Human Rights / Torture

Japan-Korea Reach Settlement Over “Comfort Women”

Japan-Korea Reach Settlement Over “Comfort Women”

In 2014, I wrote post entitled Mayer Brown & Platt and Whitewashing Japanese War Crimes about a highly questionable lawsuit challenging the City of Glendale, California’s decision to erect a monument to the Korean comfort women who were forced to serve as prostitutes by the Japanese military during World War II.

The lawsuit, which followed protests from right wing Japanese politicians who seek to gloss over Japan’s wartime atrocities, claimed the Glendale monument presents an “unfairly biased portrayal of the Japanese government’s purported involvement with comfort women during the Second World War.”

The lawsuit was dismissed and at that time, Phyllis Kim, spokeswoman for the Korean American Forum of California, stated

The decision did not change anything. The root cause of the issue has not been resolved, and the victims are still waiting for an official apology and reparations from the government of Japan.

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Seoul Memorial to Comfort Women

That day has now come.  This week Japan and South Korea have reached a landmark agreement that gives Ms. Kim exactly what seek is asking.

Specifically, the Agreement provides that:

  • Japan will give 1bn yen to a fund for the elderly comfort women, which the South Korean government will administer;
  • The money also comes with an apology by Japan’s prime minister and the acceptance of “deep responsibility” for the issue;
  • South Korea says it will consider the matter resolved “finally and irreversibly” if Japan fulfils its promises;
  • South Korea will also look into removing a statue symbolizing comfort women, which activists erected outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011; and
  • Both sides have agreed to refrain from criticizing each other on this issue in the international community.

See Japan and South Korea agree WW2 ‘comfort women’ deal, BBC News (Dec. 28, 2015)

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