Japan and South Korea Look to Stick to Comfort Women Deal
Japan recently met with South Korea in order to push for support of the 2015 agreement on wartime comfort women. During a recent meeting, the foreign ministers of both South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo to discuss this important matter. The two parties will look to provide each other with the terms of the deal and further solidify their commitment to fulfilling each others role in the agreement.
South Korean President Moon Jae in has expressed issues on the agreement. The president of South Korea has clearly stated that the South Korean comfort women issue is important to get resolved in the immediate future. It is among the top priorities of the administration as well as the nuclear weapons program of neighboring North Korea.
Back in December, Kang Kyung wha of South Korea and Taro Kono of Japan met to discuss the details of the Korean comfort women agreement. This followed up Moon’s visit to China the previous week. During the visit to China, Moon looked for more cooperation with the nation in terms of supporting wartime aggression by Japan. Moon also expressed a preference to continue peace talks with North Korea. After this recent meeting with China, Moon made Japan a little suspicious about South Korea’s true intentions on the issues.
The two day visit to Japan by Kang has indicated that South Korea will not shift all of its political priorities to China. It will therefore seek to maintain positive diplomatic relations with Japan as well. Therefore, it will likely continue to settle the differences on the South Korean women issue agreement with Japan.
During the recent meetings, both South Korea and Japan will maintain a unified stance on dealing with North Korea and its nuclear threat. While this unity has been very promising, there is still tension between the two nations due to the comfort women stories during the first half of the twentieth century. The comfort women testimonies expressed unfavorable treatment of South Korean women during Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula at the time.
In 2015, Japan and South Korea made an agreement in order to resolve a long-standing dispute. For many years, both South Korea and Japan had strained relations due to past history and territorial disputes. Under the terms of the agreement, Japan admitted that it ran a number of brothels in its occupied territories during the first half of the twentieth century. The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe expressed his regret about the situation and apologized to the victims. After the apology was made, Japan looked to provide a foundation in support of the South Korean women. In exchange for the foundation, South Korea stated that the issue was completely resolved.
While the agreement was supposed to enable both neighboring countries to focus on their respective futures, it instead facilitated considerable opposition in South Korea. The foreign ministry of South Korea task force has recently reviewed the deal. South Korean officials will evaluate it in more detail and decide whether to keep it, modify it or terminate agreement. Kang of South Korea has been expected to inform Kono about the review process. Japan’s Kono said that the agreement should be faithfully followed.
The visits by both Moon and Abe has been on the agenda in order to address the trilateral summit with China. During these visits, the two parties have also looked to further provide updates on their standing on the agreement. The next meeting between China, Japan and South Korea will be held in Japan to discuss the ramifications of this agreement. However, if the meeting cannot be arranged, then a future visit will be arranged in order to come to a complete resolution on both nation’s compliance on the agreement.