Monday, December 5, 2011

Comfort Women -- compensation, then, now, and in the future?

The issue of “comfort women,” continues to surface. A brief description of “comfort women:” These were women who worked in concubines (houses of ill-repute, ladies of the evening) to service the sexual desires of the Japanese military during and before World War Two. Historically militaries across the globe have provided for the sexual needs of their troops, either forced, or condoned prostitution, or tolerated what was known as “camp followers.”

South Korea and North Korea (the Koreas) claim the women were sex slaves and forced by the Japanese military to serve in these concubines. Japan claims the women were recruited to work in these concubines and paid for their services.

NOTE: this video does not address this issue as to whether they were sex slaves or recruited sex workers. This video addresses the issue of compensation to these women.

In 2005 it was revealed in 1965 a settlement was agreed to (1965 Korea-Japan Claims Settlement Agreement), and signed by South Korea and Japan. In addition as part of this settlement $800 million and soft loans (loans below market interest rates) given to the South Korean government by the nation of Japan. Part of the agreement was this to be a final agreement on closing any claims in the future by individuals in South Korea and / or the South Korean government against Japan for any activity between 1910 and 1945.

Japan urged the South Korean government to use that money to settle claims by the South Korean people. The government decided instead to keep the money for development and infrastructure projects. Money also went to POSCO (a South Korean steel company), building the Gyeongbu Expressway and Soyang Dam.

Now 46 years after the settlement South Korea wants Japan to address the issue of further compensation. What about the 1965 settlement agreement and $800 million already paid? Good question: it is now being claimed since the issue of sex slaves / comfort women is a crime against humanity, the issue can come up again and compensation requested.

Question: If another payment is made, who is to say forty years down the road the issue of “crimes against humanity” will not be resurrected again requesting more money?


Article II, section 1:

Article refuting the 1965 treaty:

Related news article:

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