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)

Academic Who Questioned Comfort Women Narrative Found Not Guilty of Defamation

I have not read this book in question, but I have read The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan, by Sarah Soh and based on facts undoubtedly there were women that voluntarily became prostitutes for the Japanese military.  Arguably most were forced into prostitution by Korean brokers who acquired girls sold off by their families or misled women into thinking they were doing other work. This same system was in place even after the Japanese military left and the US military entered South Korea:

Professor Park Yu-ha (C) at Seoul-based Sejong University leaves the Seoul Eastern District Court on Jan. 25, 2017, after the court acquitted her of defaming women who were sexually enslaved by Tokyo during World War II. (Yonhap)

A local court on Wednesday acquitted a South Korean scholar of defaming women who were sexually enslaved by Japan during World War II through her controversial book.

The Seoul Eastern District Court found Park Yu-ha, a professor at Seoul’s Sejong University, not guilty of the charges, saying academic freedom is a basic right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Park was indicted in November 2015 over her book, “Comfort Women of the Empire,” which has been accused by victims and some civic groups of disputing the coerciveness of the “comfort women” system.

Prosecutors said Park defamed victims by describing some of them as “voluntary prostitutes” or “comrades” of Japanese soldiers.

“The opinion rolled out in the defendant’s book can raise criticism, objection and could also be abused by those who deny the coerciveness of the comfort women system. But it is, in any case, a matter of value judgment that goes over the authority or ability that can be executed by the court under the procedures of criminal cases,” the court said.  [Yonhap]

You can read much more at the link.