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Japan, South Korea reach ‘final’ deal to settle ‘comfort women’ issue

AP, Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

The foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea announced an agreement Monday to resolve the decades-long impasse over Korean females who were forced into brothels run by the Imperial Japanese military before and during World War II.

Later in the day, following the foreign ministers’ talks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe telephoned President Park Geun-hye and offered Japan’s “sincere apology and remorse” over the issue.

Abe told reporters in Tokyo after the phone call that the landmark agreement heralds a “new era” in relations between the two countries.

“We were able to reach a final and irreversible resolution in the year marking the 70th anniversary” of the end of World War II and the end of Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula, Abe said in remarks shown live on NHK.

“We cannot force our children, grandchildren and children of our future generations to shoulder a fate by which they have to keep apologizing,” he said.

At a joint news conference in Seoul earlier, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that Abe would be offering an apology to the former “comfort women” and that Tokyo will finance a ¥1 billion aid fund for the aging survivors that is to be set up by South Korea.

Kishida and his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se, also said the two countries confirmed that the issue will be resolved once and for all.

“On the premise that the steps (agreed on) will be implemented steadily, our governments will confirm that the comfort women issue will be settled in a final and irreversible manner,” Kishida said.

Yun said that Seoul considers the agreement “final and irreversible,” as long as Japan faithfully follows through on its promises.

Kishida said Abe will extend a sincere apology and express remorse to the victims and that the Japanese government recognizes its responsibility over the issue.

The issue of the former sex slaves, which Japan euphemistically calls the ianfu, or comfort women, is the biggest source of diplomatic friction between Seoul and Tokyo. The nations, both staunch U.S. allies, have seen animosity rise since Abe’s inauguration in 2012.

The agreement would remove what Park has described as “the biggest obstacle to efforts to improve bilateral relations,” as time runs out on 2015, which marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties.

Japan also wants South Korea to remove a statue of a girl symbolizing the victims that was installed by a citizens’ group in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

Yun stopped short of saying that would happen but said the government will continue talks on the matter with the organizations involved, in an apparent reference to the citizens’ group.

The meeting came after the United States stepped up pressure on its key Asian allies to mend ties in the face of an increasingly assertive China and nuclear-armed North Korea.

Better relations between South Korea and Japan are a priority for Washington. The two countries together host about 80,000 U.S. troops and are members of the now-stalled six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in return for aid.

To make the deal irreversible, Tokyo and Seoul are considering confirming it in a joint statement that Abe and Park would issue in their next talks, possibly in the U.S., according to sources familiar with bilateral relations.

South Korea has demanded that Japan make an official apology and offer reparations with recognition of legal responsibility.

Japan has maintained that the issue was legally settled under a 1965 basic treaty with South Korea and an attached agreement, which states issues regarding property and claims between the two countries are “settled completely and finally.”

The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

Given its position, Japan has no plans to acknowledge legal responsibility and pay reparations or government compensation. Instead, it is advocating the formation of the government-backed fund from a humanitarian perspective, the sources said.

The fund would effectively expand a little-known state-run follow-up program to the now-defunct Asian Women’s Fund, which was a pool of private donations that was set up at Tokyo’s initiative in 1995 and lasted through 2007.

The government allocated ¥15 million in fiscal 2015 to the program, which finances periodic visits to the victims’ homes and provides medical and other welfare assistance.

Citing the gap between their positions, experts predict the name of the new fund will become a contentious issue as well. Tokyo favors the word “atonement,” but Seoul prefers “compensation.”

“An act by a government using the state budget can be interpreted as an act accompanied by legal responsibility,” Lee Won-deok, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at Kookmin University in Seoul, was quoted as saying in the weekend edition of the Korea Joongang Daily.

“If the money is not clearly labeled as reparations, the Japanese government can explain to rightists in the country that it was providing humanitarian assistance to the victims because there was a shortcoming after the 1965 settlement,” Lee said. “A gray area can be created to allow Seoul and Tokyo to interpret the measure the way each needs.”

  • Steve Jackman

    Glad Tokyo saw the folly of its original offer of 100 Million Yen in compensation and is now offering a more reasonable amount of 1 Billion Yen. Let this be a lesson that lowballing is not a good negotiating tactic since it never works.

    • 69station

      Or maybe the media simply misreported (was misinformed about) the original figure…….

      • Toolonggone

        All Japanese media–both national and local– reported the initial figure as 1 億円=100 million yen.

      • 69station

        Which still falls within the bounds of ‘the media misreporting.’ That the reported figure changed so quickly, when these things are usually settled far in advance (in negotiations) of press release, strongly suggests some misinformation was given. All media get their info from the same source.

    • 69station

      Or maybe the media simply misreported (was misinformed about) the original figure…….

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Yawn

  • tisho

    I think this agreement and conditions are not good for SK. What they want is for Japan to acknowledge the existence and suffering of these sex slaves, and take proper responsibility. What they get now is just money, nothing more. Japan will continue to deny and whitewash its history, it will continue to insult these women, because the Japanese kids are not taught of these sex slaves. The SK side should have attached two conditions for Japan: 1. Include the world wide verified info. of these women into your textbooks, and enforce their usage nation wide. 2. Never again any government official to express any denial or downplay of these women. These two conditions would’ve been best for SK. I bet within few months some Japanese officials will again visit the Yasukuni Shrine, and some mayor will deny the existence of the sex slaves. As long as the Japanese are not taught of this, this issue will not be resolved. It’s like Germans to not be taught of the Holocaust, and Israel expecting them to stop denying it. It’s just not going to happen.

    • Tachomanx

      Bothered to read a japanese textbook on the matter? No? Not surprised.

      Plus, foreign governments don’t get to decide the national education policies of other states. That would be a severe infringement of sovereignty and if Korea doesn’t like to have it’s own “official” version of things being put up to debate or deeper analysis (See recent accusations against a female korean scholar putting the comfort women history to some questioning), then it doesn’t get the right to question others.

      • tisho

        ”foreign governments don’t get to decide the national education policies of other states.” You mean like that one time the Japanese government sent a few agents to America to pressure a textbook publisher to remove all mentions of the comfort women from their textbooks?

      • tisho

        ”foreign governments don’t get to decide the national education policies of other states.” You mean like that one time the Japanese government sent a few agents to America to pressure a textbook publisher to remove all mentions of the comfort women from their textbooks?

