Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, has stated opposition to the Korean president, Moon Jae-in’s proposal that their two countries revise a 2015 agreement between the two countries concerning comfort women testimonies. However, Abe does agree that the two countries need to meet to discuss a “future-oriented” relationship between their two countries. They did so during the recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The leaders of several other countries around the world were also present.
The question of the comfort women stories refers to the era of Japan’s colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. These were kidnapped women and girls who were forced to have sex with around 100 men every day. These females were often deprived of adequate food and water. During that time the Japanese forced many Korean women to serve their soldiers via prostitution. During World War II, many of these women were shipped off to the front lines to serve in brothels for the Japanese officers. In recent times these women have been called Korean comfort women.
South Korea’s renewal of this feud is considered very inopportune at this time with the imminent North Korea nuclear threat. In the 2015 agreement, Japan officially apologized to the South Korean comfort women and set up a 1 billion yen fund for those of them still living. However, in the instance, Japan also had some demands. They asked that all of South Korea’s statues commemorating “comfort women” be removed. Up to that time, South Korea had installed such statues in several countries around the world: the United States, Australia, and Germany.
South Korea is now coming to the conclusion that this was not enough. In the brief time since the 2015 agreement, the 46 surviving South Korean victims and still living victims from neighboring countries have staged protests. And they were not alone in protesting. Hundreds of South Koreans have joined in the protests and many more have expressed decided discontentment with the 2015 agreement. So the South Korean government put together a five-month investigative team to look into the 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo.
The task force found that the former South Korean government, led by former President Park Geun-hye, had failed to fully take into consideration the opinions of the still living Korean comfort women. Thus, the recent demand to revisit the 2015 agreement. This information has been relayed to the world via Moon’s spokesperson, Kim Eui-kyeom. Via Eui-kyeom, Moon also told the world that he sincerely hopes Japan will work with him to heal these old wounds. But for his part, Abe has said the Japanese government will not budge on the issue “one millimeter.”
Not everyone prefers the euphemism, South Korean Comfort Women. Although South Korea and Japan are adamantly opposed to this issue, they are strongly united in attempting to get North Korea to back off of its nuclear and missile programs plan. In 2014 the U.N attempted to get this changed to “enforced sex slaves.” At the time of colonization, the Japanese called these women “ianfu.”