Neutral ground for comfort women stories
The term “comfort women” is not one of those phrases any woman in the continent of Asia would want to be associated with. This phrase came up during the Second World War and the testimonies that followed thereafter caused a lot of discomfort to the citizenry of the Asian Countries.
It is alleged that the comfort women had a role to play in the military during the Second World War to keep the soldiers within the discipline code of their operations. That would be a very vital aspect of the war that would keep a sound relationship with citizens of the countries within Asia. That was the genesis of the comfort women and the brothels.
There are many victims of the war that have suffered rejection by their families like Lee Ok Seon who after the disappearance of the owner of the brothel, got married to a Chinese man. After the death of her husband, she went back to Korea; she could only find her younger brother whom they never got along due to the stigma surrounding the comfort women stories.
There was a need for intervention in the whole idea about the comfort women testimonies by both the Korean and the Japanese government. The relationship between the two countries would grow distasteful as time went by. Let’s go back to Lee Ok Seon.
When things got worse for women who served as comfort women and the influence of the activists, they began to demonstrate at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The government of Japan had to take immediate action in 1993. They put to action a commission that would later invite the victims into recognition of their existence.
The shortfalls of the commission
According to further comfort women testimonies, the commission was to do more than acknowledging their existence. They recommended that the commission should purpose to bring their lives together. The commission had not presented elements of financial compensation and resettlement. There was no goodwill of creating a social soft landing to the comfort women stories that would alleviate stigma.
In as much as the politicians in the Japanese government had divergent views on the approach of the whole matter, the official recognition in 1993 neutralized a lot. Some government officials like the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, made a straightforward speech to uphold the efforts his predecessors had set to resolve the comfort women testimonies.
The 2015 accord
In the spirit of reaching a consensus, the governments of South Korea and Japan went down to make a deal of ending the conflict surrounding the comfort women stories. It was a prudent act that would foster harmony in their bilateral relationship.
The 2015 accord was in respect to strengthen the functions of the commission that was set up in 1993 to recognize the comfort women stories in Japan. That is the first crucial step of having the mutual understanding of the matter.
The Japanese government acknowledged the compensation of the claims raised in the comfort women stories. The then President of South Korea, now impeached, Park Geun –Hye, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, reached to terms to make the final, irreversible resolution.
The deal included establishing a foundation in South Korea that would support the comfort women testimonies. The South Korean government would set the project and manage by the same government of President Park. In the agreement, Japan would contribute approximately $ 8.3 million to fund the project.
The essence of the project would see the comfort women testimonies in the “House of Sharing” get more services and advanced care. The foundation would also be helpful to create a softer reception of the comfort women testimonies by the general public of Korea.
The house of sharing was a secluded place for the comfort women testimonies to stay after the Second World War. In the real sense, most of them were under high voltage of stigma and could not afford to find a place in their communities. Some could not get track of their families like Lee Ok Seon who came back and found all parents dead.
However, there have been a few hitches here and there. For instance, the Korean activists do not find the deal as a long-term benefit to everything involving the comfort women stories. They see it as a move for geographical and bilateral convenience, but a long-term solution to the comfort women.
In that respect, in their view, there should be a more solid solution to the whole approach. Analysts find all the arguments to be a step towards the very final resolve to the comfort women testimonies.
On the other hand, in the quest for a valid agreement to the terms, Japan needs a clear demonstration of the need to end the comfort women stories issue amicably. The hitches on their part are the statue of commemoration in more than 37 sites for the comfort women testimonies by the South Koreans.
Recently, Yasumasa Namagine, Japan’s ambassador to South Korea, was recalled. The Japanese government was upset by the move of the Koreans to raise another statue at Busan to commemorate the comfort women stories. Even though it wasn’t in the deal, the interpretation the government of Japan and its people have is skeptical towards the commitment of South Korea to uphold the 2015 agreement.
On a broader view, that is a normal process of aligning pro-active solutions that would strengthen the deal. When loopholes are left untouched, they tend to trigger reactions from different quarters.
In as much as there are differences, which is the in-depth analysis could be the similarities because of the need to find a lasting resolution, the citizens of the two countries play an essential role in the agreement. The government of Japan feels that it has already bitten the bullet by acknowledging the presence of the comfort women stories.
In essence, it is as good as taking the guilt of atrocities against the comfort women testimonies by the government of Japan. The willingness to commit to the establishment of the foundation and upholding the 2015 agreement is a revelation of good will. Meanwhile, the government of South Korea feels the presence of the statues is as good as acknowledging the 2015 agreement, and it is vital to the people of Korea.
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