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Many South Korean people mistakenly believe Japan hasn’t apologized over the comfort women issue. Japan also should not just obstinately insist the issue has been ‘resolved,’ but rather more actively convey a message that acknowledges public opinion in South Korea.


Kookmin University Prof Lee Won Deog, an expert on Japan-South Korea relations. Feelings toward Japan have slightly improved among South Koreans, apparently due to an increase in the number of South Koreans traveling to Japan or wanting to work there, according to a joint survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and Hankook Ilbo daily, although Korean media continue to publish stories on former comfort women who oppose the 2015 agreement that was supposed to settle the issue between the two countries.

© Yomiuri Shimbun

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I think the Koreans recall the Japanese statements. But they also recall the denials and backpedalling. That includes how the current Japanese prime minister, lawmakers and others put a paid ad in a major US newspaper denying allegations that Japan forced Korean women to be comfort women. They DO remember that, LOL.

Among other issues is how the Asian Women's Fund paid compensation to victims only from private - not government - money.

If Japanese officials are frustrated over the messiness of this issue and cloudy perceptions, they have themselves to blame.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

One of the problems in Japan is that there is hardly any backlash whenever your usual LDP racist dinosaur or other deplorable down and out makes an offensive remark, denying any sort of atrocities committed by Japan during the war. It's as if the country isn't really sincere in its 'apology'.

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Imagine that, a South Korean professor that actually acknowledges that many South Koreans ignorantly believe that Japan has 'never' apologized in regards to colonizing Korea or the comfort women issue. How this is even remotely possible, when the news of Japan's settlement with South Korea over the comfort women issue in 2015 was blared across the South Korean media, is absolutely beyond me. And then to think that people always accuse Japanese of 'whitewashing' their history.

Also, he is also right about Japan's response. Whenever some ignorant party spouts off that the government of Japan has 'never' apologized for the comfort women issue, the key is not to issue a flippant statement that the issue has been resolved. That will never work with the ignorant anti-Japan nationalists and their supporters. The key is to destroy that ignorance by offering a detailed history of exactly what the Japanese government has done, going back to the original Asian Women's Fund that was established years ago to offer compensation and apologies to former comfort women.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

JeffLeeToday  11:13 am JST

I think the Koreans recall the Japanese statements. But they also recall the denials and backpedalling.

Exactly. This issue is not that the words were not said, the issue is whether or not the words were meant.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think that it is very sad that Japan still likes to play the victim.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The crimes committed by Japan on Koreans are unforgivable but we must live on. Japan must stop playing semantics and call those poor women what they actually were - sex slaves for the Japanese.

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How about actively conveying a message that the government of the time, and the IJA, did horrible wrong, forced women into sexual slavery, and massacred millions across Asia? No? Just acknowledge that you know Koreans are mad by deny the reasons for them being so? Sounds like a right-wing white-washer.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This issue will never be resolved no matter how much Japan publicly apologizes... there are those in Korea that want to continually use this issue for their own political agenda. Also, it has been brought to light that many of the so called comfort women were forced into testimonies that were untrue or left out the fact that they were taken advantage of by their own parents or Korean brokers. Many more were also common prostitutes that profited and refuse to acknowledge this. Frankly, most Japanese are quiteq tired of the constant bleating of this issue for political or personal financial gain by some.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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