      • Tachomanx

        Not remove them but be accurate on them. That is to have the most objective view of the issue and not the one sided slandering one taken from Wikipedia.

        Truth as it is, not as someone else wants it.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Objective, as in pressuring them to take Japan’s view of the issue instead of historians’? Because that is what they did.

      • Tachomanx

        Take the view of all historians on the matter, not the ones already decided on the subject and who have failed to consult the other part and their information at hand.

        Hard to be objective when your only source is China and Korea.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        I’m curious as to which historians’ views you suggest as in one breath you say all historians and then in the next you say not all historians…

      • Tachomanx

        Japanese historians that have studied the matter, not just select ones who have partially investigated the matter in a half hearted manner.

        An editorial house aiming to educate should make certain that what’s teaching is the most accurate truth available.
        It’s like trying to explain the american civil war over just being about slavery and no the complex north-south relations of the time. See? The whole story and with views from both sides.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        Any particular names that you have in mind?

      • Tachomanx

        There was a list of 40 scholars who complained over the move by the editorial house. Any of them could be a good pick to begin with, and failing that, there are plenty of historians on the matter in Japan who have extensive knowledge like Yoshiaki Yoshimi who questions the number of comfort women without denying the fact that it happened as you seem to believe.
        He also questions the number of women drafted from different countries and being the one that brought to light the issue in the first place one could say he is closer to the truth than historians in Korea, China or the U.S. for that matter.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        Like Eiji Yamashita?
        Or Michiko Hasegawa?
        Tadae Takubo?
        Hidetsugu Yagi?
        Yasuo Ohara?
        Shiro Takahashi?
        Tsutomu Nishioka?

        Most of the “scholars” in your list of 40 are retired and are NOT historians. Most of them have also lost any semblance of credibility they might have had by belonging to or aligning themselves with groups such as the Institute for Historical Review, the Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, Yoshiko Sakurai’s Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and the Happy Science cult.

      • Tachomanx

        I gave you the leading historian on the matter and he questions the number and many of the so called “accepted” facts of the issue.

        In any case, you immediately disregard a person for his beliefs? Then I am to asume that a scientist-priest paid by the Vatican who published a paper on astronomy can’t be relied on because he is a priest there and as such can’t be called a scientist?

        Then we have historians in Korea who are persecuted for trying to shed more light into it and when her findings go against the official position she is indicted.

        If the american publisher wanted the true story of the comfort women, they should have gone to the best source of information instead of going for the korean version of it.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        When was Yoshimi elevated to sainthood?

        “you immediately disregard a person for his beliefs” You are referring to the Happy Science cult?

        The true story? I love your binary approach to things. No shades of grey for a true believer. You and TV Monitor are flip sides of the same coin.

        Most of the “scholars” in your list of 40 are retired and are NOT historians. Most of them have also lost any semblance of credibility they might have had by belonging to or aligning themselves with groups such as the Institute for Historical Review, the Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, Yoshiko Sakurai’s Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and the Happy Science cult.

      • Tachomanx

        The Yoshimi was the one who brought the whole thing to light in the first place despite the damage it would do to his country’s reputation and he did the investigation with official documents from the country guilty of the fact.

        What better source can there be that has such access to information and is clearly not biased?

        As for the scholars petition, is it groundless? Does it deserves to be disregarded and push on with the korean version when it’s clearly politically motivated and filled with innacuracies?

      • Toolonggone

        For the record, Yoshimi is NOT in the list of “50 Shades of Grey.”

      • Bruce Chatwin

        You gave me “a list of 40 scholars who complained over the move by the editorial house. Any of them could be a good pick to begin with”. I began with them, but when that didn’t suit your purpose you moved on to something else. Classic uyoku argumentation.

      • Tachomanx

        Then take into account their complaint and go to the sources available like any person interested in the truth would.

        Then I gave you the most credible source of all and you say nothing about it. I can see where your bias are.

      • Tachomanx

        Then take into account their complaint and go to the sources available like any person interested in the truth would.

        Then I gave you the most credible source of all and you say nothing about it. I can see where your bias are.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        Hahaha. I find it very funny that people such as yourself brand everyone who refutes fallacies about comfort women as a “right winger”. Let me ask you a couple of simple questions. Why did the South Korean government make no mention of the abduction of tens of thousands of Korean women by the Japanese Army when they signed the peace treaty with Japan as to settle all issues concerning the occupation period, and why did no Korean man stand up against them? Surely you can answer these questions because you have “credible historians”?

      • Bruce Chatwin

        You gave me “a list of 40 scholars who complained over the move by the editorial house. Any of them could be a good pick to begin with”. I began with them, but when that didn’t suit your purpose you moved on to something else. Classic uyoku argumentation.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        Like Eiji Yamashita?
        Or Michiko Hasegawa?
        Tadae Takubo?
        Hidetsugu Yagi?
        Yasuo Ohara?
        Shiro Takahashi?
        Tsutomu Nishioka?

        Most of the “scholars” in your list of 40 are retired and are NOT historians. Most of them have also lost any semblance of credibility they might have had by belonging to or aligning themselves with groups such as the Institute for Historical Review, the Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, Yoshiko Sakurai’s Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and the Happy Science cult.

      • Malaysian Expat

        There are actually very few historians in the world doing good studies in comfort women. I know none from the western countries.

        If they are Japanese, they will be regarded as right wind revisionist.

        If they are South Korean, they will be persecuted if they deviate from the official position like Prof. Park Yuha who simply highlighted the complexity of the whole issue and questioning the real number.

        If they are PRC, they will be disciplined by the party and their works will never be published if their version contradict the party’s version.

        If you a historian, will you choose comfort women as your study area?

      • Malaysian Expat

        I am also curious to which historian’s views you rely on for the comfort women issue.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        I’m curious as to which historians’ views you suggest as in one breath you say all historians and then in the next you say not all historians…

      • blondein_tokyo

        Oh, I see. So the perspective from the US, Australia, and pretty much every other country isn’t objective….but the Japanese government’s is.

        Nope. You don’t get to do that. Facts are facts, and the fact is the Japanese government allowed, knowingly, if not giving outright permission, to the Imperial Army to kidnap women, hold them hostage, and rape them.

        And not just Chinese or Korean women, either. The comfort women came from several countries, including Australia and the Netherlands.

