Responsibility

Former sex slave “comfort women” reject apology from Japanese government

South Korean former "comfort woman" Lee Ok-sun attended the press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung)

Two women who were forced into sexual slavery as “comfort women” during World War II have rejected and criticized the recent acceptance by South Korea of a formal apology by Japan for enslaving Korean women. Last month Japan agreed to pay 1 billion yen to South Korea, intended to go to a survivors’ fund, and to offer a formal apology to “to all of the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incalculable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.” Though it fell short of taking responsibility, the apology was hailed as a breakthrough after years of debate between the two governments over the issue.

But Lee Ok-sun, 88, and Kang Il-chul, 87, told reporters in Tokyo this week that the agreement “made us look like fools” and that neither government consulted them on the apology. Only 46 of the 238 South Korean women who have been officially recognized as victims are still alive, though there are believed to be as many as 200,000 women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military.

“It is as if the Japanese government is waiting for us to stop speaking out and die,” Lee said on Tuesday.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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