For decades, it seems as if South Korean and Japanese officials have been at odds over the strange history of South Korean comfort women. It was during the end of 2015 that foreign ministers were finally able to put aside some differences and hash out some of the issues entrenched in this World War II saga. The Japanese foreign minister agreed that some members of the Japanese military had acted dishonourably during the war, forcing women to do their bidding. The hot button issue has been exacerbated by disputes over statues of comfort women, but Japan’s promise to donate the equivalent of nine million dollars to an organization that supports these women has helped to ease some of the tensions.
It should be noted that there has been a lot of discord over the status of the South Korean comfort women. Were these women victims and sex slaves, or were they willing participants in a career that proved quite lucrative for them? Over the decades following the war, it seems as though each side has become more convinced of their particular perspective as it pertains to the events that took place.
Although Japanese leader Shinzo Abe has not admitted that any sex crimes occurred during the saga of the Korean comfort women, it is said that he is very interested in putting this story to rest. With an ambitious plan for revitalizing Japan, Abe seems to realize that confronting the issue and taking action will provide South Korea with a sense of closure. In the past few years, comfort women stories seem to have attracted even more attention than usual. As a savvy politician, Abe knows that it is important to fall on the right side of history when it comes to such diplomatic disputes. With the eyes of the world firmly focused upon these two countries, it has never been more important to put differences aside and come up with a peaceful resolution that will appease both sides.
With many South Koreans very sensitive to comfort women testimonies, this is an issue that must be approached with a very delicate, nuanced strategy. Historians and others have weighed in a great deal with their reads of the situation, with one Japanese expert relying upon the reports of American soldiers who once detained some of the women in question. When the women were interrogated, it was reported that these particular South Korean comfort women felt as though they were free to leave or to stop participating in their careers whenever they chose. According to certain news reports, it also seemed as if the Korean comfort women were well-compensated and took part it normal dating activities such as shopping and attending sporting events.
Although there is no way to go back in time and ascertain exactly what happened with these women, it seems as if it will be in the best interest of both sides to sign off on an agreement and move on. Now that the issue has been popping up in news cycles, there has never been a better time to promote peace and provide reparations for those who feel as if they have been wronged.