      • Tachomanx

        Not being affected directly by the issue and having second hand or third hand information sources.

        And I didn’t mention the japanese government but japanese scholars from whom the very first bits of information on the comfort women came from.
        As such, any reliable investigation on the matter starts from those best informed and guess what, Yoshiaki is the number one source on the matter and practically the chief authority on it.

        By the way, no one denying what happened here, just asking the objective truth be told without bias. That’s all.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Who wasn’t directly affected? The comfort women came from many different countries, and this is a huge issue for women around the world. Rape in war affects hundreds of thousands of women, and rape denial, as many people have been doing, affects ALL women, including me. When a country like Japan, who is part of the UN and G7, treats women this way, it matters. It has an affect on everyone who hears about it, as opinions inform beliefs, which in turn inform actions. Actions towards women, actions towards all sexual assault survivors.

        I don’t believe Japan is objective. At all. They have acted horribly, and their notpology shows they have no real remorse or real understanding of the reverberations of what they’ve done.

      • Tachomanx

        And who here is denying this? Did I deny that the comfort women took place?

        All I am saying is that if a story is to be told, then it needs to be told right. Particularly if it’s going to be told to future generations at school.

        Didn’t apologize? Then what were Murayama and Kono? Or the Asian Women’s Fund? War time compensations? Or this last and quite unexpected move from PM Abe? I see clearly where you stand and to expect objectivity and fairness in such a person is a lost hope.

      • blondein_tokyo

        It’s not a sincere apology when you use euphemisms such as “comfort woman” instead of sex slave, “issue” instead rape, and “dignity” instead of pain and suffering. It’s also not sincere when you don’t include the very women you abused women in the talks, or ask them how they feel.

        On top of that, Korea also agreed to take down the statue and not speak of it again. All for a nice payment of $8 million dollars. The Korean government seems happy to allow Japan to sweep this under the rug. I’m not surprised, considering the amount of money that was thrown at them, and their desire to have Japan on their side in case Kim Jong Il starts acting up, with China by its side. Politicking- all of it.

        I’m also very keen to see how that $8 million will be spent- there are around what, 45 or 50 of these women living, all of them over 75 years old? I wonder how they’ll split it….?

        From what I’ve read, most of the women won’t accept the money, as they see it as hush money.

        Facts are facts; objectively, these facts say women were raped.

        Whether an apology is accepted or not apology isn’t objectively decided as its a personal, subjective matter based on one’s feelings. And personally, I don’t accept this as good enough. I’m on the side of these women, who will likely never accept an apology, no matter if it IS sincere, because being held hostage and repeatedly raped isnt something that can be forgiven.

      • 69station

        “It should say,

        1. We are sorry the Japanese government kidnapped women and forced them into sexual slavery.
        2. We are fully responsible for the pain and suffering caused by their being repeatedly raped and held captive, against their will.
        3. We will go to the Comfort Women and ask them what they would like us to do or say. We will involve them directly in these talks.”

        versus

        “I’m on the side of these women, who will likely never accept an apology, no matter if it IS sincere….”

        For someone who takes it herself to fight for (well, argue for) women’s rights, you are doing a pretty good job of reinforcing the (incorrect) stereotype held by some of women not being able to think rationally.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Oh rly? Tell me, sir, what’s irrational about believing women’s testimony of what happened to them during wartime? Can you do that without resorting to stereotypical misogynist explanations that rely on the “them wimens lie about rape” trope?

      • 69station

        Quick lesson in discussion board interaction:

        – When someone quotes something you said, then comments on it, the comments are about the quoted words, and nothing else.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Quick lesson for you: when you are hostile and rude from the get go, the response you garner is similarly hostile and rude.

        Now piss off.

      • 69station

        Not letting emotion get the better of rationality, are you? Not helping your sisters by reinforcing that stereotype.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Oh, I see. When men get angry, they’re fully justified. When women do, we’re letting emotion carry us away. Mmmmhmmmm. Tell us another.

      • 69station

        Now you’re just putting words into my mouth.

        I challenged the logical inconsistency of something you wrote. You reacted by referring to something else. I put you back on topic. You went off topic. I pointed out that you had gone off-topic. You went off-topic. See the pattern?

      • blondein_tokyo

        You quoted something I wrote, and said it was irrational in a very rude way, without even explaining why it was irrational.

        Then I replied angrily – thinking that you were yet another one of those people on this board
        who deny and/or distort the issue (of which there are many) – asking you what exactly was irrational.

        You then replied rudely again, still without telling me what was irrational about my original post so I again replied rudely back to you. This of course took us off topic – what did you expect?

        See, the lack of explanation on your part on why exactly my first post was “irrational” caused me to think you are just being argumentative and that you didn’t really have a point to make. That is all too common on this board, particularly when I am posting about womens’ issues. This is because there are a hell of a lot of misogynistic trolls around here that JT doesn’t bother to keep out, who ruin the discussions with their off-topic rants or random comments meant only to derail. How am I to tell them, from you, if you behave like one of them?

        Finally, when I get angry, I show it. Tone-trolling, when you have been rude from the get-go, is not very, well, RATIONAL on your part.

        Finally, if you would LIKE to get back on topic, go ahead and tell me exactly WHAT is “irrational” about my original post. You have yet to do that.

      • 69station

        I would hope that I wouldn’t have to explain why something is irrational, but seeing as you don’t see the irrationality, then I will state it openly:

        You are arguing that the Japanese government is making a ‘notpology’ and not showing real remorse, therefore they should make a sincere apology. You then state that (you are on the side of) the women who will not never accept the apology, even a sincere one.

        The current Japanese government is not ‘responsible’ for the rape of any of these women, the people who raped them or made the rape likely are responsible, and they are all dead. (If you don’t think so, try prosecuting any of the current Japanese government in any court worldwide, however sympathetic, for raping any of these women and see how far you can get.) The current Japanese government is responsible for reaching settlement, through the rules of international diplomacy, with the South Korean government (even to negotiate with the women directly, they have to have the blessing of that government) on what is to be done at this late stage.

        You are calling on them to make (what you see as a more) sincere approach whilst at the same time urging/supporting the women to not accept even a sincere approach. The Japanese government is not a lover who was unfaithful and then jilted, thus having to beg for forgiveness until such time as the partner sees fit to decide to accept the sincere apology. International negotiation on such sensitive issues requires a sincere approach from either side, or it is not worth even beginning.

