South Korea and Japan reach agreement on ‘comfort women’
New Delhi : Japan and South Korea have reached an agreement over the long-standing issue of ‘comfort women,’ a term that describes sex slaves used by the Japanese military during World War II. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced that his government would give 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) to a fund to help those who suffered on account of sex slavery at that time.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se added that as long as Tokyo would stick to its side of the deal, Seoul would, from its side, consider the issue ‘irreversibly’ resolved. In addition, the two governments have agreed to refrain from criticizing and blaming each other in the international society, including the United Nations, he added in a joint news conference.
Japanese foreign Minister quoted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and said, ‘The PM expresses anew his 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.’
Contradictory responses were received from different strata of the society over this deal. For instance, an advocacy group for former comfort women said the deal announced Monday was ‘almost humiliating.’ The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan’s War and Women’s Human Rights Museum said, ‘Even though the Japanese government revealed they feel strongly of their responsibility, it is hard to find the fact that the Japanese military’s ‘comfort women’ crime is systemically self-organized by Japanese government and the military in this agreement.’
Data shows that an estimated 200,000 women were forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers in World War II, mainly Korean. Other women came from China, Taiwan and Indonesia.
China too expressed its opinion over the deal. Responding to the agreement, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the forced recruitment of the ‘comfort women’ was a grave crime against humanity.He added — The Chinese side always maintains that the Japanese side should face up to and reflect upon its history of aggression and properly deal with the relevant issue with a sense of responsibility.