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The Comfort Woman Issue Could Have Been Resolved Last Year?

Or so say’s Kim Tae-hyo, former adviser to Lee Myung Bak in an interview with an Asahi Shimbun correspondent.

Kim is quoted to say:

The December 2011 summit in Kyoto between President Lee and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda devolved into a long, bitter argument over the comfort women issue. This is the final and most serious historical dispute between Japan and South Korea.

After the summit, Tokyo worked hard to try to resolve it during Lee’s presidency, and both sides engaged in sincere dialogue. The goal of the talks boiled down to having the Japanese prime minister express his heartfelt apology to the former comfort women–now advanced in years–and Japan paying them compensation.

Actually, Tokyo and Seoul almost reached an agreement, although few Japanese know about this. Outside the regular diplomatic channel, I had special contacts with top Japanese government officials, and we were on the verge of striking a compromise on almost all points.

Really?  Well, that’s news to me.  Kim goes on to talk about his thoughts on the joint security intelligence sharing agreement between Japan and Korea that was also nixed last year.  Anyway, interesting read.  However, I am not sure if anyone with either the Lee or Noda administrations will confirm (or deny) what Kim is saying.

  • cm

    I found the interview candid and highly believable. The relationship between Korea and Japan could have gone the other way if the security and intelligence sharing arrangement with Japan was signed. But the Korean elections that was months away at that time meant the political opposition forces in Korea wasn’t going to let that happen by appealing to nationalism. The tactic was to paint Lee Myung Back as a Japan sympathizer and collaborator. Lee had to prove that he wasn’t by dropping the agreement if his party was going to win the next election.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    What I found even more interesting—and probably worth noting by the Americans—is what he said about China and the limits to South Korean cooperation with the United States and Japan in containing China.

    Of course, what was not said was that if China screws with Korea, Seoul will expect FULL cooperation from at least the United States and probably Japan, too.

  • cm

    Short of full Chinese invasion of South Korea, I do not see that happening. South Korea sees China as not a regional rivalry (like how Japan and US sees China), but as the most important economic interest, nothing more, and nothing less.

  • wangkon936

    Rob,

    I always thought that was common knowledge, given Korea’s geopolitical location. They would look at China differently than the U.S. or Japan simply due to the location of China to their country. Any way, I don’t really see any situation where there would be Japanese boots on the ground in the Korean peninsula. Maybe naval and air support. I don’t really know how intersupportive air assets in Korea would be with Japanese planes other than F-15Js.

  • wangkon936

    Well, perhaps Chinese naval incursions that are as bold as their asshat fishermen?

  • http://twitter.com/TheRealTruth6 The Real Truth

    Question: How does one calculate the amount of compensation required to “resolve” this issue, and who ultimately decides if it is appropriate? Does Japan get some type of airtight, iron-clad, bulletproof written, signed, sealed document stating that Korea will never, ever, ever, again seek further compensation or apologies? Would this in turn lead to every other country in Asia pressing for similar arrangements? ..as Korea was far from being the sole victim of war crimes perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese. What about the children and family members of the deceased comfort women? Will they be entitled to compensation? If so, how will this be calculated, and what steps will be taken to verify that one is entitled to such compensation?

  • wangkon936

    There are probably a hundred or a few hundred survivors at the most in Korea. Less in other parts of the world. Comfort women generally didn’t have children due to health problems sustained while being comfort women and social sigma.

    By the way, I’m not in favor of monetary compensation, but wanted to address your question.

  • nannasin smith

    Japan paying them compensation.
    LM393

  • stereo

    >There are probably a hundred or a few hundred survivors at the most in Korea.
    Why do you think so? Just guessing?
    >Comfort women generally didn’t have children due to health problems sustained while being comfort women and social sigma.

    OK. Then, their relatives become the heirs. How many of them are there in Korea?
    > I’m not in favor of monetary compensation

    Why not?

  • http://www.gofundme.com/1k98a8 Jakgani

    The compensation was already paid and received by the “dictator” (presidents father) years ago.
    It helped build Korean into what Korea is today.
    Why should Japan pay twice?

  • cm

    S.Korea doesn’t do anything about the fish pirates, I don’t see other than a full stop naval invasion off the shores of Incheon will even spur a reaction.

