South Korea Has Its Own Comfort Women Problem with Vietnam

Maybe Mike Honda can put a Vietnamese comfort women statue next to the Korean one that was put up in San Francisco:

But for a significant number of children fathered as a result of rape by South Korean soldiers, it was the start of a living hell.

Mr Nhat recalled: “Before April 1975, I had been treated well by the South Korean troops who lived on the base near my home in Phu Yen Province, central Vietnam. I was still too young to have any real sense of my identity and hadn’t yet questioned my mother about why I looked different to other Vietnamese children.

“But when the Communists declared victory, everything changed for me. Suddenly, I knew I was dangerously different.”

A period of painful bullying ensued in school. Mr Nhat said: “I was bullied repeatedly. The other children kept asking who my father was and called him a ‘dog’. I just kept suffering in silence.

“I was 18 when my mother finally sat me down and told me she had been raped by Korean soldiers – not once but three times. My two sisters are also mixed blood or Lai Dai Han as we are known in Vietnam.”  (…..)

South Korean troops were not alone in their exploitation of civilian women but their country has never acknowledged the allegations or taken steps to investigate.  (…..)

Mrs Ngai felt confused in the fog of war but now she is very clear about what she wants now. “I think the South Korean government should apologise for everything they did to women in Vietnam. [The Independent]

You can read more at the link.

San Francisco Dedicates Comfort Women Statue in St. Mary’s Square

Here is the latest comfort woman statue to be erected:

A statue for victims of Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement will be dedicated in San Francisco this week, South Korean officials here said Sunday.

The House of Sharing, a shelter for the former sex slaves, in Gwangju, east of Seoul, said that a monument will be unveiled at St. Mary’s Square in San Francisco on Thursday.

The ceremony will be attended by former comfort woman Lee Yong-soo, and former Congressman Mike Honda, who led the U.S. House of Representatives to pass House Resolution 121 that urges the Japanese government to apologize and compensate victims, it added.

The statue was established with funds raised by the nonprofit Comfort Women Justice Coalition led by Chinese-Americans and ethnic Korean civic groups in northern California, it said.

The sculpture depicts three girls holding hands on top of a cylindrical pedestal with a grandmother figure watching them from the ground.

A plaque is placed in front of it explaining that thousands of women from 13 Asian Pacific nations, including Korea and China, were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops between 1931 and 1945.

The monument also includes a message that urges the Japanese government to “acknowledge its responsibility and formally apologize.” It also shows testimony from a former comfort woman who expressed her fear that a painful history might be forgotten in the future.  [Yonhap]

My only problem with these statues being put up in the US is why should a public park be used to push a political agenda?  Especially a political agenda that is not true when its say the Japanese government has not apologized when the Prime Minister himself has apologized multiple times.

In Seoul on Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Abe “expresses anew sincere apologies and remorse from the bottom of his heart to all those who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as ‘comfort women.’” Abe later called Park to apologize, and she called for a new era of trust between the countries. [Seattle Times]

Just because some people in Korea don’t accept the apology doesn’t mean it did not happen.

Picture of the Day: Comfort Women Monument in New Jersey

Monument for victims of Japan's sexual slavery

This photo, taken on July 19, 2017, shows a monument dedicated to victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery erected in front of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bergen County in the U.S. state of New Jersey. A group of South Korean residents in Bergen installed the monument the same day in remembrance of “comfort women,” referring to those who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s military during World War II. (Yonhap)

Will President Moon Cancel Comfort Women Agreement with Japan?

If President Moon scraps the comfort women agreement with Japan it will be very interesting to see what the Japanese reaction will be.  It seems to me the Japanese government would be furious if it was to happen considering the political capital Shinzo Abe used to get the deal completed:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday hinted at possibly scrapping an agreement with Tokyo over Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II, insisting that most South Koreans could not accept the deal reached by the former Seoul government.

“President Moon noted the reality was that most of his people could not accept the agreement over the sexual slavery issue,” Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said of the president’s telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The conversation came as Abe sought to congratulate the new South Korean leader on his election this week. Moon came into office Wednesday, only one day after winning the presidential by-election caused by the March 10 ouster of his predecessor Park Geun-hye over a massive corruption scandal.

The thorny issue of sexual slavery apparently took center stage of the conversation after the Japanese premier urged the new liberal Seoul government to honor the agreement signed by its conservative predecessor.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Japanese Ambassador Returns to Korea After 85 Day Absence

Look who is back in town:

Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine tells reporters that he plans to strongly request for the implementation of the Korea-Japan agreement to resolve the so-called comfort women issue after he arrives at the Gimpo International Airport Tuesday evening nearly three months after being recalled to Tokyo. [YONHAP]

Tokyo’s top envoy to South Korea returned to Seoul Tuesday, nearly three months after he was called in home due to diplomatic friction over a girl statue symbolizing the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women.

The Japanese government recalled Amb. Yasumasa Nagamine in January in protest over the statue that civic groups erected in front of its consulate in the southern port city of Busan.

The Japanese ambassador arrived at Gimpo International Airport shortly before 10 p.m. Japanese Consul General in Busan Yasuhiro Morimoto, who was also recalled over the dispute, came back hours earlier.

Tokyo claimed that the statue built before its consulate, along with another one standing in front of its embassy in Seoul, runs counter to a landmark deal reached between the two countries in late 2015 to resolve the long-running rift over Japan’s atrocity of forcing Korean women into front-line brothels during World War II.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

US Supreme Court Denies Japanese Attempt to Remove Comfort Woman Statue In California

This does seem pretty stupid for the Japanese government to oppose this statue since it is sitting in a public park and not right in front of a Japanese embassy or consulate like we have seen in Korea.  How would the Japanese public feel if the US launched a lawsuit to take down statues remembering atomic bombing victims?:

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce places a bouquet on a bench next to the bronze comfort woman statue in Glendale, California, in January 2014. / Korea Times file

The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed Japanese government efforts to remove from California a “comfort women” statue that symbolizes victims of Japan’s sexual slavery during World War II.

The court on Monday decided not to review the case brought by U.S. plaintiffs who were supported by the Japanese government. It ended Japan’s three-year bid to remove the statue. U.S. politicians involved in the case and civil rights groups applauded the decision.

Glendale’s comfort woman statue is the first erected outside Korea.

U.S. Republican Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Japan Times: “By remembering the past, including the women who suffered immensely, we help ensure these atrocities are never committed again.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Anti-Japan Protest In South Korea

Rally against Seoul-Tokyo deal over comfort women

A protester expresses her objection to a 2015 Seoul-Tokyo landmark deal to settle the issue of elderly Korean women who were sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II, as she takes part in a rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on March 22, 2017, to support the former “comfort women.” (Yonhap)

Picture of the Day: Protesting Comfort Woman Statue Removal

Protesting Foreign Ministry's stance on girl statue

Members from the civic Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan call for the foreign ministry to withdraw its recent request to move a girl statue symbolizing the victims of Japan’s sexual slavery during the World War II to another place during a news conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 24, 2017. On Feb. 14, the ministry sent a letter to the Busan city government, asking for cooperation in moving the statue, which civic groups set up in front of the Japanese consulate in the city. Japan demanded an immediate removal and recalled its ambassador to South Korea in protest about a month ago. (Yonhap)