Monday, December 28, 2015

Japan and Korea reach agreement about "comfort women"

Writing in The New York Timea, Choe Sang-Hun reports:
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea and Japan announced on Monday that they had reached a “final and irrevocable resolution” of their decades-old historical dispute over Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japan’s Imperial Army in the early 20th century.

The landmark agreement will remove one of the most intractable logjams in relations between South Korea and Japan, its former colonial master, both crucial allies to the United States.

The so-called comfort women have been the most painful legacy of Japan’s colonial rule of Korea, which lasted from 1910 until Japan’s World War II defeat in 1945. Forty-six former comfort women are still alive in South Korea.

“The Japanese government bears a heartfelt responsibility” for recruiting comfort women “with the involvement of its military” and for “severely injuring the honor and dignity of many women,” the foreign minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, said on Monday, reading the agreement during a news conference in Seoul.

Mr. Kishida also said that his boss, the hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had expressed “apologies and remorse from his heart.”

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