's apparently "whining") at Japan is the JAPAN'S CONSEQUENCE OF NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND...!

So your answer to someone threatening to kill you, is to "ask them nicely". Yes that's going to work. Brilliant solution, Strangerland.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

We're talking about (international) laws, Strangerland, not Japan feeling like it's up to doing it or not.

There is no international law saying Japan has to repent for the comfort women issue. On top of this, the government actually has an agreement saying that the any grievances with Korea have already been dealt with, though whether or not this covers the comfort women is up for debate.

But ignoring all that, even if there was law, Japan doesn't have to follow it if they don't want. This is the reality of the situation. If they don't follow international law, then they have to face the consequences of that decision whether they like it or not - because they cannot stop other countries from reacting however they want, in the same manner that other countries cannot stop Japan from acting however they want. The reactions of other countries to Japan deciding not to follow international law would likely be two-fold:

1) Sanctions (external hardship)

2) Talks (encouragement)

As you can see, we are right back to my point that to encourage a sovereign nation to do something, those are the two methods that need to be used.

When we're talking about (universal) morals, Japan is MORALLY OBLIGED to, whether it is legally obliged or not.

Moral obligation is an ideal. The reality is that they don't have to do whatever anyone thinks they are morally obliged to, if they don't want to.

Which is to maintain the status quo and to not "rock the boat" and "ask nicely" if you want "favors from the above".

Your vision is so narrow minded that even though this is not what I'm saying at all, it's all that you are able to read into what I am saying.

Korea being upset (to people like you, it's apparently "whining") at Japan is the JAPAN'S CONSEQUENCE OF NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND...!

No, as I originally said, it's both. Japan should do something about it, but they don't because they are annoyed at Korea's whining about it. Korea whines about it because they feel that Japan is not doing anything about it. Both sides feed off each other, and nothing is accomplished as a result.

So your answer to someone threatening to kill you, is to "ask them nicely".

No.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Strangerland

As you can see, we are right back to my point that to encourage a sovereign nation to do something, those are the two methods that need to be used.

LOL, are you not aware of your own contradictions?

You are saying that

1) If Japan doesn't act accordingly, then there will be consequences

and

2) But other countries should ask nicely! And hence Japan is excused of having to face its consequences!

Are you not aware that you're no different than the right-wingers?

Moral obligation is an ideal. The reality is that they don't have to do whatever anyone thinks they are morally obliged to, if they don't want to.

Of course it's an ideal. But if there were no ideal, then there would be no progress of any kind.

No, as I originally said, it's both. Japan should do something about it, but they don't because they are annoyed at Korea's whining about it. Korea whines about it because they feel that Japan is not doing anything about it. Both sides feed off each other, and nothing is accomplished as a result.

Korea being upset (or to you, "whining". Rolls eyes), is JAPAN'S CONSEQUENCE OF NOT DOING ANYTHING! But you're saying that this will make Japan not wanting to "feel like doing it", EVEN THOUGH THAT'S THE EXACT CONSEQUENCE THAT JAPAN IS FACING, RIGHT NOW!

I really don't see how you can't see this.

Again, "both parties are blame" is yet another Tokugawa era Japanese propaganda. It's called 喧嘩両成敗, or whoever makes a fuss gets the blame, whether they are right or wrong. Again, it's what the anti-racist crowds face from the Japanese who want to excuse everything, and it's same with the comfort women issue. IT'S ABOUT CONVENIENTLY IGNORING WHO IS RIGHT AND WHO IS WRONG!

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Ossan: "Unfortunately I really don't see this resulting in any progress."

Of course not. It'll be another example of Japan saying, "Excuse me. Please understand our viewpoint and cooperate. Excuse me." and South Korea not cooperating at all. Japan isn't suddenly about to admit further to atrocities, and SKorea is, rightly, not willing to let Japan go when it won't. Just look at comments from people like Titaniumdioxide:

"Go Japan. You must put an end and shut whinny Koreans up once and for all."

