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5/31(木)12:30~15:30 Manhattan, Washington Hightsの個人宅(申し込み者に住所を連絡)

Focusing historical issue from the overseas point of view chapter 10

The [Comfort Women] – A Tool of Japan Bashing; There Seems to be no Irreversible Agreement

At the beginning of this year, President Moon Jue-In declared that the agreement which was concluded on the issue of “Comfort Women” irreversibly in December 2015 does not fully solve this controversial issue, although the Japanese government again paid 100 million dollars for the redemption to former “Comfort Women.” In studying through past negotiations on this issue, it is obvious that the Korean government does not seem to have any intention to conclude this matter. When the Japanese government formerly expressed apologies and paid the redemption to “Comfort women,” the Korean government claimed that the way of apology didn’t express enough for its repentance. Then Japan again expressed its apology, but the Korean government insisted that all the victims are not satisfied by the way of Japan’s apology. Furthermore, when Japan paid $10 billion as indemnity, the then Korean President criticized, saying, “Japan tries to settle this matter by money, not by sincere repentance.”

There are rumors that some organizations which are closely connected to the North Korean Government urge former comfort women not to receive any redemption from the Japanese government, because they may lose the best way to draw the money out from Japan. I hardly believe that the Korean government is sneaky to that extent.

In 1993, Cabinet Secretary Taro Kohno expressed his apologies on the basis of re-examination on this issue, and in 1995, on the basis of Mr. Kohno’s apologies, Prime Minister Murayama established “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” (Prime Minister Murayama was the first Prime Minister who was elected from the Socialist Party.) Then, with the letter of apology from Prime Minister Murayama, the indemnity of 2 million yen was paid from the donation of Japanese people and an additional 1.2 million yen – 3 million yen were paid from “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” for their medical expenses. However, in Korea, many organizations which support former “Comfort Women” rejected the payment from “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” and tried to persuade the former “Comfort Women” not to receive any form of redemption from the Japanese Government or from other Japanese organizations. As a result, among 240 women who claimed to be “Comfort Women,” only 60 women accepted the indemnity. “The Asian Women Indemnity Fund” was established for the purpose of paying redemption to Asian women. This foundation paid redemption to women in Indonesia, The Philippines, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan and supplied medical needs and other support they needed. This fund was closed in 2007 by the completion of its ultimate purpose.

When the Pacific War started on December 8, 1941, I was a teenage girl and lived in Tokyo, Japan.  From the beginning of the year  1945, I experienced indiscriminate bombing by B-29 bombers almost every night until Japan declared surrender on August 15.  By the air raid by B29 bombers on March 10, 1945, more than 100 thousand people were killed by the fire bombs. Those who jumped into the Sumida River were killed by boiling water. It was estimated that more than 300 fire bombs were dropped into the  Sumida River. Some people said, “it was caused by the natural consequence of your own government’s act.” Since Japan started the Pacific War by attacking Pearl Harbor, all the Japanese accepted the consequence and endured all kinds of unbearable difficulties for many years during and after the war. Many people still talk about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first and second cities where thousands people were killed by atomic bombs. However, the air raid by fire bombs in Tokyo on March 10, 1945 was as brutal as Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Those who were injured or killed did not receive any monetary assistance from the government. Whenever I mentioned indiscriminate bombing by B-29 bombers, and many large cities in Japan became burnt fields, many said, “the disaster was caused by Japan and it was the consequence of Japan’s brutal acts.  It was indeed true that the disastrous cause of the war was started by Japan. Therefore, Japanese people had never complained – we just worked so hard to reconstruct our country. Then, only 20 years after the war, Japan was able to host the Olympic Games in 1965!

I would like to mention again that the hard life of “comfort women” was not caused by the war, but caused by the Japanese/Korean feudalistic societies where the status of women was not equal as men, and women who were born into  poor families were forced to sacrifice their own lives for their family. After the war, particularly during last 20-30 years, many Koreans have immigrated to the U.S. Those children of new immigrants were educated in the U.S and many of them became college graduates. They are intelligent and active in local politics. However, they do not seem to know the history of the country they came from. Therefore, they invited former “Comfort Women” to speak at public and civic meetings, even at the Human Rights Committee meetings of the Congress to tell their fabricated story.

However, it is almost impossible to persuade the Korean Government not to reiterate this controversial matter, because the issue of the comfort women is the most effective tool to insult Japan and to keep receiving remuneration from Japan.
Yoko Wiles
Publisher of Potomac Newsletter

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