politics

S Korea starts review of 'comfort women' deal with Japan

48 Comments
By JUNG YEON-JE

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"Our task is to thoroughly review the problems in the negotiations and in the agreement itself,"

In other words, to find an excuse to break the landmark 2015 agreement between South Korea and Japan that "permanently settles" this issue, and which Japan has already fulfilled it's side of the agreement.

26 ( +29 / -3 )

Perhaps the South Koreans don't care, but I think this will really make them look bad for the rest of the world. Whether or not they like the agreement, it was signed by the president and it is a legal document. You can't just unilaterally decide to revisit it, especially for domestic political motives. I hope the UN condemns them for this action.

26 ( +29 / -3 )

The deal, reached by the previous Seoul administration of Park Geun-Hye, was condemned by some of the women and South Korean activists, who took issue with Japan's refusal to accept formal legal responsibility and questioned the sincerity of its apology.

As is their right to do so. Is there a cost limit on human dignity and suffering?

And, in before the accusations fly; I adore Japan. It's my home but sometimes, you have to question if you've done enough.

I really hope this wound can heal and the trauma will fade.

-19 ( +6 / -25 )

Japan Times.... please do us all a favor and stop posting stories about S. Korea and its Comfort Women demands... we've seen this story far too often and at this point... I think the majority of us feel that Japan has done more than enough.

11 ( +20 / -9 )

You need to contact the Japan Times about that.

Japan Times.... please do us all a favor and stop posting stories about S. Korea and its Comfort Women demands... we've seen this story far too often and at this point... I think the majority of us feel that Japan has done more than enough.

Please do no such thing, JT and continue to bring the news to the people. No matter how unpalatable it may be for some.

History must never be censored.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

The government and people of Japan are not remotely, legally, or morally responsible, over 80% were neither present through birth or in early childhood. President Moon Jae-In has appointed activists into his government that have used these frail old ladies for the sole purpose of pursing an agenda of division, discontent and belligerence for generations to come.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

This latest nonsense is precisely why I'm left caring equal parts of diddly and squat about what South Korea "feels" about the the forced prostitution perpetrated by Japan during WWII. South Korean political hacks have turned this into a vulgar, opportunistic influence peddling football that absolutely does not give one whit about the actual victims. Screw 'em. Modern Japan has done enough and should wash its hands of this.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

I've always been a believer that the Japanese government should apologize and pay reparations to the survivors. As far as I know, this was done as part of the agreement between SK and Japan, so I don't really feel that SK has a place to continue complaint against Japan.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

How is it that countries like Poland and Germany can become friendly neighbours just a few decades after WW2, but no country in East Asia has ever managed to bury the hatchet on any issue? What is it about these different cultures that has led to very different outcomes? Is it the mob mentality, authoritarian governments, shame culture, ancestor worship, whitewashing of history? It would make for an interesting sociological study if it hasn't already been done.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

review? give back the compensation money you two faced petulant children

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Toasted HereticToday 07:57 am

History must never be censored.

Nor should it be re-written to support a political agenda.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

The problem lies in the manner in which the media in both countries allows a platform disproportionately to either deny (former defence minister Inada's example) or propagate and so fester belligerent retribution (Oh Tai-Kyu special task force). It would make sense to allow this generation to understand comprehend the consequences through educators not politicians.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Extortion continue.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

There's nothing that could possibly justify sexual exploitation during war-time. It's not up to Japan to decide wether their apologies is enough or not. Having comitted such crimes against humanity in the past brings with a lot of heavy responsibility in the future. It won't take an easy century to ease the pain for the victims. It's like France and Britain, where bitter memories from the Napoleonic-era (1799-1815) still remains, even 200 years later!

You can't delete memories and bitter responsibility by just paying an amount of "charity sum" to South Korea.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

M3M3M3Today 08:21 am JSTHow is it that countries like Poland and Germany can become friendly neighbours just a few decades after WW2, but no country in East Asia has ever managed to bury the hatchet on any issue?