You think that is going to bring about any progress?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

1) If Japan doesn't act accordingly, then there will be consequences

Of course there will be consequences, for every action there is a consequence. That does not mean that Japan has to respond to those consequences in the way that the opposing people want them to. If it did, then North Korean would not have a nuclear weapons program, and they would not be oppressing their people. The fact is, N. Korea does not want to stop their weapons program, nor their oppression of their people, and so they don't. In that same manner, if Japan really doesn't want to apologize for/to the comfort women, there is nothing any country can do to make them. Well, short of war, but war should never be the answer (though that is an ideal).

2) But other countries should ask nicely!

Not exactly. They shouldn't alienate. They aren't the same thing.

Are you not aware that you're no different than the right-wingers?

On the contrary, I have a balanced view that looks at the reality of the situation, and how to make it better. Right-wingers have a singular view with no room for flexibility or improvement. Which is the same as you - you have a narrow view with no room for flexibility or improvement. So looking at the facts, you are more alike to the right-wingers than I am.

Of course it's an ideal. But if there were no ideal, then there would be no progress of any kind.

I agree, but acting in ways that are counter-productive to achieving that ideal also ensures that there is no progress of any kind.

Korea being upset (or to you, "whining". Rolls eyes), is JAPAN'S CONSEQUENCE OF NOT DOING ANYTHING!

Yes, and Japan not doing anything is a consequence of Korean whining. Just like I said in my last post.

IT'S ABOUT CONVENIENTLY IGNORING WHO IS RIGHT AND WHO IS WRONG!

Do you really believe that the world is a solid black and white, that there is a solid right and a solid wrong, with no greys in between?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Strangland... honestly.

Imagine if somebody punched another guy in the face. The victim gets upset, and demands justice or compensation or apologies or whatever. But are you going to say to the victim, "Hold your horses! The aggressor needs respect too! Ask him nicely, and he'll apologize!" No, of course not, anyone would think that that is ridiculous, and achieving justice means that the aggressor apologizing or doing whatever he can to right the wrongs that he had committed. Obviously, it's also not fair to the victim, who had done nothing wrong, and it's only perfectly understandable and normal that he should be upset.

Concerning the comfort women issue, YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY THAT! And quite frankly, so are many other Japanese. You are blaming the victims, as usual.

Not exactly. They shouldn't alienate. They aren't the same thing.

No, you said Japan needs "positive encouragements". Don't excuse.

On the contrary, I have a balanced view that looks at the reality of the situation

Too funny. What you're concerned about is, whether you're aware of it or not, is to "save face" for Japan.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Imagine if somebody punched another guy in the face.

I'll stop you there. It's not comparable. Someone punching someone else in the face will be doing so in a country that will almost definitely have laws against this type of behavior, and whether they like it or not, will have to deal with the consequences of the law, backed up by a police force and a military, whether they like it or not. So the rest of your example is irrelevant, as it is not an equivalent to the situation you are speaking of, between two sovereign nations. But that all said, I'll still address the end of it:

achieving justice means that the aggressor apologizing or doing whatever he can to right the wrongs that he had committed. Obviously, it's also not fair to the victim, who had done nothing wrong, and it's only perfectly understandable and normal that he should be upset.

Yes, achieving justice does mean the aggressor apologizing and righting their wrongs. And it's entirely understandable that the victim is upset. But when dealing with sovereign nations, the other nation doesn't have to do anything if they don't want to, so if they want to deal with their upset, and have the aggressor apologize and right their wrongs, then they would be best using methods that don't include jumping up and down and screaming, since it is very doubtful that the aggressor will be swayed by this behavior.

No, you said Japan needs "positive encouragements". Don't excuse.

Yes. Without encouragement, they will not be swayed to move forward.

Too funny. What you're concerned about is, whether you're aware of it or not, is to "save face" for Japan.

