Submitted by Malcolm Guy
Japanese, S. Korean Authorities Accused of Evading Responsibility for Sexual Slavery for Imperial Japanese Army
Pyongyang, December 31 (KCNA) — The People for Achieving Peace and Reunification in south Korea conducted a protest action in Seoul on Dec. 28 to denounce the political collusion between the Japanese and south Korean authorities who evaded the responsibility for the sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army.
The organization held a press conference outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It branded the “agreement” reached between Japan and south Korea as a shameful act aimed at evading Japan’s state and legal responsibility, the essence of settling the issue of sexual slavery, and cover up its past crimes with some pennies.
It said that the collusion between the two sides on Japan’s past crimes will only intensify military nexus and incite Japan’s reinvasion of the Korean Peninsula.
At the end of the press conference the organization staged a peace action.
South Korea’s Humiliating Diplomacy towards Japan Blamed
Pyongyang, December 31 (KCNA) — Twenty woman organizations and more than ninety organizations of south Korea and its branch of the Amnesty International (AI) issued a joint statement on Dec. 28 in denunciation of the south Korean authorities’ humiliating diplomacy towards Japan.
The statement referred to the fact that the authorities confirmed the final settlement of the issue of the sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army and the settlement of the issue of the peace monument (girl statue) before the Japanese embassy and called on the world community to restrain the criticism of Japan.
The statement stressed that the above-said organizations would further pool their efforts with the victims of the sexual slavery and the civic and public at home and abroad for the correct settlement of the issue in order to make sure that the Japanese government certainly fulfill the state and legal responsibilities.
South Korean Authorities’ Submission to Japan Flailed
Ri Tong Je, chairman of the Association of Koreans in Japan for Peaceful Reunification, issued a statement on Dec. 28 to denounce the south Korean conservative authorities for submitting to Japan over the issue of sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army.
The statement recalled that a humiliating agreement on the issue of sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army was made at the foreign ministers’ meeting of south Korea and Japan held in Seoul that day.
The south Korean authorities claimed the above-said issue has been settled finally by accepting the words “apology” and “reflection” which did not clarify the state and legal responsibility of the chief executive of Japan who embellished the inhuman crimes, the statement charged.
It denounced the agreement reached at the foreign ministers’ meeting due to the south Korean authorities’ submission to Japan as a treacherous act of conniving at the criminal moves of the Japanese reactionaries to hide its past crimes and paving the way for its reinvasion.
25 years of progress on comfort women issue “wiped out” by new agreement
Support group’s co-representative says Monday’s settlement doesn’t reflect the will of the comfort women, vows to seek its invalidation
“Overnight, the South Korean government erased the progress that the former comfort women and civic groups had made over the past 25 years toward settling the issue of the comfort women,” said Yoon Mee-hyang, co-representative of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Jeongdaehyeop).
“We are going to tell people around the world that the settlement does not reflect the will of the former comfort women, and we will also review legal options for invalidating the settlement,” Yoon told the Hankyoreh on Dec. 29, when asked about the results of the recent meeting between the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan.
Since Jeongdaehyeop was launched in 1990, Yoon has led the civic movement that works with the former comfort women to demand that the Japanese government make an official apology, acknowledge its legal responsibility, and pay the reparations that this would entail. After a press conference by civic groups that was held Tuesday in front of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sejong Street in Seoul, Yoon told reporters that she felt betrayed by the South Korean government.
“Because of the provision in the 1965 treaty between South Korea and Japan that said that the issue of reparations had been completely resolved, the Koreans who were conscripted for labor during Japan’s occupation of Korea have not even had the right to sue the Japanese government. Considering that South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the government not to try to resolve the dispute about the former comfort women’s right to make claims, it ought to have done a proper job. Instead, the two countries reached an irreversible and final settlement in which they make contradictory claims about acknowledging responsibility for the comfort women issue,” Yoon said.
Yoon took particular exception to the fact that Jeongdaehyeop and the former comfort women had not been told anything during the negotiations about what was being discussed.
“We felt positively about the fact that the South Korean government had carried out 10 rounds of bureau chief-level talks with the Japanese, and we trusted that the government understood the perspective of the former comfort women. I was a fool to trust the government,” Yoon said.
“Since the comfort women who first told their stories have all passed away, they can’t even demand to know why the government handled the negotiations like this,” Yoon said sorrowfully, recalling the testimony of Kim Hak-sun in 1991, which opened the doors for public discussion of the comfort women issue.
The civic movement to find a solution to the issue of the comfort women – which is now 25 years old – has received high praise from around the world. In 2010, Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women for the UN Human Rights Council, described it as “the most organized and adequately verified of any movement calling for compensation for crimes against women in wartime.”
“The South Korean government wiped out the progress of a movement whose successes had been recognized around the world,” Yoon said.
“Our partner organizations outside the country are sending us congratulatory messages, mistakenly thinking that the former comfort women agreed to the settlement. We will inform them that this settlement was made without the consent of the former comfort women and without any acknowledgement of legal responsibility, and we will undertake a legal review of whether the settlement can be nullified,” she added.
Despite the government’s settlement, Yoon said that she is planning to carry on the struggle. The weekly Wednesday demonstration for resolving the issue of the comfort women will be held at noon on Dec. 30 in front of the Japanese embassy as usual, she said.
As the group has done every year, the final Wednesday demonstration of the year will consist of a memorial service for the former comfort women who have passed away this year. Nine of the women died in 2015, which brings the number of surviving women down to 46, from a total of 238.
By Park Tae-woo, staff reporter
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