Hope for Forgiveness

Special Report

1. Foreign Minister Kishida

The Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) have intensively discussed the issue of comfort women between Japan and the ROK at bilateral meetings including the Director-General consultations. Based on the result of such discussions, I, on behalf of the Government of Japan, state the following:

(1) The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women, and the Government of Japan is painfully aware of responsibilities from this perspective. As Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Abe expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.

(2) The Government of Japan has been sincerely dealing with this issue. Building on such experience, the Government of Japan will now take measures to heal psychological wounds of all former comfort women through its budget. To be more specific, it has been decided that the Government of the ROK establish a foundation for the purpose of providing support for the former comfort women, that its funds be contributed by the Government of Japan as a one-time contribution through its budget, and that projects for recovering the honor and dignity and healing the psychological wounds of all former comfort women be carried out under the cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Government of the ROK.

(3) While stating the above, the Government of Japan confirms that this issue is resolved finally and irreversibly with this announcement, on the premise that the Government will steadily implement the measures specified in (2) above. In addition, together with the Government of the ROK, the Government of Japan will refrain from accusing or criticizing each other regarding this issue in the international community, including at the United Nations.

2. Foreign Minister Yun

The Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Government of Japan have intensively discussed the issue of comfort women between the ROK and Japan at bilateral meetings including the Director-General consultations. Based on the result of such discussions, I, on behalf of the Government of the ROK, state the following:

(1) The Government of the ROK values the GOJ’s announcement and efforts made by the Government of Japan in the lead-up to the issuance of the announcement and confirms, together with the GOJ, that the issue is resolved finally and irreversibly with this announcement, on the premise that the Government of Japan will steadily implement the measures specified in 1. (2) above. The Government of the ROK will cooperate in the implementation of the Government of Japan’s measures.

(2) The Government of the ROK acknowledges the fact that the Government of Japan is concerned about the statue built in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul from the viewpoint of preventing any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity, and will strive to solve this issue in an appropriate manner through taking measures such as consulting with related organizations about possible ways of addressing this issue.

(3) The Government of the ROK, together with the Government of Japan, will refrain from accusing or criticizing each other regarding this issue in the international community, including at the United Nations, on the premise that the Government of Japan will steadily implement the measures it announced.

Announcement

Official Staement of WCCW(washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues, Inc.)

(Dec. 29th, 2015 3:30 pm. at KUSCO, Vienna VA written by Jungsil Lee, President of WCCW)

The Joint agreement issued yesterday on Dec. 28th 2015 by the Republic of Korea and Japan on the issues of the "comfort women" is a valuable achievement and a big step for the bilateral relations between the two countries. WCCW, as an organization whose mission is to advocate for the rights of wartime victims- military sex slaves- and their lawful reparation, welcomes yet will watch cautiously this big stride, and hopes that it will open the door towards sincere and lawful reparation and reconciliation. Facing this historic moment, WCCW delivers our official statement below;

1. WCCW is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, research and educational organization. We welcome persons of all gender, race, and nationality. We envision 'comfort women' issues as global human rights and women's rights movement including many case studies of other nations who have experienced similar atrocities as well as today's violations of the rights of women around the globe. Therefore, we do not narrow down the issue to solely include Korean-Japanese political relations. Rather, we will continue to research and to educate the importance of human rights.

2. WCCW will make sure that these women occupy a prominent place in the annals of history not only to honor their bravery and endurance but also to commemorate the importance of human dignity. If the agreement is sincere and unequivocal, the world will see that the Japanese government will open their archival records concerning wartime and postwar treatment, create policies to reconcile with the comfort women, and cease to whitewash history and strive for the education of the future generation.

3. WCCW will watch how much the promise written in the agreement will be realized with the communication and consent of victims and their representatives. Although many sections of the agreement are not satisfactory in terms of their clarity and specificity, successful action is more required than words. Understanding the political stance of Japan, we hope that PM Abe's government does not just tactful coordinate a political compromise but truly commit itself to resolve these issues through sincere consideration of the now late 80's and 90's victims.

4. WCCW hopes to see that the Japanese government progress by amending the purpose of funding is not just 'to support or recover' of women but to pay their 'legal reparation'. Mr. Kishida made clear the money is not for legal reparation.

5. WCCW will watch the issue be resolved not "finally and irreversibly" by just one political deal, but by a series of gradual and sincere accomplishments between two nations. Although WCCW promotes peaceful reconciliation one agreement cannot cease or delete the whole history or relating activities.

6. WCCW expresses deep regret to see that the agreement includes the possible removal or relocation of the Girl statue in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul that has a huge symbolic and sentimental value for Koreans. We hope that the Korean government will act cautiously in dealing with this matter and arrive at the right decision.

7. WCCW would like to see the end of the Japanese government's diplomatic and publicity efforts to humiliate comfort women survivors or to interfere with people's democratic rights to study, research, and speak out about their experiences.

WCCW has been so honored to fight and be a voice for these voiceless women for the last 23 years since 1992. Although we cannot imagine their suffering, we have learned from and been inspired by the survivors. We sincerely hope these women will finally find what they wanted: peace and dignity.

WCCW Members and WCCW Board of Directors

Announcement

FILM SCREENING: SPIRITS' HOMECOMING

Friday, January 29, 2016
7:00PM to 9:00 PM (EST)

Northern Virginia Community College
(CA, Room 302)

8333 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22033
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