SEOUL – South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Ministry will issue a white paper on the wartime “comfort women” around the end of 2015 and distribute it worldwide, it said Sunday.
In the report, the ministry will refer to documents and studies on Japan’s wartime prostitution system, and comprehensively analyze and explain the system’s reality and criminality based on reports by international organizations and civic groups. It will also review disputes and dialogue between the Japanese and South Korean governments.
The white paper appears to South Korea’s response to Japan’s investigation into how the Kono statement was drawn up, pundits said. In releasing the results of its investigation, Japan affirmed the historical facts used to draft the Kono statement but also, for some reason, revealed details of the negotiations that both sides had agreed to keep secret.
The Kono statement, announced by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993, officially acknowledged that the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army was directly involved in managing brothels for its soldiers that were filled with “comfort women” — Japan’s euphemism for the girls and women, mostly Korean, who were coerced into sexual slavery.
The Japanese government opted for the probe after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to revise the Kono statement sparked an uproar.
Seoul demands that Japan take measures that can satisfy the former comfort women, or “ianfu,” who survived the ordeal. Tokyo maintains the issue has already been resolved.
The ministry will publish the white paper not only in Korean, but in English, Chinese and Japanese as well.