Understand that the only countries that continue to harp on and have WWII issues with Japan are China (PRC) and South Korea. We can exclude North Korea because they have a issue with everybody unrelated to WWII. China (PRC) did not even exist during WWII, and it was the Repubic of China (RC) that fought Imperial Japan and was an Allied WWII victor. The Communusts ousted the ROC to Taiwan, which does not have a WWII issue with Japan. Despite having signed the Sino-Jp Treaty of Friendship in 1972 and reaffirming it is 1978 and having received considerable economic and technological assistance from Japan, by 2010 China openly made anti-Japan sentiment an official diplomatic tool to increase nationalism and keep the Chinese populace unfocused on domestic issues. Today in 2017 China openly pursues it's military and territorial expansion agenda at odds wit the United States and it's allies including Japan. In the 1980s China planted the basis of anti-Japan sentiment in South Korea, claiming a "shared victimhood of Japanese aggression". While some anti-Japan sentiment certainly existed, it was a brilliant move by China to break apart the US-JPN-SK alliance. It is now supported and advanced by an activist group Chong Dae Hyup which is behind the spread of "Comfort Women" monuments. The rest of Asia has no problem with Japan, have put the past behind them and in fact are hoping for increased Japanese military participation along with the US, Australia, India, UK, France etc to counter China's aggression.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Korea...proving once again they are a nationalist country above all else.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

SaikoPhyscoToday 07:41 am JST

Japan Times.... please do us all a favor and stop posting stories about S. Korea and its Comfort Women demands... we've seen this story far too often and at this point... I think the majority of us feel that Japan has done more than enough.

You mean stop relaying the world news ? Like censoring what's doesn't fit to your agenda ?

Personally I don't like McDonald's news, I guess we could add them to the censored list too.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The Japanese government is so stupid. They keep paying and paying and paying.

Seriously, our first apology was at the san Francisco treaty during the 1950's to compensate for damaging costs over the pacific and Asian countries. South Korean and China didn't even attend the  treaty even though many other countries did. They took the money anyways and they decided to use the money on "infrastructure" instead of giving the money to the victims. how sad is that...I bet those victims don't even know about compensation.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Yawn, August 1st. Time to stop reading the news until all this stuff gets forgotten until next summer. Year after year after year. It's beyond boring now.

The war ended 2-3 generations ago.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Year after year after year after year. I no longer think Japan should even acknowledge that this "issue" is even an issue TBH. It's over and Japan should disengage from all future discussions on this specific topic

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Kasper123Today 09:04 am JSTThere's nothing that could possibly justify sexual exploitation during war-time. It's not up to Japan to decide wether their apologies is enough or not.

It's South Korea that said it was enough by signing the 2015 Agreement to "Permanently settle" this issue. They are breaking their word.

And yes, sexual exploitation during war time is not justified.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_military_brothels_in_World_War_II

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_camp_brothels_in_World_War_II

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/concentration-camp-bordellos-the-main-thing-was-to-survive-at-all-a-632558.html

10 ( +10 / -0 )

How is it that countries like Poland and Germany can become friendly neighbours just a few decades after WW2, but no country in East Asia has ever managed to bury the hatchet on any issue?

This is the million dollar question M3. I think most euro nations KNOW for a fact that some/many of their citizens/politicians supported (to some extent) nazi ideology and in some/many cases, actively helped them spread it across Europe, this is why there isn't the 'us vs them' mentality we see in East Asia.

The way history was taught was also, I think, very different to what happens here. I remember history teachers in JHS in the 80s asking us 12-15yo "what side would you/we have been on during ww2"? Germans were never demonized, Nazis & their 'collabos' (Germans, French, Austrians, Polish ppl, Slavs etc) were. WW2 was see as an ideological war rather than country vs country.

I honestly don't get SK's position on the matter.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Seasonal "we want more money from Japan" time in South Korea.

May be Japanese tourists should stop going to South Korea, since Japan is not welcomed there. Wonder how will their local businesses impact on that.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

There's nothing that could possibly justify sexual exploitation during war-time.

No, there isn’t. But the war finished 71 years ago and as far as humans are concerned, we cannot go back to fix the past. The only thing we can do is to work for a better future.

It's not up to Japan to decide wether their apologies is enough or not.

True, but when you are told that you have not apologized enough even after the n-th apology which takes place 70 years after the end of WWII, somehow the “it’s not up to you to decide whether you have apologized enough” argument does not hold water any more.

Having comitted such crimes against humanity in the past brings with a lot of heavy responsibility in the future.

True and fair. But then again, those who like to perpetuate their victim status never say “enough is enough.” I hope I am mistaken but the notion of “forgiveness in order to move forward” seems to be totally unknown in large parts of Asia.

It won't take an easy century to ease the pain for the victims.

Almost all the victims have passed away. May their souls rest in peace. In any other country (my home country included) this would mean that hard feelings should be left to rest because the people who live now have the future. But the South Korean government does not seem to want to let go.

It's like France and Britain, where bitter memories from the Napoleonic-era (1799-1815) still remains, even 200 years later!

