The Controversy over Comfort Women
Recently, the Nikkei Asian Review did an article about the 2015 South Korea and Japan agreement that was reached in 2015. This was an agreement that was made because of the comfort women testimonies about their abused during the wartime in Asia. These were women who were held against their will in brothels. These women were treated Like prostitutes, and if they did not do what the soldiers asked them to do, they were beaten, raped or even murdered. This was an issue that came about with Japan’s colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945.
These Korean women were coerced into working at brothels. They were told that they were going to be given respectable jobs, but once they go there, they were held there for the pleasure of soldiers
Their main goal was to prevent soldiers from going out and committing sexual assaults on Japanese women; these are women who were severely abused, beaten and mistreated. Many of the survivors of these brothels later suffered the paralyzing affects of the atrocities that they were forced to endure. This abuse led to some of these women becoming sterile, and others have severe emotional and mental trauma that never got address.
The Dispute over History
Moon Jae-in is the president of South Korea, and he and his government have issues with the agreement that was reached in 2015. This was in agreement that was reached with the ex president of Japan. The aim of the agreement was to ease tension between South Korea and Japan over this controversial issue in history. According to the agreement, Japan would recognize its involvement in the mistreatment and abuse of Korean comfort women. According hundreds of comfort women stories, these South Korean comfort women were held against their will, and for many years Japan had denied their existence. The prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed regret for the experience of the victims who had to suffer, and he was to spearhead the establishment of a foundation to support the victims who survived; this agreement would also give recognition to the thousands of victims who died without recognition or compensation.
Will the Agreement Be Upheld?
After further consideration of the agreement, South Korea seems to be having a change of heart. The foreign ministry from South Korea decided that the members of the government weree going to regroup in order to review the agreement. They will decide if they will do away with the agreement all together, modify it, or maintain it the same. Japan desires that the agreement be fully enforced as it was originally discussed without any modifications.
A Voice for the Voiceless
The issue with Korean comfort women has been a huge debate between Japan and South Korea for several years. Many of the women who were the victims of these atrocities were too embarrassed about their abuse to admit it: several of these women were ostracized by their families, and they did not want to speak out. Things changed in the 1990s, a group of these victims came to the floor and spoke out about the atrocities that they had to live through. Even though Japan and Korea could not come to an agreement about how to handle these issues, it was good to see that both countries are trying to come to some kind of reconciliation. In that way, these women who are survivors can find comfort, and the ones who have passed away can get recognition for the abuse and pain that they had to experience at the hands of these soldiers.