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“The Japanese are waiting for us to die”

The UK’s Daily Mail published an AP article today regarding the plight of the so-called “comfort women” residing in the House of Sharing in Korea.  Included in the article are quite a few pictures and some videos.

There are only 55 women left alive at the House of Sharing and their average age is 88.  The chance to offer an acceptable apology to the survivors of Imperial Japan’s comfort women system is rapidly coming to an end.

“… the women may also be the last chance for America’s two most important Asian allies to settle a dispute that has boiled over in recent years, as more of the so-called “comfort women” die and Tokyo and Seoul trade increasingly bitter comments about their bloody history.

“It will be much harder to solve, or more realistically mitigate, the issue after these women pass away,’ Robert Dujarric, an Asia specialist at Temple University’s Tokyo campus, said in an email. ‘Now, there are people — the former sex slaves — to apologize to. Afterward, there will be no one left to receive the apology.”

Comfort woman survivor Kim Gun-ja puts things in starker terms:

“The Japanese are waiting for us to die.”

  • yuna_at_marmotshole
  • wangkon936

    Tomiichi Murayama is an honorable man.

  • Aja Aja

    What do you think will happen once the last woman passes away?

  • dlbarch

    Their heirs, if any, should continue the fight for restitution. In a campaign like this, it’s important to put a face on the issue.

    But Japan’s legacy on this issue is already set. Tokyo has behaved shamefully and disgracefully, and everyone knows it.


  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Tokyo has always treated this as an issue that may or may not have happened a long time ago, and when the last survivor is gone it will be even easier for them to continue that narrative. They’ve had 70 years to rectify this and it hasn’t happened. I don’t see it ever happening. Very unfortunate.

  • Wedge1

    Uh, Japan did try to offer compensation in 1994. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Women's_Fund

  • wangkon936

    Private Japanese donations completely divorced from Japanese government responsibility. Unacceptable to these old ladies, and understandably so.

  • redwhitedude

    Just like apologies. I don’t see real apologies just “remorse”, “sorrow” and “regretful”.

  • redwhitedude

    Perhaps a comfort women statue in Tokyo will be more forceful in terms of getting the Japanese to resolve it in a proper manner.

  • bumfromkorea

    Yeah… I can’t see it happening either. LDP’s ultimate goal (assertive Japan to counter China = revised constitution) directly conflicts with the comfort women issue.

    God, I can just see now, the 2ch trollkins shouting “Well, these greedy heirs are just trying to grab money from Japan! They don’t care about the comfort women issue!”

  • Wedge1

    I’d say Murayama made a pretty good stab of it back in 1994. Even the emperor has apologized. Here’s the huge list of apologies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

    Their current batch of politicians has seen that apologies don’t work, so why not try the opposite?

  • bumfromkorea

    Yes, Koreans just rejected those apologies. It can’t possibly have to do with the list of Imperial apologist statements even longer than the list of apologies. What was Abe et al. supposed to do, not continue the apologist statements while claiming that they’ve made enough apologies?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    “We apologize”
    “We did nothing wrong.”
    “The comfort women were willing whores”
    “Japanese rule was good for Koreans”
    “We civilized you and gave you plumbing”
    “Hey, why can’t you accept our apologies”
    “Oh you Koreans, nothing we ever say will be good enough or ya.”

  • wangkon936

    I hear ya Wedge, but the problem is consistency and sustainability. Many Japanese politicians and rank and file citizens want the apologies rescinded. Education is not extended to sustain the sincerity of the apologies or why they needed to be given in the first place. Policy is not shifted to demonstrate that the previous apologies carry any weight. Japanese popular culture shows no self reflection of their war crimes (or even highlight the bad decisions that lead to their defeat in WWII). Ultimately, the lack of self reflection and superficiality of the so-called “apologies” aren’t good for the Japanese people either (or for the U.S. alliance for that matter if the closely related emerging sense of atomic bomb “victimization” that many Japanese are feeling). At the end of the day, words are cheap.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Apologies need to be whole-hearted. An apology that is taken back is not a real apology. People remained upset with Germany for decades, yet Germany didn’t say screw it and deny responsibility.

    Let’s make this clear: Imperial Japan invaded other countries, killed civilians, and forced women into prostitution. They seriously f*cked shit up. Japan has subsequently gone back and forth on taking responsiblity for this. War crimes have been played down or completely erased from history textbooks. Apologies have been offered and then denied.

    Is this acceptable behavior?

  • Arghaeri

    Adam will be a tad lonely!