No.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Well anyway, NO country outside of Japan will agree with your ridiculous views, that Japan needs "positive encouragements" (lol) just to do the right thing that any reasonable person or nation is supposed to do. Did Germany need "positive encouragements" to apologize to the Jews and its neighbors? Did America needed encouragements to apologize for slavery or Japanese-American imprisonments? No. EVERY country think that Japan is pretty much is in the wrong here, and that Japan needs to grow up, act responsibly and apologize already.

We're not dealing with children here, Strangerland, Jesus Christ. Nobody "needs" positive encouragements just to APOLOGIZE FOR WAR CRIMES, for crying out loud! I really question your values and morality. Do you not feel sorry for the victims? Are you not upset that Japan is just dragging this on and on, hoping that the comfort women will die already, and their voices will be silenced? Apparently, not.

Japan is facing its consequences of not apologizing, and you're only helping it avoiding the inevitable, that they must one day, owe up to their consequences. You're trying to save face.

they would be best using methods that don't include jumping up and down and screaming, since it is very doubtful that the aggressor will be swayed by this behavior.

Sorry, I've heard the same excuse a million times from the Japanese already. They ALWAYS say the same thing, which is pretty much this. "Oh, don't rock the boat, don't 'upset them'", etc. They're just afraid of what WILL happen, if they demand justice from the aggressor or whatever. This is understandable, since this pretty has not gone well since the Tokugawa government and before that. For the Japanese, demanding justice had always ended up negatively (such as being suppressed), so they're afraid of what WILL happen, if they start demanding justice.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Well anyway, NO country outside of Japan will agree with your ridiculous views, that Japan needs "positive encouragements" (lol) just to do the right thing that any reasonable person or nation is supposed to do.

It doesn't matter whether they agree or not, because I'm not speaking of the way things should be, I'm speaking of the way they are. Burying your head in the sand and pretending that things are a different way does nothing but get sand in your eyes. It certainly does not improve the situation.

Did Germany need "positive encouragements" to apologize to the Jews and its neighbors? Did America needed encouragements to apologize for slavery or Japanese-American imprisonments? No. EVERY country think that Japan is pretty much is in the wrong here, and that Japan needs to grow up, act responsibly and apologize already.

And again, you're speaking of an ideal, without realizing that the only way to achieve that ideal is to work within the current reality to achieve that ideal. And the current reality is that jumping up and down and screaming does not move anything towards the ideal.

Nobody "needs" positive encouragements just to APOLOGIZE FOR WAR CRIMES, for crying out loud!

Yes, you're right. The other option is external hardship. Countries can impose sanctions upon Japan for not apologizing if they feel that that is the best way forward.

I really question your values and morality. Do you not feel sorry for the victims?

Yes, I do. I feel that Japan's behavior on the matter is reprehensible.

Are you not upset that Japan is just dragging this on and on, hoping that the comfort women will die already, and their voices will be silenced?

Yes, I am. I think that Japan would be much better served by atoning for past mistakes, and moving forward with a pledge to commit that they never happen again, rather than trying to deny that they ever happened in the first place.

Apparently, not.

Apparently it's not that apparent, since you were incorrect.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Ok, then please state your reasoning, in a way that other people find convincing, on why "Japan needs 'positive encouragement'" JUST TO APOLOGIZE FOR WAR CRIMES!

Are we dealing with 8 year old children that need support and encouragement? No!

And you are again, faced with yet another contradiction. You called me a "racist" when I said that Japan needed gaiatsu (external pressure) for achieving anything, and yet here you are, saying that Japan needs "encouragements" (i.e. cajoling) just to apologize, which is really another kind of gaiatsu, except that it's only positive.

And again, you're speaking of an ideal, without realizing that the only way to achieve that ideal is to work within the current reality to achieve that ideal. And the current reality is that jumping up and down and screaming does not move anything towards the ideal.

This is just classy. Please tell that to the victims of slavery and racism in America. Sorry, but this kind of an argument works ONLY IN JAPAN...

