Japan-South Korea relations have been strained for years, in part due to the issue of ‘comfort women,’ but the two governments have finally reached an agreement.
During World War II, Japan’s military used about 200,000 sex slaves, many of them Korean, to “revitalize” the soldiers. Japan has since denied it, going as far as to erase it from their history textbooks. But now an apology has been made and a fund established to help the remaining survivors. 46 are still alive today.
“When it was over, I couldn’t even get up. It went on for such a long time. By the time the sun went down, I couldn’t use my lower body at all.”
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- Some feel the apology was not sincere and didn’t go far enough. The Japanese apologized for what the women had experienced, but didn’t own up to the fact that their government had been the one to actively initiate the systemic exploitation.
- Part of the agreement includes South Korea removing a statue representing comfort women from in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
- This brings up an interesting, worthwhile question: what does a sincere apology look like, especially when it’s given by a representative who was not personally involved in a historical event? Some cite Willy Brandt’s apology to Holocaust survivors as a genuine example.
- One thing is for certain – a sincere apology can play a role in mending wounds, but it cannot be a person’s sole source of healing.