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Hypocrisy, pure and simple

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By Richard Pennington
Every Wednesday since 1992, a group of resolute people has gathered outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul at noon to remember and honor the estimated 200,000 women ― mostly Korean ― who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II.

It's a sordid story that has been mishandled by the Japanese government from the first. They stonewalled, denied, rationalized and only confessed when courageous victims began to speak, and documentary evidence proved what had happened.

Pusillanimous apologies have been made in Japan's Diet and at the United Nations to the dwindling number of survivors, and in December 2015 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Korean President Park Geun-hye signed an agreement wherein Japan would create an $8.3 million fund for the benefit of surviving victims.

While I abhor Japan's cold-hearted refusal to fully own its crimes, I feel compelled to look at a related matter. In the destitute years after the Korean War, a network of prostitution developed in camp towns, known as gijichon.

Especially up near the Demilitarized Zone, you could find poor Korean women working in bars, brothels and massage parlors. Their clientele, if that term may be used, were mostly American soldiers.

The national governments of Syngman Rhee and........

© The Korea Times