Hmm. Yet, we do not see Brits & French (and their governments) try to extort money from each other, do we? Or point fingers and picture their neighbor as the baddest guy on the block…

But as I am not British, I would love to hear the comments of the Brits and the French who frequent this forum on this. I might be mistaken after all…

You can't delete memories and bitter responsibility by just paying an amount of "charity sum" to South Korea.

You might want to read on the number of apologies made over the years and the amount of money paid since the 1950s. Please also pay attention to why the money - which by no means is a “charity sum” - was given to and how it was spent by the Korean governments and how much of it was distributed to the victims by those same governments.

There is plenty of info on the web about this.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It's like France and Britain, where bitter memories from the Napoleonic-era (1799-1815) still remains, even 200 years later!

I've never heard any British person express any bitterness towards the French because of things that happened in the Napoleonic era. I don't feel that there are any problems at all between the two countries, most important differences having been settled with the entente cordiale.

Anyway, by "reviewing" the final and irreversible deal with Japan the South Koreans demonstrate that they cannot be trusted. They already showed this by refusing to implement their side of the deal. If they cannot be trusted then there is little point talking to them about anything else.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

How is it that countries like Poland and Germany can become friendly neighbours just a few decades after WW2, but no country in East Asia has ever managed to bury the hatchet on any issue? What is it about these different cultures that has led to very different outcomes?

I'd venture to guess its a cultural difference between Eastern and Western Societies. Honor is very important and it is eternal; to some the battles/slights of their fathers and grandfathers are their battles/slights today.

An example of what I'm saying is a lot of the hostility Islamic Extremist have towards European and Western Nations is rooted in the Crusades that are nearly from 1,000 years ago.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's like France and Britain, where bitter memories from the Napoleonic-era (1799-1815) still remains, even 200 years later!

One of the silliest comment i have read on jt and i have read (even written!) quite a few.

Healthy banter/rivalry at most but no 'bitterness' whatsoever.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Only South Korea and China request "apology and compensation" to Japan forever.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Having worked and lived extensively in both Japan and Korea, I can honestly say that I would find it hard to judge which country is better at weasel wording, two-faced behaviour, honne-tatemae games and all round parochial, amorality and in-group preferential bias. They deserve each other, they really do.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

SaikoPsycho: "Japan Times.... please do us all a favor and stop posting stories about S. Korea and its Comfort Women demands... we've seen this story far too often and at this point... I think the majority of us feel that Japan has done more than enough."

wrong on all counts. Don't go pretending your posting on anyone's behalf but your own. When the japan side and people like yourself demand such things and say "Japan has done enough. Korea is in the wrong" you are he exact reason they are in the right to keep eh issue open and in the public, regardless of you desiring it be swept under the rug.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

You mean stop relaying the world news ? Like censoring what's doesn't fit to your agenda ?

Personally I don't like McDonald's news, I guess we could add them to the censored list too.

It's a bad day for democracy when people start calling for censorship of news they disagree with. John Lloyd's pieces reprinted here annoy the poop out of me but I'd never not want them published. Even if Kevin Myers wote here, I'd still read it. Although I'd probably feel well nauseous afterwards.

Brings me back to the crux of the matter; what price human dignity and suffering? There needs to be some kind of healing process like in the aftermath of apartheid in SA or the "troubles" between Ireland and the UK.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's like France and Britain, where bitter memories from the Napoleonic-era (1799-1815) still remains, even 200 years later!

Not in the UK it isn't.

Back to the story, and this is why the issue continues to rumble on and on. Japan makes an apology and pays a heft wad of cash... all is hunky dory - and then a new South Korean leader comes in and it all kicks off again.

Can you imagine if Moscow erected a statue of a Russian woman, a rape victim of Hitler's SS in front of the German embassy in that city? Germany and Russia aren't pals, in fact I'm pretty sure the Russians HATE Germany, but they at least have the dignity not to erect statues aimed at the Germans in their country.

Moon needs to just accept the agreement and stop trying to be a strongman-type leader. There are enough posturing bully boys in the world's capitals without more being added.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It's one thing to remember the past, and another thing to continue to extort money and apologies almost a century after the fact.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Clarify.... I'm frustrated more than anything.... have lived in and out of Japan for 35 years. Yes, Freedom of the Press without Censorship is important, but the emotional part of me is totally Sick of this issue being brought up continually. Especially since Japan has paid reparations and has apologized numerous times already. So my feeling is.... I'm sick of seeing this. Like an earlier poster mentioned.... this is Political Gold in S. Korea... just mention it and you get a few extra votes...