        Finally, yes, these women have often been left out of and mis-informed about the negotiations, and there is clear responsibility for that: squarely at the feet of the South Korean government. A government who is led (ironically) by a woman whose grandfather long ago accepted a huge amount of money (much much greater than the amounts now being talked about) on behalf of those women, when many more of them were still alive, and they never got a cent of it.

      • blondein_tokyo

        I see. You are of the opinion that current government administrations are not responsible for the actions taken by past administrations.

        You are aware though, that there ARE arguments that say they should be? And obviously, since the Japanese government IS apologizing and trying to make reparations, they must feel there is some logic in that argument?

        So you are in essence making an assertion that current government administrations are not responsible for the actions taken by past administrations, and that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, because….? You don’t really get into exactly why this is true; you just state it and expect people to be convinced.

        It doesn’t work like that. If you really want to convince people, then you will need to back that up.

        Unfortunately, I’m not particularly interested in discussing this further with you, because you come off like such a rude ahole. I really just don’t care what you think, to be honest.

      • 69station

        “So you are in essence making an assertion that current government administrations are not responsible for the actions taken by past administrations, and that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, because….? You don’t really get into exactly why this is true; you just state it and expect people to be convinced.”

        Again read what I wrote. If you are asserting that, for example, the current Prime Minister of Japan, is directly responsible for the rape of these women, then the onus is very much on you to prove that assertion, because……..no one else in the world is making that assertion. Not the women themselves nor anyone else. As I said, try prosecuting Shinzo Abe in any respected court in the world for the actual rape of these women (or even complicity in) and you will be laughed out the door. One essential requirement of all same legal systems is that the accused was actually in existence at the time of the alleged crime.

        Now, of course, these are various arguments for the extent to which a contemporary government is responsible for not the crime itself but for taking actions on behalf of the country in its international relations with other governments (as representatives of their citizens) and to what extent they should act to deal with historical grievances, and so on. In that case, responsibility for the satisfaction or otherwise of these women with the agreement lies with the South Korean government and the approaches/negotiations it makes on their behalf. I would certainly agree that the South Korean government has consistent;y failed those women.

      • blondein_tokyo

        You quoted something I wrote, and said it was irrational in a very rude way, without even explaining why it was irrational.

        Then I replied angrily – thinking that you were yet another one of those people on this board
        who deny and/or distort the issue (of which there are many) – asking you what exactly was irrational.

        You then replied rudely again, still without telling me what was irrational about my original post so I again replied rudely back to you. This of course took us off topic – what did you expect?

        See, the lack of explanation on your part on why exactly my first post was “irrational” caused me to think you are just being argumentative and that you didn’t really have a point to make. That is all too common on this board, particularly when I am posting about womens’ issues. This is because there are a hell of a lot of misogynistic trolls around here that JT doesn’t bother to keep out, who ruin the discussions with their off-topic rants or random comments meant only to derail. How am I to tell them, from you, if you behave like one of them?

        Finally, when I get angry, I show it. Tone-trolling, when you have been rude from the get-go, is not very, well, RATIONAL on your part.

        Finally, if you would LIKE to get back on topic, go ahead and tell me exactly WHAT is “irrational” about my original post. You have yet to do that.

      • Tachomanx

        Fine, you have a right to be entrenched in your position and since you aren’t even for a sincere apology then I guess that’s the end of the argument as no words will get through you. Good thing people like you aren’t in charge or else no grievance would ever be overcome for the sake of the future generations.

        As for me using the Comfort Women term, is how the whole thing is being talked about on most forums so use it for the sake of knowing what we are talking about.

      • blondein_tokyo

        It’s not me who has to approve of the apology. It’s the “Comfort Women” who do. And not me, you, or the government of Japan, or the government of Korea, or anyone else gets to decide something like that for these women. Only they can decide whether or not they feel acceptance of an apology is right for them. Some of them have; others haven’t. That is their right and privilege.

        Why call ME “entrenched” in my position? You aren’t “entrenched” in yours? Odd choice of words.

        I use “Comfort Women” too, since yes- that is how they are generally referred to, but I write it in quotations to show it’s a euphemism.

        The Japanese government only uses “Comfort Women” so as to avoid calling them “sex slaves” because those words are far more inflammatory, and might actually rile people to the cause – and they do not want that to happen. They like euphemisms so they can neatly avoid saying the truth out loud.

      • Tachomanx

        Well I hope they appreciate that this is the best they’ll ever get before they pass away for if after these talks Korea backs down, Japan is never bringing the subject to the table again and this time they’ll have a very valid excuse for it. Guess Park was too hasty to get a deal and put herself and the country on a point of no return.

        I say entrenched because not even a real apology, which is the case here with Abe signing it as PM and providing government funds, will manage to assuage you. So one can only guess you aren’t willing to forgive at all and rather keep hating Japan regardless of what happens.

      • blondein_tokyo

        What makes you think I hate Japan? I live in Japan. I have Japanese friends, and consider them family. My best friend, whom I’ve known for over 20 years and love like a sister, is Japanese.

        I don’t see how you can generalize like that. It makes no logical sense to say that because I think the Japanese GOVERNMENT is not doing right by these women, it must mean that I hate all of Japan. That’s just ridiculous.

        Finally, I’d like you to imagine something. Think of the women you love most in this world, a wife, a gf, your mom, a sister, female friends..and then think if she were kidnapped and raped the way these “Comfort Women” were. Would you be so willing to forgive and forget? Would you be like the father of Lucie Blackman and accept payment from Joji Obara? Would you say that throwing money at someone who has been so fundamentally hurt, scarred, torn apart, and abused that they can never, ever, live a normal life, means they should accept an apology for that abuse?

        Do you think something like that can ever, under any circumstances, *really* be forgiven?

        Edit: I just read a story about the reaction of the “Comfort Women” when the Koran government rep came to visit them and ask them to accept this apology. One of them was so angry that she kept screaming “WHO ARE YOU TO COME HERE” and “YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE HERE”. It took time to calm her down so the guy could even sit down.

        Good on her! :) Tough old lady!

