While researching something about South Korea an interesting agreement came to light. It was on the subject of what was known during World War Two as the “Comfort Women.” Here are their stories and some facts of how Japan has made attempts to foster peace on the subject.
Comfort Women were those women recruited during that war to serve as an emotional and physical comfort to the soldiers. Companions of sorts it seemed. They were recruited at a price to accompany the soldiers during a time of relaxation. It seemed that Japan was accused of recruiting sex slaves to serve the military personnel.
As these are very serious accusations, the matter was addressed by Japan. Meetings were held to reach an agreement for compensation to the women and a sincere apology was made to the survivors as well. In spite of this, there are still demonstrations happening outside the consulate in Japan against the Japanese government.
A bronze statue was strategically placed in front of the consulate to commemorate the young girls who had allegedly been forced into becoming sex slaves. It shows a woman in a modest dress in a humble position of submission. It faces the building directly. The sight is one that is hard to miss.
A second one was placed next to the original one, named the Statue of Peace. It symbolizes a very anti-Japanese emotion. To the Japanese, this is an insult which must be addressed. The mode of addressing the issue so far has been discussed and some accommodations have been made to make amends with the former victims of those times past.
One agreement was made to have a day of commemoration held each year to remember the former victims on August 14th. This is significant because it already marks the day of Japan’s surrender in 1945. It would be a day to make amends forever for those that remain alive still and their families.
The agreement between South Korea and Japan was created to make amends and prevent this issue of conflict. Financial compensation has been provided as well to the 37 survivors who are still remaining today. The attempt at fixing the issues bodes well for Japan. Japan is aware that the people who protested this along the way have very firm beliefs about dignity and the need for restoration of personal power to these woman who are survivors today. Both their themselves and their families need this healing to happen for there to be true peace amongst the Asian nations. While some protesters of the situation overall speak out still about the need to make a day of remembrance for the survivors, it is obvious that progress is being made towards peace.
One person who wrote a book on the subject spoke in defense of Japan on this issue. Park Yu-ha of Sejong University wrote “Comfort Women of the Empire” about how these women were willing adult participants who simply decided to work in the sex trade. They were paid money for their services by the Japanese government. These payments were enough, according to her book. There are some videos of the women at that time that apparently contradict this information.
What the truth is on the issue is only truly known by those who served at that time as the “comfort women.” While the talks continue Japan nonetheless has made accommodations to create peace with the survivors of this time past when women were paid to comfort the soldiers back during the war times.