  • cm

    The 1965 treaty didn’t include the Comfort women issue. The 2008 Japanese archives document detailing Japanese government’s moves proved that. The issue didn’t even come to public until 1991.

  • http://www.gofundme.com/1k98a8 Jakgani

    During World War II, the Shōwa regime implemented in Korea, a prostitution system similar to the one established in other parts of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Korean agents, Korean Kempeitai (military police) and military auxiliaries were involved in the procurement and organization of comfort women, and made use of their services. Chong-song Pak found that “Koreans under Japanese rule became fully acculturated as main actors in the licensed prostitution system that was transplanted in their country by the colonial state”.

    In 1965, the Japanese government awarded $364 million to the Korean government for all war damages, including the injury done to comfort women.

    In 1994, the Japanese government set up the Asian Women’s Fund to distribute additional compensation to South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.[60] Each survivor was provided with a signed apology from the then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, stating “As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.” The fund was dissolved on March 31, 2007

    Three days later on January 17, 1992 at a dinner given by South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa told his host: ” We Japanese should first and foremost recall the truth of that tragic period when Japanese actions inflicted suffering and sorrow upon your people. We should never forget our feelings of remorse over this. As Prime Minister of Japan, I would like to declare anew my remorse at these deeds and tender my apology to the people of the Republic of Korea.” and apologized again the following day in a speech before South Korea’s National Assembly. On April 28, 1998, the Japanese court ruled that the Government must compensate the women and awarded them US$2,300 ($3,280 in 2013) each.

    In 2007 the surviving sex slaves wanted an apology from the Japanese government. Shinzō Abe, the prime minister at the time, stated on March 1, 2007, that there was no evidence that the Japanese government had kept sex slaves, even though the Japanese government had already admitted the use of brothels in 1993. On March 27 the Japanese parliament issued an official apology.

    As I said – why should the Japanese government have to keep paying again and again?

    because Korean get their rocks off fighting……

    that’s why they can’t even make friends with their brothers to the north….

  • http://www.gofundme.com/1k98a8 Jakgani

    During World War II, the Shōwa regime implemented in Korea, a prostitution system similar to the one established in other parts of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Korean agents, Korean Kempeitai (military police) and military auxiliaries were involved in the procurement and organization of comfort women, and made use of their services. Chong-song Pak found that “Koreans under Japanese rule became fully acculturated as main actors in the licensed prostitution system that was transplanted in their country by the colonial state”.

    In 1965, the Japanese government awarded $364 million to the Korean government for all war damages, including the injury done to comfort women.

    In 1994, the Japanese government set up the Asian Women’s Fund to distribute additional compensation to South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.

    Each survivor was provided with a signed apology from the then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, stating “As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.” The fund was dissolved on March 31, 2007

    Three days later on January 17, 1992 at a dinner given by South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa told his host: ” We Japanese should first and foremost recall the truth of that tragic period when Japanese actions inflicted suffering and sorrow upon your people. We should never forget our feelings of remorse over this. As Prime Minister of Japan, I would like to declare anew my remorse at these deeds and tender my apology to the people of the Republic of Korea.” and apologized again the following day in a speech before South Korea’s National Assembly. On April 28, 1998, the Japanese court ruled that the Government must compensate the women and awarded them US$2,300 ($3,280 in 2013) each.

    In 2007 the surviving sex slaves wanted an apology from the Japanese government. Shinzō Abe, the prime minister at the time, stated on March 1, 2007, that there was no evidence that the Japanese government had kept sex slaves, even though the Japanese government had already admitted the use of brothels in 1993. On March 27 the Japanese parliament issued an official apology.

    As I said – why should the Japanese government have to keep paying again and again?

    because Korean get their rocks off fighting……

    that’s why they can’t even make friends with their brothers to the north….

  • cm

    There were no specifics mentioned about the comfort women in the 1965 treaty. They however covered the forced laborers and other war reparations. But comfort women were not part of the deal nor were discussed fully until 1991 when this issue was first brought to light.

  • wangkon936

    I don’t know. I read it someplace. They are all in their 80′s and can’t live for long. There are probably just a few hundred survivors at most at this time. The number keeps dropping every year.