      • blondein_tokyo

        It’s not me who has to approve of the apology. It’s the “Comfort Women” who do. And not me, you, or the government of Japan, or the government of Korea, or anyone else gets to decide something like that for these women. Only they can decide whether or not they feel acceptance of an apology is right for them. Some of them have; others haven’t. That is their right and privilege.

        Why call ME “entrenched” in my position? You aren’t “entrenched” in yours? Odd choice of words.

        I use “Comfort Women” too, since yes- that is how they are generally referred to, but I write it in quotations to show it’s a euphemism.

        The Japanese government only uses “Comfort Women” so as to avoid calling them “sex slaves” because those words are far more inflammatory, and might actually rile people to the cause – and they do not want that to happen. They like euphemisms so they can neatly avoid saying the truth out loud.

      • KenjiAd

        Hey hey, he isn’t saying “Japan” or “Japanese government” is objective. All he’s saying is according to Japanese scholars.

        Is it your position that Japanese scholars can’t be objective, because they are Japanese?

        I hope you are not saying that. :-) It’s like saying American scholars can’t know Japanese culture.

        Japanese historians come with various shades of political spectrum. Some are left, while others are right, and many in between.

        But there’s one thing in common. They all have access to the primary documentary sources written in Japanese. I’m not aware of any historian in the west who can claim as such, on the complex issue of Ianfus (so-called “Comfort Women”).

      • blondein_tokyo

        He is saying Japanese scholars are objective, while those outside Japan are not. I am saying that if anyone is not objective, the opposite would be true – the accused generally would be the one with the most reason to stretch the truth.

        Do you know who I believe, though? I believe the women. Many of them said they were kidnapped, others said their families sold them, and still others said the soldiers lied and told them they would be doing other types of labor. I also do not for one second believe that the Japanese government at the time did not know what the army was doing, and either tacitly, or even directly, condoned it.

        Society has a tendency to disbelieve women or else not take their testimony seriously, particularly when it comes to sexual assault. There have been people in the government as well as the public sector (who call themselves “historians”) who have downplayed the events or even outright called these women liars.

        The issue is NOT complex. It is very simple: these women were kept as sex slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army, and repeatedly raped for many months. The Japanese government has never once admitted it knew about it as it was happening, and have only tried to shift the responsibility to the Imperial Army. They apologized for the “loss of dignity” but not for “being raped repeatedly and kept as slaves”. They acknowledged responsibility for the “issue” but not for “we knew there were women being held as sex slaves and did nothing about it.”

        Many of the women have refused these halfassed apologies, because when you’ve been raped repeatedly, had your story criticized, and been called a liar, you tend to not feel very forgiving.

        Like I said: I am unequivocally on THEIR side. I believe THEM. Anyone else’s point of view is invalid, and anyone arguing against their point of view is a rape apologist and misogynist.

      • Tando

        You are wrong, after WW2 history commisions were set up with historians from Germany and neighbouring countries like Poland or France to make sure the same history was taught in either country.

      • Tachomanx

        Shame the same can’t happen in East Asia with China sponsoring lies in it’s patriotic education and Korea having an “official” account of history that can’t be challenged else you face criminal procedures.

      • Tando

        Blame, blame, blame that is all I read from the apologists. Have You ever heard this Christian parable: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” There was a documentary on TV this morning, “Senso wo shiranai kodomotachi he”, which described the harsh treatment of juvenile soldiers in Japan. Tell me, if you are so proud of Japans past, would you like to go back there and become one of these soldiers. Nationalism is it that blinds you, and yes you are right when you say that the same is true for China and Korea.

      • Tando

        Ah by the way, forgot to mention that in Japan you get death threats when you challenge a certain idelogy.

      • Tachomanx

        The big difference is that the threats come from minoritary groups and you can go to the police for protection and have a crime investigated.

        In China and Korea is the government who comes after you.

        Quite different wouldn’t you agree?

      • Tachomanx

        The big difference is that the threats come from minoritary groups and you can go to the police for protection and have a crime investigated.

        In China and Korea is the government who comes after you.

        Quite different wouldn’t you agree?

    • Malaysian Expat

      Of course it is not what SK wants but she has to accept that this is all she will get. It is fair and let’s hope it is really final but my feeling is in another 10-20 year time, SK will raise it again.

      So 1 billion Yen to buy peace and quietness for another 10-20 years.

    • Malaysian Expat

      Of course it is not what SK wants but she has to accept that this is all she will get. It is fair and let’s hope it is really final but my feeling is in another 10-20 year time, SK will raise it again.

      So 1 billion Yen to buy peace and quietness for another 10-20 years.

  • Toolonggone

    I believe this is a good start for both countries. I know there are still a chunk of roadblocks ahead of them, and we will expect detractors from both of the isles(e.g., left and right camps in both countries). Even so, this provisional agreement is a huge progress compared to Abe the first. It’s definitely better than the previous offer that was made 20 years ago. Let’s see how this will turn out when both national leaders meet each other in the next few months.

    • KenjiAd

      Kudos for the diplo’s from both countries.

    • blondein_tokyo

      How is it better? I’m curious why you think so, since the only thing I can see that is different is that they gave over a lot more hush money.

    • blondein_tokyo

      How is it better? I’m curious why you think so, since the only thing I can see that is different is that they gave over a lot more hush money.

      • Toolonggone

        Compared to the last offer made 20 years ago, the government recognized their accountability for their role in sexual violence against victims. They showed willingness–although unknown how this will turn out — to offer a heartfelt apology with compensatory money. In the past, there’s no such message from the government. In spite of Murayama administration’s effort to reach out to Asian countries for apology over wartime, the state representatives took an evasive attitude on responsibility and instead offered support through now-defunct AWF(Asian Women Fund).

      • blondein_tokyo

        They didn’t -directly- recognize the -government’s- responsibility for the -kidnapping and sexual enslavement- of these women. It’s no different than, and no better than, the Kono statement.

        “The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military
        authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity
        of large numbers of women, and the Government of Japan is painfully
        aware of responsibilities from this perspective.”

        1. The government is sorry for the “issue”.
        2. It was an affront to their “honor and dignity.”
        3. The current government has “responsibilities for the affront to their dignity and honor”

        It should say,

        1. We are sorry the Japanese government kidnapped women and forced them into sexual slavery.
        2. We are fully responsible for the pain and suffering caused by their being repeatedly raped and held captive, against their will.
        3. We will go to the Comfort Women and ask them what they would like us to do or say. We will involve them directly in these talks.