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Thomas Anderson and Strangerland, please do not address each other anymore on this thread. As usual, you are just bickering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland, @Thomas Anderson - You both seem to be operating under the assumption that everything the Koreans are saying is true, and any questioning of their claims over the issue by any Japanese or others is immoral. Time and again in these comment pages, other contributors have pointed to glaring inconsistencies in the stories told by 'comfort women', the involvement of Korean 'pimps' in the trade, and the strict regulations placed upon the operation of brothels and treatment of prostitutes at the time. Most of the objections to the Korean claims comes not from a denial that prostitution existed, they are about the cherry-picking of the facts to paint Japan in the worst light while absolving themselves of any responsibility - that is, that the trade could not have operated without Korean involvement.

The issue of personal compensation was supposedly put to rest in the 1965 treaty signed by President Park's father, but when the issue came up many decades later, the Korean government not only rejected any apologies, but thwarted attempts to pay compensation via the Asian Women's Fund. Now, the game is that not only must the Emperor personally grovel at the feet of the comfort women and apologize (which is insulting), but also that every person in Japan must accept the Korean biased version of events and never question it to satisfy their demands for 'sufficient contrition' (which is a ridiculous notion and at odds with democratic free speech).

The inanity of the Korean position was recently highlighted when one of Abe's sidekicks (Suga) hinted at reviewing the1993 Kono Statement (apology). Up until that time, the Koreans had refused to acknowledge any Japanese apologies, but luring the Koreans to object to the review was a clever way to get the Korean government to admit that an official apology had been made. This political game would not have been necessary if the Koreans had accepted the Japanese apologies and offers of compensation, in good faith, 20 years ago, rather than using the issue to continually fuel anti-Japanese based nationalism at home. Its time to stop these games.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

But repeated wavering since then on the issue among senior right-wing politicians has contributed to a feeling in South Korea that Japan is in denial and is not sufficiently remorseful.

Can one enforce remorse? Does one have the right to expect continual, never ending shows of remorse? Does showing remorse actually help anyone? Can we agree on a definition of what remorse looks like?

No, no, no and no.

Utter and complete waste of time to meet the Koreans for discussion on this matter. Junichi Ihara should stay home.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Yet again, the Japanese are still in denial, in their own little wishful thinking world hoping that things aren't really "that bad", and that if they ignore the problem, then it will go away. Attempting to save face like strangerland will only help them "cushion" the hurt, causing them to be in utter denial even further. Obviously, that is not the answer.

I really don't think that most of the Japanese are aware of the gravity of the situation, how badly and utterly they hurt and ruined the lives of women. They even go as far as to call them liars, "prostitute hags", and so forth. Where else would you get this kind of disrespect anywhere else in the world?

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Its good to see them sitting down and talking about it. Hopefully, they can maintain a higher level of objectivity than some of the commentators on this thread. Fingers crossed they will work out a way to agree to disagree politely and both save face so this issue can be resolved as amicably as possible.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

These are not the droids you are looking for........

The era of Japanese Imperialism never occurred........

There were never any Korean Comfort Women...........

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

All I learned from this issue is, all the right-wing nutjobs love to generalise all the people in particular nations in one word. That's why there is no way to fix this issue currently when one side refuses to look from the other viewpoint and remains unapologetic and repulsively belligerent. Rather than keep scheduling the meeting that leads to nowhere, build a monument in Seoul and get it over with.

There were monuments for pretty much every victims from World war 2 but Asian atrocities were never really brought in much huge international scale, instead they were pretty much swept under the rug by the US. it would really have to be the one these Asian countries should take the anger out on if it was possible. However, US economy has been keeping those countries above the float and they simply lack the power to go against US. Japan on the other hand is very close by and vulnerable like the rest of them. It was very convenient for both China and Korea to hold on to those grudges to Japan and quite reasonable since Japan was the aggressor under the guise of protection from the Western domination.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yet again, the Koreans are still in denial, in their own little wishful thinking world hoping that things we say are really "the true", and that if we press the problem, then it will become the truth.

