Setbacks on the reparation dawn for the comfort women stories
South Korea was a colony of Japan through the Second World War. During that period, the Japanese Imperial Army was formed which was to fight against Britain and its allies. In the early 1940s, the war was at its peak and tension was all over.
The imperial army camped for months and years during the campaigns, e.g., the Malayan campaign, the Arakan campaign, Burma Campaign, etc. To keep the disciplined forces within the confine of the operations order, a brothel was established which was later referred to as a “comfort station.”
It is in these brothels that the comfort women testimonies emanated from before and during the war. Though we came to learn about it much later in 1991, when the first woman in South Korea spoke about the “comfort station.” In the interview in 1991, Kim Hak –soon spoke fifty years after she came out of the brothel.
The 2015 Agreement Between Park Geun And Shinzo Abe
On 28th of December 2015, the President of South Korea Geun Park and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe arrived at a resolution of letting go the many years of cold treatment over the comfort women stories.
In their recommendation, Japan was obliged to settle a total amount of $8.3 million to the government of South Korea to establish a foundation that would see the comfort survivors out of the House of Sharing into a better recovery program. According to the interviews carried by a few journalists, like Paula Allen, shows some of the survivors still show significant signs of trauma.
Lola Makima from the Philippines still leaves in emotional bitterness. They would give the comfort women testimonies crawling, crying, and rolling on the ground while others at the house of sharing tore their clothes. With such outcomes, it is evident that most of them need better mental and psychological care. The financial compensation plan by the government of Japan would help to facilitate the program.
Besides the financial compensation, the government of Japan rendered her apologies on behalf of the imperial military authority over the comfort women stories to South Korea.
The government of Japan also had her demands out on the table. One of them being the shelving of the testimony comfort women in the international forums and the United Nations. That is one of the concerns why they termed the agreement as Final Resolution.
The 2015 agreement was applauded by the international community including the United Nations, Germany, and France. The United Nations Secretary-General who also happens to be a citizen of South Korea received the news with a lot of gratitude.
That move opened doors for bilateral relations between the two nations. In as much as the economy of South Korea has been showing an upward trend, there is a need to improve her trade with immediate neighbors.
The recommendations in the 2015 agreement served a potential leeway of notching higher the regional trade and more importantly, guard itself against the potential threat from the North Korea nuclear plant.
With all the progress of the 2015 agreement which is historical by facts, not everyone is happy with the arrangement. There has been pressure from civil societies and human rights activists. The politicians also have taken an interest in the matter both in Japan and in South Korea.
The Argument against the 2015 Agreement
The South Korean human rights activists and civil society feel the process of settling the matter is not a due one according to the international reparation process.
The survivors in the comfort women stories need to be part of the reparation process. They need to be heard and their views put into consideration before the compensation process begins. In this case, they feel a process that was to be handled by the civil society and the human rights activists was transferred to the hands of the state.
They also felt that the Japanese government is supposed to amend the education curriculum to update the reality of history and especially the role of the military in the Second World War. According to them, Japan has made no effort on the same.
They also expect the Japanese government to have punished the perpetrators which has not been done. Those are among other reasons that have caused an uproar in South Korea. According to Kim Bok-dong, the claim that Japan poses for the monuments to be removed from her Embassy and preventing more monuments from being erected in South Korea and abroad is a thought that is not welcomed at all.
In her argument, she feels that is denying the future generations in South Korea from learning the bitter history of their women. Mike Honda of Congress education echoed the same sentiments. They feel the monuments will prevent future occurrence.
In other arguments, the women comfort stories have more than just financial compensation. Some claim that the emotional losses cannot be compensated by money. They need to have in mind that the survivors had a lot of hope in their future lives with plans to have families and other dreams any child bares that cannot be compensated.
The whole matter is a process with the recommendations above. At least the government of Japan has taken many steps to apologize which pose her under the threat of demands from other countries in Asia that have the comfort women stories still touting for compensation.
Seemingly, Japan will have to structure away with the international community to ensure that such occurrences do not take place whether with the allies or on her mandate. Of course, many countries in Asia still need to ensure that they amend their educational curriculum.
Amending the Curriculum is an excellent way of preventing any future displeasing violence like the comfort women stories whether by consent or by circumstance. In the international laws under the reparation process, it states that the history should bear realities of the past.
So far the 2015 agreement still receives applause as the most historic move between the two allies. The remaining patches of negotiations will depend on the speed the Current President of South Korea Mr. Moon will take to settle the comfort women stories in his country and the willingness by the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Abe, to give a listening ear.
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