        Why do male politicians think they can solve women’s issues without the input of the very women they harmed? This is nothing more than politicking.

      • Toolonggone

        I don’t disagree with any of the points you mention above except for one thing. I did not compare this preliminary talk with Kono Statement.

    • blondein_tokyo

      How is it better? I’m curious why you think so, since the only thing I can see that is different is that they gave over a lot more hush money.

    • blondein_tokyo

      How is it better? I’m curious why you think so, since the only thing I can see that is different is that they gave over a lot more hush money.

    • blondein_tokyo

      How is it better? I’m curious why you think so, since the only thing I can see that is different is that they gave over a lot more hush money.

    • blondein_tokyo

      How is it better? I’m curious why you think so, since the only thing I can see that is different is that they gave over a lot more hush money.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Congratulations to Abe Shinzo and Park Geun-hye for this “complete” and “final” agreement, featuring the apology and responsibility of the Japanese government accompanied by something far larger than a token fund from Japan. There will undoubtedly be a continuation of revisionism by politicians in Japan — that’s in the nature of a free Japan — but no longer will there be the government playing around with the Kono Statement. Similarly, there will be continuing anti-Japanese sentiment by some in Korea — that is part and parcel of the freedoms that Koreans passionately pursue as well — but as poll after poll have indicated most Koreans want to settle this issue and move on because the Koreans are also keenly aware of their geopolitical circumstances.

    • 69station

      My God, almost total agreement between us. Will wonders never cease?

    • 69station

      My God, almost total agreement between us. Will wonders never cease?

  • Liars N. Fools

    Congratulations to Abe Shinzo and Park Geun-hye for this “complete” and “final” agreement, featuring the apology and responsibility of the Japanese government accompanied by something far larger than a token fund from Japan. There will undoubtedly be a continuation of revisionism by politicians in Japan — that’s in the nature of a free Japan — but no longer will there be the government playing around with the Kono Statement. Similarly, there will be continuing anti-Japanese sentiment by some in Korea — that is part and parcel of the freedoms that Koreans passionately pursue as well — but as poll after poll have indicated most Koreans want to settle this issue and move on because the Koreans are also keenly aware of their geopolitical circumstances.

  • Bernadette Soubirous

    Japan pleas remember to always negotiate from a position of power. I do not agree with this agreement because the Chinese and North Koreans are watching this very closely. This makes the Japanese look week and trust me it will not change the anti Japanese feeling in the region. Who cares about the comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese embassy. The South Korean govern and South Korean military used the comfort women as well. The surviving comfort women will not see a dime of this money. If it were a European country who used the comfort women the South Korean government would not be asking for anything nor will a European country offer any money.

    The South Korean people are being hypocrites because in the Philippines
    there are so many half Korean babies that were abandoned by their Korean fathers. So can we look at the Filipinas as comfort women to South Korean men?

    • Revelation

      Whether or not any of us agree on this issue, it’s too late. And don’t you know the whole world consists of hypocrites, or are you new to the rules of the political game? Better not to waste your time complaining.

      • Bernadette Soubirous

        A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the apprehension of them is not understanding.

      • Revelation

        Closed minds can’t hope to allow the truth, and even so, without willingness to embrace it there is no hope of understanding. Likewise, understanding needs to flow both ways.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Sock puppet.

      • Tachomanx

        You are one to talk! LOL

    • 大千釜 創雷

      Well spoken. However, the disgusting ugly comfort woman statue must be removed, not because the Japanese government wishes for it, but because it violates international law, i.e the Treaty of Vienna. Countries are not allowed to place anything that might impair the dignity of countries in front of embassies.

  • Revelation

    The only thing Japan owes South Korea is proof that future generations will know the truth, and that itself is priceless. The Korean government made a huge mistake, pursuing the wrong solution, then again some people only care about the money. Now sit back and watch as a future Japanese leader is bound to tamper with this issue again, and the Korean people revolt against it.

    • Malaysian Expat

      And the thing South Korea owes Japan after receiving her 1 billion is a fair and free academic environment in South Korea for the truth to be pursued and not hate education and persecution of academic historian for political agenda.

      • Revelation

        Surely, though I would like to see Japan take the lead if this dance will go anywhere.

      • Malaysian Expat

        Japan should pro-actively seek out these women or their descendants, getting government emissaries to personally visit each one of them, apologise and handover the compensation/atonement money.

        The same should be done to Japanese, Chinese, South East Asian and Dutch comfort women.

        They will never get a final solution at the government level. Too much political gains to be made from it.

  • Kessek

    So is it over now?

    • Tachomanx

      Is up to the next korean administration really. They have a bad record moving the goal posts of this issue constantly as to appear harsh against Japan and harvest support.

      The big difference this time around is that if this deal gets signed in the U.S. in front of the U.S. president and Korea eventually slips back or returns to the subject; Japan will be able to forever wash its hands on this matter, unplug all aid to these exploited ladies and have Korea suffer a dire blow to it’s credibility and it’s image before the U.S.

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    The above JT article states:

    “The fund would effectively expand a little-known state-run follow-up program to the now-defunct Asian Women’s Fund, which was a pool of private donations that was set up at Tokyo’s initiative in 1995 and lasted through 2007”

    From a BBC article on 10 April 2007, “Japan’s divisive ‘comfort women’ fund”

    “Haruki Wada, the fund’s executive director, admitted that there was initial confusion about the fund’s status.

    So he started his explanation of the fund by giving some facts:

    + 565m yen ($4.7m) was raised in donations from the Japanese people, and given to 285 comfort women from Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, each of whom received about 2m yen ($16,700)

    + 770m yen ($6.5m) in taxpayers’ money was provided to pay for medical fees for these women, and for 79 other women from the Netherlands

    + 370 million yen ($3.1m) was spent building medical facilities and old peoples’ homes in Indonesia, rather than compensating individuals there, and the rest was used for the fund’s running costs and other smaller projects”

    So it appears the money was both private and public, NOT private only as usually stated as a reason for rejecting the attempt at reconciliation.

  • Bernadette Soubirous

    Many of the 46 women are being housed in nursing homes operated by the anti-Japanese activist organizations. The money will go to these organizations and used for continuous anti-Japanese movements. Little will go to these former prostitutes.

