Suga rules out Taiwan talks, says Japan’s ‘comfort women’ deal applies only to South Korea


Staff Writer

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated Tuesday the government does not intend to launch new negotiations on the “comfort women” issue with other countries after sealing a deal with South Korea.

His comments came days after Taiwan called on Japan to begin negotiations over the issue.

During his regularly scheduled news conference, Suga repeatedly said that Japan has already dealt with other countries over the issue of women and girls who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

“Up until today, the government has dealt with (each country over the issue) in a sincere manner considering each circumstance,” Suga said. “Given that, I believe situations (over the issue in those countries are) different from South Korea.

“Between (Japan and) South Korea, the comfort women issue had affected the development of bilateral ties,” he said.

Tokyo and Seoul reached a landmark agreement Dec. 28 in which the Japanese government will provide ¥1 billion for a new South Korean foundation aimed at helping aging former comfort women while also admitting to the wartime military’s involvement in the system.

But Suga denied media reports about launching new talks on the issue with Taiwan, which has been asking Japan for an official apology and compensation for Taiwanese victims.

He declined to disclose any further information on exchanges between Tokyo and Taipei over Taiwanese women who were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.

Separately, a high-level official also said Japan has no intention of launching new talks with Taiwan over the issue despite moves by the government there to gather concrete demands from former comfort women.

In 1995, the Japanese government set up the private Asian Women’s Fund to provide “atonement money” to former comfort women from of all nationalities.

Tokyo offered the victims about ¥2 million each in donations made by private Japanese citizens and up to ¥3 million in “medical and welfare support” from the government, together with a formal letter of apology signed by four successive prime ministers.

According to media reports, 211 Filipinos, 79 Dutch, 61 South Koreans and 13 Taiwanese accepted and received the offer.

Information from Kyodo added

  • Taro-nechan

    The optics of this is just hideous. Just extend it to all victims and not suffer another self inflicted PR disaster.

  • AJ

    “Four successive prime ministers” sounds impressive for people from America, where there have been five presidents since 1980, or the UK, where there have been five prime ministers since 1979.

    The article should point out that Japan has had 20 prime ministers since 1980 (17 since the Heisei era started in 1989).

  • Liars N. Fools

    Suga — a profile to discourage rather than a profile of courage. Not unexpected and so not disappointing except in a karmic sense.

  • Melonbarmonster

    It is painfully obvious that the only reason Abe has gone ahead with attempting to resolve this issue with Korea is to claim victory that Japan won’t be pestered by this issue rather than any sincere acknowledgement or responsibility for Japan’s sex enslavement of women. Even the Korea agreement is in jeopardy over the statue issue which is a NPO/NGO owned and run project. Abe’s lack of actual contrition and continued denial is going to snowball the so called Comfort Women issue. Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, China are all involved not to mention women from Netherlands, Australia who were victimized.