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Are we emotionally sick for remembering Hiroshima every year?

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Annual extortion time by S Korea.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It's like France and Britain, where bitter memories from the Napoleonic-era (1799-1815) still remains, even 200 years later!

Hmm. Yet, we do not see Brits & French (and their governments) try to extort money from each other, do we? Or point fingers and picture their neighbor as the baddest guy on the block…

But as I am not British, I would love to hear the comments of the Brits and the French who frequent this forum on this.

The French haven't forgiven us for the Hundred Years War and that wasn't 70 years ago but 700!! :)

All joking aside, no there is no real ill will, I have friends in France and have never experienced anything but general good will when ever I have visited the country, we have no animosity for the French ( so long as we beat them at the rugby!!!)

Hanging on to ancient grievances is both pointless and counter productive. Well I suppose we could claim compensation from the Italian government for the damage and distress caused by Julius Caesar's invasion 2000 years ago?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Are we emotionally sick for remembering Hiroshima every year?

Do the people attending A-bomb memorials form violent protests demanding countless payment after payment? Do they erect monuments in unrelated locations? Do they form special interest groups using surviving victims as pawns for political gain?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

This is an endless story again and I don't think it's an issue. because I know that even poor Japanese women families were involved in those cases. I feel very ashamed to worldly expose grandmothers issues like these. Can be their national mentality? Just think Russians could invade all Korean peninsula at that time Japan retreated and what would happen!?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kasper wrote you can't delete memory.

write your memory of rape by Japanese soldier in SEAsia.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Do the people attending A-bomb memorials form violent protests demanding countless payment after payment? Do they erect monuments in unrelated locations? Do they form special interest groups using surviving victims as pawns for political gain?

You are right you don't do what you have mentioned above however this is the Japanese way to remember & the Koreans has their on way. We should not deny that the Japanese gov did not handle these issues properly, some nations like Malaysia & Singapore decided to keep quiet about what the Japanese did during that time while china & Korea not.

Why the Japanese gov is too much consumed about removing the statue?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Clarify.... I'm frustrated more than anything.... have lived in and out of Japan for 35 years. Yes, Freedom of the Press without Censorship is important, but the emotional part of me is totally Sick of this issue being brought up continually. Especially since Japan has paid reparations and has apologized numerous times already. So my feeling is.... I'm sick of seeing this. Like an earlier poster mentioned.... this is Political Gold in S. Korea... just mention it and you get a few extra votes...

No true ... Japan did not apologize for this, the gov paid the money only.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

To Khal Mans: One example of the Apology... https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/12/japan-korea-comfort-women/422016/ There have been more by Japanese politicians over the years.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

To Khal Mans: One example of the Apology... https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/12/japan-korea-comfort-women/422016/There have been more by Japanese politicians over the years.

Thanks ...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I am not sure why most of the posters think SK wants more money and so is doing a review, maybe they should read again the article, it is about the opinions of the victims who were not consulted apparently at the signature and Tokyo's refusal to take legal responsibility.

"whether the opinions of the victims have been fully reflected in the agreement"

A group of 12 comfort women filed a lawsuit against Seoul last year for signing the agreement without their consent and despite Tokyo's refusal to take legal responsibility.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Citizen2012Today 09:34 am JSTI am not sure why most of the posters think SK wants more money and so is doing a review, maybe they should read again the article, it is about the opinions of the victims who were not consulted apparently at the signature and Tokyo's refusal to take legal responsibility.

Those are reasons that were raised by the survivor group against the South Korean government. It does not absolve the South Korean government from upholding the 2015 Agreement. Moon himself as are many in his administration influenced by Chong Dae Hyup and they will do anything to break the agreement to keep the conflict alive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Several of the surviving South Korean comfort women -- currently numbering 37 -- refused to accept the final compensation provided by Japan.

A group of 12 comfort women filed a lawsuit against Seoul last year for signing the agreement without their consent and despite Tokyo's refusal to take legal responsibility.

So based on Korean news article below toward the end of last year, 9 women out of 34 women who accepted the compensation passed away since this article was published but 12 women who declined the compensation are still alive and filed a lawsuit.

A foundation dedicated to supporting South Korean women forced into wartime brothels for the Japanese military said Friday that five more victims have expressed their intent to accept compensation disbursed by the Japanese government, bring the total to 34 out of the 46 women still alive.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2016/12/23/14/0301000000AEN20161223007800315F.html

I'm curious, what exactly would be "Tokyo's legal responsibility"?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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