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Title: South Korea- Japan ‘Comfort women deal’

Why did South Korea considered ‘comfort
women’ deal with Japan flawed?

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South Korean
President Moon Jae-in said that a 2015 agreement with Japan over South Korean
“comfort women” was seriously flawed and urged follow-up measures to resolve
the contentious issue. South Korea said that the 2015 deal with Japan over
“comfort women” forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels
failed to meet the victims’ needs, throwing ties into doubt as both countries
seek to rein in North Korea.”The agreement cannot solve the comfort women
issue,” Moon said, calling the deal a “political agreement that
excludes victims and the public” and violates general principles in
international society concerning resolution of historical issues, according to
a Blue House statement.Under the 2015 deal, endorsed by Moon’s predecessor and
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan apologized to former comfort women
and provided 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a fund to help them. The two
governments had agreed the issue would be “irreversibly resolved” if
both fulfilled their obligations. Japan said that any attempt by South Korea to
revise the 2015 deal would make relations “unmanageable,” with
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono saying the settlement had resulted from
“legitimate negotiations.”Despite the divisive issue, Moon pledged to
normalize diplomatic relations with Japan and work toward “future-oriented
cooperation” with the neighboring country. 

women were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories before and
during World War II. The
name “comfort women” is a translation of the Japanese ianfu a euphemism for “prostitute. Estimates vary as to how many women
were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 to as high as 360,000
to 410,000 the exact numbers are still being researched and debated. Most of the women were from occupied
countries, including Korea, China, and the Philippines. Women were used for
military “comfort stations” from Burma,
Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan , Indonesia, East Timor and other Japanese-occupied

According to testimonies, young women
were abducted from their homes in countries under Imperial Japanese rule. In
many cases, women were also lured with promises of work in factories or
restaurants; once recruited, they were incarcerated in comfort stations both
inside their nations and abroad.

In 1951, at the start of negotiations, the South Korean
government initially demanded $364 million in compensation for Koreans forced
into labor and military service during the Japanese occupation: $200 per
survivor, $1,650 per death and $2,000 per injured person. In the final agreement reached in the
1965 treaty, Japan provided an $800 million aid and low-interest loan package
over 10 years. Japan intended to directly compensate individuals, but the
Korean government insisted on receiving the sum itself and “spent most of
the money on economic development, focusing on infrastructure and the promotion
of heavy industry”.

In 1994, the Japanese government set
up the public-private Asian
Women’s Fund (AWF) to distribute
additional compensation to South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, the
Netherlands, and Indonesia. Sixty
one Korean, 13 Taiwanese, 211 Filipino, and 79 Dutch former comfort women were
provided with a signed apology from the then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, stating “As
Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my 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.” Many former Korean comfort women
rejected the compensations on principle – although the Asian Women’s Fund was
set up by the Japanese government, its moneys came not from the government but
from private donations, hence the compensation was not “official”.

In 1992, documents
which had been stored since 1958 when they were returned by United States
troops and which indicated that the military had played a large role in
operating what were euphemistically called “comfort stations” were
found in the library of Japan’s Self-Defense Agency. The Japanese Government
admitted that the Japanese Army had forced tens of thousands of Korean women to
have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II. On January 14, 1992, Japanese Chief
Government Spokesman Koichi Kato issued an official apology saying, “We
cannot deny that the former Japanese army played a role” in abducting and
detaining the “comfort girls,” and “We would like to express our
apologies and contrition”.  On
April 28, 1998, the Japanese court ruled that the Government must compensate
the women and awarded them US$2,300(equivalent
to $3,453 in 2017) each.
In 2007, the surviving sex slaves wanted an apology from the Japanese
government. Shinz? Abe, the prime minister at the time, stated on March 1,
2007, that there was no evidence that the Japanese government had kept sex
slaves, even though the Japanese government had already admitted the use of
coercion in 1993. On March 27 the Japanese parliament issued an official
apology. On February 20, 2014,
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide
Suga said that the Japanese
government may reconsider the study and the apology. However, Prime Minister
Abe clarified on March 14, 2014 that he had no intention of renouncing or
altering it.