    • Revelation

      And do you have proof that these women were prostitutes? Have some decency unless you can produce something that isn’t nationalist fabrication from either side.

  • Richard Solomon

    While any of us interested observers might offer different conditions for such an agreement, the main thing is whether Abe and Park agree on it. If they do, then it is incumbent on both of them to persuade their cohorts and supporters that it is in their country’s best interests to accept this ‘final’ agreement. We shall see if both Park and Abe stick to and sign this deal or not. Or will they find some detail to object to and scuttle it at the last moment?

  • CaptainAsia

    This really is about money, money and more money. Nothing about diplomacy.

    • 大千釜 創雷

      I am sure that they are planning to bring up another issue regarding Japan’s rule of Korea and claim that “it has yet to been dealt with properly”.

  • CaptainAsia

    Now lets see Korea take action over the Han lai dan issue.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    Shinzo writes a ‘sorry for the sex-slaves’ letter? He must sense that Abenomics isn’t fooling anyone, and his days are numbered.

  • blondein_tokyo

    This is the lamest notpology I have ever seen. Not only did they fail to acknowledge the government’s complicity in kidnapping these women and forcing them into sexual slavery, they are insisting Korea drop it and even take down the statues erected in honor of these women. I’m infuriated. Sacrificing women for political gain – why am I not surprised, considering how Abe has not lifted a finger to do anything about gender inequality in Japan?

    • 大千釜 創雷

      Lamest comment I have ever had the misfortune to read. The comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese embassy actually violates Article 22 of the Vienna Convention.

      THE RECEIVING STATE IS UNDER A SPECIAL DUTY
      TO TAKE ALL APPROPRIATE STEPS TO PROTECT THE PREMISES OF THE
      MISSION AGAINST ANY INTRUSION OR DAMAGE AND TO PREVENT ANY
      DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE OF THE MISSION OR IMPAIRMENT OF ITS
      DIGNITY.

      Erected in honor of these women? Ha.

      • blondein_tokyo

        I see. You are a misogynist, and a rape apologist. That means I don’t need to further engage you or listen to a damn thing you say. Good to know. Too bad this has no block feature, so instead of blocking you I’ll ignore you.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        I see you failed to come up with any good counterarguments and decided to brand me as something that I am not. Amazing argument skills.

      • blondein_tokyo

        I see. You are a misogynist, and a rape apologist. That means I don’t need to further engage you or listen to a damn thing you say. Good to know. Too bad this has no block feature, so instead of blocking you I’ll ignore you.

    • 大千釜 創雷

      Lamest comment I have ever had the misfortune to read. The comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese embassy actually violates Article 22 of the Vienna Convention.

      THE RECEIVING STATE IS UNDER A SPECIAL DUTY
      TO TAKE ALL APPROPRIATE STEPS TO PROTECT THE PREMISES OF THE
      MISSION AGAINST ANY INTRUSION OR DAMAGE AND TO PREVENT ANY
      DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE OF THE MISSION OR IMPAIRMENT OF ITS
      DIGNITY.

      Erected in honor of these women? Ha.

  • blondein_tokyo

    This is the lamest notpology I have ever seen. Not only did they fail to acknowledge the government’s complicity in kidnapping these women and forcing them into sexual slavery, they are insisting Korea drop it and even take down the statues erected in honor of these women. I’m infuriated. Sacrificing women for political gain – why am I not surprised, considering how Abe has not lifted a finger to do anything about gender inequality in Japan?

  • blondein_tokyo

    This is the lamest notpology I have ever seen. Not only did they fail to acknowledge the government’s complicity in kidnapping these women and forcing them into sexual slavery, they are insisting Korea drop it and even take down the statues erected in honor of these women. I’m infuriated. Sacrificing women for political gain – why am I not surprised, considering how Abe has not lifted a finger to do anything about gender inequality in Japan?

  • blondein_tokyo

    This is the lamest notpology I have ever seen. Not only did they fail to acknowledge the government’s complicity in kidnapping these women and forcing them into sexual slavery, they are insisting Korea drop it and even take down the statues erected in honor of these women. I’m infuriated. Sacrificing women for political gain – why am I not surprised, considering how Abe has not lifted a finger to do anything about gender inequality in Japan?

  • blondein_tokyo

    This is the lamest notpology I have ever seen. Not only did they fail to acknowledge the government’s complicity in kidnapping these women and forcing them into sexual slavery, they are insisting Korea drop it and even take down the statues erected in honor of these women. I’m infuriated. Sacrificing women for political gain – why am I not surprised, considering how Abe has not lifted a finger to do anything about gender inequality in Japan?

  • Malaysian Expat

    I hope the poor women will get the money before it is siphoned off for various other organisation.

    Comfort women issue has spawned a whole industry in Korea and China milking it for their own agenda. They won’t let this be the final and complete settlement.

    • Bruce Chatwin

      The comfort women (ie WWII Imperial Army of Japan use of sex slaves) issue has spawned a whole industry in Japan too. Pundits, publishers, and politicians a cashing in on the misery of others.

      • Malaysian Expat

        I agree. The countrymen of these comfort women repeatedly used them for their own financial and political gains.

        One wonder which is worse, abuse and suffering committed many years ago by an ‘enemy’ with active collaboration of fellow countrymen, or abuse and suffering committed now by fellow countrymen in the name of seeking justice for them with collaboration by the ‘enemy’.

  • 大千釜 創雷

    Worst decision ever made by the post-war Japanese government. As mentioned in the article, all issues concerning Japan’s colonial rule of Korea have been officially settled by the peace treaty. Nevertheless, the South Koreans persistently kept demanding an apology and compensation from Japan. Yielding to the persistent cry, the Japanese government established a fund to collect money and then provided it as well as an apology letter written by the then Japanese prime minister to former comfort women including non-Korean ones. Despite all of this, they have made yet another concession… I was not expecting much from Shinzo Abe, but now I have no hope for him.

    • Toolonggone

      Well, I think it’s still better than the voices directly heard from 韓国挺身隊問題対策協議会( “The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan”), a radical right-wing organization advocating political antagonism. This organization turns out to be a right-wing ideological fundamentalist that stands in the way between Japan and South Korea. They don’t want amicable reconciliation between the two; they want confrontation and lawsuit at international court. Also, they are the one responsible for setting up comfort women statute. It was built without government permission.