    I am not in favor of monetary compensation because I think that the South Korean government is rich enough to take care of their own former comfort women. Plus, South Korea is a lot more likely to get an official and binding apology if they don’t request monetary compensation.

    Whatever South Korea gets out of this, other countries (China, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, North Korea, etc.) will likely get some variation of the same deal. If money is involved then that complicates what South Korea can get because the Japanese will be forward thinking about deals with those other countries.

    As Jakjani and “Guest” mentioned, various PM’s have made various apologies. Read the apologies. They are personal apologies demonstrating what the PM feels personally and/or what the particular administration feels. Something needs to be ratified by the Diet and something needs to be encoded into law so future PMs and their administrations will be binded by it. For example, different American Presidents can have differing personal opinions about abortion, but because it is the law of the land, backed up by Supreme Court decisions, thus they have to defend it, regardless of what they believe personally.

    An apology on this matter by Japan should not ebb and flow due to what government is in control that given year. That kind of apology is really any kind of apology at all.

  • pipokun

    this is the question here. japan has apologized numerous times and still compensates, it’s easy for SK to keep bringing this issue up and fire up the sh*t storm every time.

  • pipokun

    a damn shame.

  • que337

    It is so easy for Uncle Abe to make Kono statement a sheer lipservice:

    “We hereby reiterated our firm determination never to repeat the same mistake by forever engraving such issues in our memories through the study and teaching of history.”

    http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/women/fund/state9308.html

  • provIdence

    The Kono statement says “I wish to announce the findings as a result of that study.” I wonder what are his findings which you think important for you.

  • fe529592929

    die of aids moron

  • fe5295929qfei59

    off yourself cretin

  • wangkon936

    This is an example of where nationalism gets in the way.

  • fe525299

    catch aids and die please

  • provIdence

    Assuming that the 1965 treaty didn’t include the issue, were there any Korean officials who asked Japan for money for that matter?

  • stereo

    >Whatever South Korea gets out of this, other countries (China, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, North Korea, etc.) will likely get some variation of the same deal.

    Other countries have already settled the issue through Asia Womens Fund. The only country that is left behind is Korea. If you only read Korean paper, you develop distorted view of the world. Also, Korea is the only country that thrashed the former comfort women who wanted to receive compensation from AWF.

    >Something needs to be ratified by the Diet and something needs to be encoded into law so future PMs and their administrations will be binded by it.

    Do you know that Japanese Diet can change the law at its whim, just as Korean Congress can? You are asking for something that does not exist.

  • que337
  • wangkon936

    I don’t think the Koreans will ever stop. There’s gonna be one of these in every major Korean American community. Los Angeles, Garden Grove, Cerritos, Annandale, Queens, Atlanta, etc. It won’t stop until the Japanese issue a legally binding apology that’s acceptable to Koreans.

    Maybe the Chinese Americans will do the same thing and have monuments to Nanjing Massacre and Unit 731 in there communities too.

    This is totally avoidable at very little cost to the Japanese. I don’t know if they will get it though.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Several posters have asked, “how do the Japanese issue an appropriate apology and offer sufficient compensation for the Comfort Women to satisfy the Koreans?” The problem is that the Koreans need to be satisfied and want to keep this issue alive as an issue of contention.

    The solution is to ask the comfort women what they want. Ask them to spell it out. Do they want one million dollars and an unconditional apology that they word themselves and have the Japanese sign? That then would end it.

    Frankly, Korea needs to include the true victims, the Comfort Women, to end this issue. Protesters and politicians need not apply.

  • junichi tatsumi
  • que337

    Forget about compensation money. Mr. Abe needs to institutionalize repentant “remembrance of past violence” within laws and policies, most of all, through “history education.” Kono statement also stated that Japan will “forever engrave” it in their “memories through the study and teaching of history.”

    I agree with Mainichi Shimbun article, ‘Abe must prioritize ‘comfort women’ issue for good of international
    community
    ‘.

  • que337

    Ah, Mr. Gavan Gary’s article, which was removed from the “electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies” and is still in limbo: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/ejcjs/vol12/iss3/gray.html

  • wangkon936

    Well, it would need a majority, like any other legislative body, right?

  • que337

    Worth to check out the BBC news article, “What Japanese history lessons leave out” by Mariko Oi:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21226068