Here Thomas I fixed for you. LoL

Read SecularBeast's post and try refuting what we had posted.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

igloobuyerApr. 14, 2014 - 08:58AM JST "OssanAmericaAPR. 14, 2014 - 07:44AM JST Unfortunately I really don't see this resulting in any progress. Is South > >There is little effort to take responsibility, be adult and listen to what Korea has to say. You cannot have reasonable >and productive diplomatic relations if you persist in not taking responsibility and blaming the other party. Hopefully, >Japanese diplomats will walk into the meetings with an open mind, but I suspect they will repeat their mantra ;we have >made respirations already'

Japan has made compensation (which the South Korean government kept secret fro it's people) and they have apologized. What more responsibilty is required?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Ossan: "Japan has made compensation (which the South Korean government kept secret fro it's people) and they have apologized. What more responsibilty is required?"

Sincerity.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

OssanAmericaAPR. 14, 2014 - 09:58PM JST igloobuyerApr. 14, 2014 - 08:58AM JST "OssanAmericaAPR. 14, 2014 - 07:44AM JST Unfortunately I really don't see this resulting in any progress. Is South > >There is little effort to take responsibility, be adult and listen to what Korea has to say. You cannot have reasonable >and productive diplomatic relations if you persist in not taking responsibility and blaming the other party. Hopefully, >Japanese diplomats will walk into the meetings with an open mind, but I suspect they will repeat their mantra ;we have >made respirations already' Japan has made compensation (which the South Korean government kept secret fro it's people) and they have apologized. What more responsibilty is required?

How about maintaining an attitude of remorsefulness and regret in action (text-books, memorials) and words (media, politicians) to prove the apologies were genuine and unchangeable?

After invading (China), raping, murdering and torturing a people you can't seriously expect China and Korea to be all nice and friendly with Japan after some money and a few insincere apologies have been thrown at them can you? A genuine apologetic and remorseful attitude must be maintained, probably forever, if relations are ever to be good.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

After invading (China), raping, murdering and torturing a people you can't seriously expect China and Korea to be all nice and friendly with Japan after some money and a few insincere apologies have been thrown at them can you? A genuine apologetic and remorseful attitude must be maintained, probably forever, if relations are ever to be good.

To my knowledge, the US has never apologized to Vietnam, you don't hear them whining lick a stuck pig. We'll, do ya? SK and China have no business telling another country what should or shouldn't be in their text books. Educate their own and let japan fall apart. There will will be no wars between these three countries so this is just kicking sand around.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

igloobuyerApr. 15, 2014 - 12:02AM JST "OssanAmericaAPR. 14, 2014 - 09:58PM JST igloobuyerApr. 14, 2014 - 08:58AM JST "OssanAmericaAPR. 14, 2014 - 07:44AM JST Unfortunately I really don't see this resulting in any progress. Is South > >There is little effort to take responsibility, be adult and listen to what Korea has to say. You cannot have reasonable >and productive diplomatic relations if you persist in not taking responsibility and blaming the other party. Hopefully, >Japanese diplomats will walk into the meetings with an open mind, but I suspect they will repeat their mantra ;we have >made respirations already' Japan has made compensation (which the South Korean government kept secret fro it's people) and they have apologized. What more responsibilty is required?"

How about maintaining an attitude of remorsefulness and regret in action (text-books, memorials) and words (media, >politicians) to prove the apologies were genuine and unchangeable?

Maintaining an attitude? they've apologized, paid compensation and signed a peace treaty. The reason this issue cam never be resolved is because Koreans seem to think that unless Japan complies with every one of their self centered requests Japan has "no remorse". This is nonsense. You want proof that the apologies were genuine? They haven't tried to occupy Korea again have they?

After invading (China), raping, murdering and torturing a people you can't seriously expect China and Korea to be all >nice and friendly with Japan

But both were while signing peace treaties and taking Japan's money.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

OssanAmerica Apr. 15, 2014 - 02:58AM JST You want proof that the apologies were genuine?