  • Bernadette Soubirous

    A lot of Koreans (even Southern) have resentment towards Japan, and it will never die. The hatred for Japan is still being used as an excuse (and has been for over half a century) by the Kims as a reason to stay separatist from the South and isolated from the world.
    The irony is that the North Korean regime has done things equally as brutal, if not more – so than the Japanese did yet keep their country divided and locked in perpetual civil war divided by an invisible line on some latitudinal coordinate.

  • xexex

    It’s too late. Way, way too late for the effort to come off as sincere. Especially since it only consists of a bit of coffee money.

    It’s always interesting to see the apologists that comment on these articles. I wonder if ISIS will see the same kind of support 100 years from now. “They weren’t that bad”, “They’ve apologized”, etc. It’s as if they don’t comprehend the gravity of what happened.

  • Max Erimo

    Seriously. All Japan has to do is look at how Germany dealt with the history it would have rather forgotten. As with everything else just throwing money at it won’t solve the problem.

  • 大千釜 創雷

    Setting up a statue in front of an embassy is in no way a “political speech”. Everyone has the right to conduct protests in front of embassies, but not to set up a statue, which will always be there once done. This applies to Japan and all the other countries, too. You can protest against the South Korean government in front of the South Korean embassy, but not erect a statue or anything of the sort.

    • A.J. Sutter

      Art. 22 of the Convention does not mention speech; it provides in relevant part: “The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.” This is ambiguous. However, if demonstrations and vigils in front of an embassy or other diplomatic mission have been deemed not to violate this provision, then one could argue that a statue seems all the more permitted, since it is less disturbing of the peace of the mission.

      As to the separate question of whether a statue can be deemed political speech, in certain legal contexts yes, a work of art can be deemed political speech. I am not aware whether it has yet been done so in the jurisprudence under the 1961 Convention, but it isn’t out of the question that it could be done in the future. The meanings of words can be broader or narrower in legal usage than they are in ordinary conversational usage. In this case, legal usage is what matters.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        “… then one could argue that a statue seems all the more permitted, since it is less disturbing of the peace of the mission”, but what about the dignity? Why ignoring this respect? Freedom of speech should be protected. Thus, demonstrations and vigils are allowed. Setting up a statue is, however, a whole different thing. Embassies are the faces of the nations. You can conduct protests in front of them, but not set up a statue. Were the erection of a statue in front of an embassy allowed, it would be extremely ugly. It would have a lot of political signs, statues etc around it. It is common courtesy to keep those things away from embassies. You frequently see Japanese conservative groups protesting in front of the South Korean and Chinese embassies, but you do not see any statues, signs or placards stuck in front of them.

      • A.J. Sutter

        Your argument might have some merit, but my point is that the treaty’s wording is ambiguous, and any treaty-based argument by Japan would have to distinguish previous cases in a manner persuasive to the judges hearing the case (not JT readers). It is not an obvious slam-dunk win for the Japanese position.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        Yes, ambiguous, but if you use common sense, you will understand how discourteous and abnormal it is for a nation to allow something that impairs the dignity of another nation to be set up in front of the embassy. I wouldn’t say Japan would without a doubt win the case, but given that no embassy has such a thing around it, she probably would.

  • A.J. Sutter

    Interesting that so far virtually all the comments are focused on the merits of the agreement, without thinking more objectively about the political impact. The fact is that many people in both Japan and South Korea will be angry about this.

    Probably many in South Korea will feel that Japan is getting off too easy — the money is too small, and the apology came from the Foreign Minister, instead of from the mouth of Abe personally. In addition to resentment at Japan, President Park and her party also may feel the heat.

    What’s certain is that many in Japan are angry. Abe has succeeded in getting broad support because of his ability to rouse nationalist sentiments while distracting people from his poor handling of the economy (other than for the wealthiest few). These supporters are bound to feel betrayed. Compounding that feeling is a suspicion (which I am neither condoning nor repudiating) that now that Japan has admitted its guilt, South Korea will exploit that to make repeated monetary demands in the future.

    It’s a dangerous mixture for the LDP: Abe is alienating both his base and swing voters in the middle. Even some of my wife’s politically moderate friends who supported Abe immediately wrote to her to express their disgust, within hours of the deal being announced. In a sense Abe was courageous to alienate those on his far right — his wife’s visit to Yasukuni today was almost certainly meant as damage control. But more moderate voters who followed him solely because of his nationalism might be less likely to follow him further. (Moreover, it was unusually maladroit of him to make the announcement on the last working day of the year, just as throngs of sarariiman were going out drinking — he provided a ready-made topic of conversation.) If the angry reaction prevails, then the possibility of dissolution of the Lower House and a double election in July 2016 (which has until now been assumed by the political parties) just got more remote.

    The big winner in this is the US. Obviously both Japan and Korea were under pressure to shut up about this issue. Abe’s opponents, and those newly disillusioned with him, can point out that the agreement is yet another instance of his putting US interests above those of Japan. I suspect that eventually this also will be portrayed as an achievement of Ambassador Kennedy, helping to rehabilitate the political career she trashed in various ways while being considered to fill the Senate seat Hillary Clinton vacated in 2009.

  • http://registeredalien.weebly.com gpiper

    It all sounds good. But “sincere apology and remorse” is not an apology. An apology is when a person says, “Yes, this happened [admission]. It was wrong [confession]. I’m sorry [apology].” Japanese leader will never say that – largely, I guess, because that’s not how they conceive an apology. The Japanese conception of apology is to say they “regret” something – as if a thing happened accidentally, without their direct involvement – and then to express “remorse” over it – as if it’s not their fault to begin with.

  • 69station

    If the information came out 3 days before the agreement was reached at the ministerial level (the level that counts) then it was premature, i.e. misinformation.

    • Toolonggone

      I don’t understand your logic. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no single complain from the government or critics on the initial report.

  • Erhe R.

    Remember the 6 million comfort women!

  • TechnicalTranslator

    Refer to Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report No. 49, UNITED STATES OFFICE OF WAR INFORMATION Psychological Warfare Team Attached to U.S. Army Forces India-Burma TheaterAPO 689

  • Pop Eye

    Wow just move on already. Im sure the Japanese people are not proud of this and have offered their apologies. I dont understand why korean people hold on to this passed incident so dearly when things like holocaust and civil rights movements in america are already long forgotten.