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Wianbu Issue and Risk of Pushing it Too Far

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On 14 August, commemorations for the International Memorial Day for the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery Victims during World War II were held in South Korea yet again. The Research Association on and the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan held the 1,400th rally (staged since January 1992) in front of Japan’s embassy in Seoul that 3,000 people took part in to demand the Japanese government sincerely apologize for and acknowledge its crimes, and pay compensation for the suffering inflicted.

Similar rallies took place not only in Seoul but also in Busan, Suwon and other locations, i.e. 13 cities in the ROK and 21 cities in foreign nations including Australia and New Zealand.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in also commemorated the occasion and posted on social networking sites that the government would do everything in its power to restore honor and provide a sense of dignity to the victims of sexual slavery. He added that he would continue his work on raising awareness of this problem on the international arena by drawing parallels to women’s rights issues world-wide. Moon Jae-in noted that the restoration of peace on the Korean Peninsula would give hope to victims of sexual slavery, and expressed his gratitude to women who had found the courage to talk about the crimes committed by the Japanese army.

This is South Korea’s official line on the issue as we have reported on more than one occasion. However, in reality, the situation is far more complex, as described, for example, in a book by Park Yu-ha who was practically “lynched” for her objective view on the issue. Stories of comfort women vary. In addition, we must not forget that in an anti-Japanese climate (a stance at the........

© New Eastern Outlook