When you have your PM and 168 J-goverment representatives going to Yasukuni, I guess in your mind you can call it genuine apology and a proof to South Korea and China.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

sfjp330Apr. 15, 2014 - 04:17AM JST "OssanAmerica Apr. 15, 2014 - 02:58AM JST You want proof that the apologies were genuine? When you have your PM and 168 J-goverment representatives going to Yasukuni, I guess in your mind you can call it >genuine apology and a proof to South Korea and China.

I don't have a PM. I have a President. But you probably mean the Japanese PM. So tell me how many of those J-politicians went to Yasukuni to pray for a revival of the Comfort Women System. None. Hence your post is irrelevant to the issue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

OssanAmerica Apr. 15, 2014 - 06:12AM JST So tell me how many of those J-politicians went to Yasukuni to pray for a revival of the Comfort Women System. None.

Comparing notes of denials by Japanese politicians of "comfort women" issues, how do you explain the evidence of the Dutch women whose testimony of sexual enslavement in the then Dutch East Indies? To be sure it had been preceded by a long series of denials in Japan goverment, but the main allegations had been proved in a Dutch court under Western rules of evidence as far back as 1948. That court, which had been convened in what was then the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), had considered allegations that Japanese army officers had forced many Dutch women seized in the Dutch East Indies into sexual slavery. One Japanese military official was executed and several others were sentenced to jail terms. The Dutch went on in 1956 successfully to press the J-government to pay compensation to the women, an almost unheard-of achievement in Western diplomacy. In 1985 details of the comfort women story were published in an official Dutch government history of the war. Maybe Koreans could compare notes.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

sfjp, the Dutch Comfort Women issue was prosecuted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. In that instance kidnap[ping was proven.And again you are bringing up an issuer that is not relevant to South Korea-Japan relations

Maybe Koreans could compare notes.

Koreans were members of the Imperial Japanese military, some 240,000 in total serving willingly and making use of the Comfort Women System.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

OssanAmerica Apr. 15, 2014 - 07:15AM JST Koreans were members of the Imperial Japanese military, some 240,000 in total serving willingly and making use of the Comfort Women System.

Whre is your facts on 240,000 in total serving WILLINGLY? That funny, by the year 1944 in Korea, many Koreans by the thousands were forced recruited by the Japanese military.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

At the end of the day the problem here is that Japan and Korea are still socially and diplomatically developing nations that we can't compare to Europe. It's going to take time for both countries to, essential, 'grow up' - in the mean time lets hope they don't start a bloody war.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A genuine apologetic and remorseful attitude must be maintained, probably forever

And there it is. The fervent dream of communists and their boot lickers everywhere. Keep Japan down in a position of grovelling capitulation forever while they run roughshod over Asia, taking whatever they want from weaker neighbors.

Disgusting.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

hidingoutAPR. 15, 2014 - 11:39AM JST A genuine apologetic and remorseful attitude must be maintained, probably forever

And there it is. The fervent dream of communists and their boot lickers everywhere. Keep Japan down in a position of grovelling capitulation forever while they run roughshod over Asia, taking whatever they want from weaker neighbors.

Disgusting.

You have re-framed my point to fit your conspiracy theories. Germany is in the same position, Australia, English the US and New Zealand (among others) are in the same position. They committed great horrors of oppression and violence on another people and so must maintain a respectful remorselessness and regret for these events in history. It requires little action, simply the expression of a genuine attitude of remorse. Apart from the US and Australia these countries manage this well - why can't Japan?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It seems that the deniers have forgotten that:

1) Even the Japanese court has decided that the comfort women's testimonies are "irrefutable truths".

2) These are the official stance of the Japanese government:

1) The Government of Japan recognizes that the issue known as wartime comfort women is one that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan has extended its sincere apologies and remorse to all those women known as wartime comfort women who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds.