On December 28, 2015, Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park
Geun-hye reached a formal
agreement to settle the dispute. Japan agreed to pay ¥1 billion (?9.7 billion; $8.3 million) to a fund supporting
surviving victims while South Korea agreed to refrain from criticizing Japan
regarding the issue and to work to remove a statue memorializing the victims
from in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.


The reason why there exist “comfort
woman” during the second world war is because of the concept of Marxism.
Marxism is a social theory which states that the powerful classes oppress and
exploit the less powerful. It means that there exist a strong one and a weaker
one and during the World War II the more powerful class is the Japanese and the
weaker class is the Koreans specifically the women who became sex slaves of war
for the Japanese.

South Korea and Japan share a bitter
history that even time cannot heal. And it is very hard on the part of South
Korea that once their women were used and abused by Japanese soldiers. But time
flies really fast and now both japan and South Korea is now on alliance with
one another. Japan’s willingness to compensate what they have done in the past
is surely came from the concept liberalism. Liberalism by human nature is being
optimistic. It means that humans are capable and willing to achieve an
enlightened cooperation. Japan felt sorry for what happened before and took all
the responsibility to their victims during the World War II.  Even though there has been this kind of
misunderstanding and conflicts between the two states, japan still look forward
and look toward future- oriented cooperation with neighbouring countries.

Both Japan and South Korea pledged to
stop criticizing each other on the comfort women issue and both sides
pronounced the deal a “final and irreversible resolution” to the issue. Japan
apologized for the sexual enslavement of Korean women in military brothels
before and during the world war II. This action is in lined with constructivism
theory which says that the future rest on the ways in which we communicate and
think about the world and our place in it. Both South Korea and Japan wanted to
solve their past issues that has been engraved in history so they chose to
settle things and talk it out, communicate and agreed to an agreement that both
sides will benefit.

the interstate level of analysis to solve the problem between state to state regarding
agreement and diplomacy because of the past war that influenced the situation,
why did south Korea considered the comfort women agreement flawed? Even though
attempts and efforts of Japan was been made to compensate  their mistake in the past, South Korea is still
somehow dissatisfied to what has been done to them and  there are still some issues regarding the
comfort women case. South Korean President Moon considered the deal “defective”.
Furthermore, South Korean President Moon proposed to review again the agreement
and negotiations behind it. Moon also urged Japan to “accept the truth and
apologize with a sincere heart.” What will be the significance of reviewing the
deal? By upholding the deal, the Moon government signaled the main purpose of
the review: to seek procedural justice for the surviving victims. Studies in
social psychology agree the perceived fairness of the process is often more
important than outcomes. Recognizing this, Moon recently invited survivors to
the Blue House and formally apologized for
his predecessor’s approach to the negotiations with Japan. More broadly, the review is part of an ongoing struggle
in South Korea’s society to restore transparency and democratic procedures
after Park Geun-hye’s presidency. Moon’s administration has reviewed many of
her decisions. Park and key aides also remain on trial for
corruption, abuses of power and other charges.

Although the comfort women agreement was concluded a year before the
peak of weekly
protests calling for Park’s impeachment, her
decision to exclude victims from negotiations in 2015 was emblematic of her
perceived disregard for democratic openness generally. This helps explain why
the Moon administration has reached out repeatedly to the survivors and focused
on the government’s responsibility in
the review process.


In conclusion, it is because not all
South Koreans are satisfied with the agreement regarding the comfort women that
is why South Korean government asks for a review about the case. South Korea
aims to gain the dignity that was lost to them during the World war II. And lastly
it is to correct the mistakes of the past administration of South Korea. Moon,
says that the government has the responsibility regarding the issue. If the wrong
decisions of the past leader of south Korea will be corrected, there is a
bigger chance for South Korea to develop, widen, and deepen its connection and
alliance with  other neighbouring countries
such as Japan.


Japan expresses concern over South Korea’s
‘comfort women’ monument plan. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2018, from

South Korea’s Moon says 2015 ‘comfort women’
agreement with Japan ‘flawed’. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2018, from

Comfort women. (2018, January 16). Retrieved
January 16, 2018, from

Snyder, S. (2016, February 01). The
Japan-Korea Comfort Women Deal: This Is Only The Beginning. Retrieved January
16, 2018, from

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