1) In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. Japan squarely faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility, and with feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind, has resolutely maintained, consistently since the end of World War II, never turning into a military power but an economic power, its principle of resolving all matters by peaceful means.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Good movement for both countries. Direct talk, one issue at a time but better than spatting every few days. Both countries can concentrate on their various issues, including what to do with Foreign Occupation Forces two countries let that stay by paying for the stay?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

sfjp330Apr. 15, 2014 - 07:35AM JST "OssanAmerica Apr. 15, 2014 - 07:15AM JST Koreans were members of the Imperial Japanese military, some 240,000 in total serving willingly and making use of the Comfort Women System. Whre is your facts on 240,000 in total serving WILLINGLY? That funny, by the year 1944 in Korea, many Koreans by >the thousands were forced recruited by the Japanese military.

You've got your facts mixed up. Mandatory ("forced") recruitment on the Korean Peninsula did not go into effect UNTIL 1944. For this reason the vast majority of Koreans serving in the Imperial Japanese military, a practice started when Koreans gained Japanese citizenship under the 1910 annexation, joined willingly. In fact applicants exceeded target recruitment quotas and had to be turned down.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Right... Even the Japanese initially revolted against the conscription system. You think that the Koreans would be willing to give up their lives for the emperor?

There may have been few who were crazy enough, but they were the minority.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It's time the comfort women issue be nipped in the bud.

You got a time machine?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

They're talking now, which is the one feasible option of the two. Bringing up the issue at every possible moment in a beligerent way didn't work too well for SK, justified or not. Diplomacy 101.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You have re-framed my point to fit your conspiracy theories. Germany is in the same position, Australia, English the US and New Zealand (among others) are in the same position.

I re-framed nothing. You said that Japan was going to have to "maintain and attitude of remorse and regret in action and words forever". That's the kind of thinking that does nobody any good, and runs counter to the way we expect to be treated in society. Nobody has to grovel forever. Once a court mandated settlement and punishment has been complied with the matter has been concluded. An apology is nice, but not required.

Your list of countries is incomplete, and ridiculously lopsided (how does NZ make your list but not PRC?). You certainly need to fire the name of every communist country up there, and all colonial powers (not just the English). You'd be better off compiling a list of countries that aren't "in the same position".

They committed great horrors of oppression and violence on another people and so must maintain a respectful remorselessness and regret for these events in history. It requires little action, simply the expression of a genuine attitude of remorse. Apart from the US and Australia these countries manage this well - why can't Japan?

Really? You list five countries and then concede that half of those have failed to live up to your ideals. Not exactly a great success rate is it? I'm interested why you think the Brits, Kiwis and Germans have somehow managed to accomplish something the Americans and Aussies have failed to do.

I have lived in several of the countries you mention and visited all of them. I don't notice that any of them (except maybe Germany) are living in a particular state of "constant respectful remorse" for things that happened hundreds of years ago. In fact I think all those countries have pretty much moved on - just like japan is trying to do. If only the ROK and PRC would grow some dignity we could all be done with this issue.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@igloobuyer 12:02am - Please don't conflate Imperial Japan's actions in China with Korea, they were two different kettles of fish. The Japanese were never 'at war' with the Koreans like they were with the Chinese - there were no 'Nanjings' in Korea and no widespread race-based brutality. The Japanese viewed Koreans as 'kin' who had to lifted out of their feudalism, and attempted to do that putting in place the same social and political mechanisms that had allowed them to rapidly modernize via a process of 'Japanization'. When after 70 years, the rabid anti-Japan based nationalism of Korea can only point to 'comfort women' as their example of overt Japanese brutality towards them, it is a miniscule issue when compared to the list of Chinese grievances.

What tends to be overlooked in the Korean arguments, is that 'comfort women' were also drawn from the Japanese population. It simply wasn't something the Japanese reserved for infliction upon women from occupied territories. It was a common practice in Japan, Korea, and China, the pre-1945 era for families in debt to criminal organizations to indenture their daughters to those organizations as prostitutes until the debt was repaid. By today's standards, this trade does appear totally repugnant, but it was a culturally accepted norm at that time.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

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