Korean Women Forced into Sex Slavery During WWII Demand an Apology

"I will fight until I get an apology. It is not the money [that I want]. It is an apology." Korean women forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military during World War II are still waiting for justice.

'Comfort' women dispute agreement

Korean women forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military during WWII are still waiting for justice. From 1932 to 1945, so-called “comfort women” were taken from their homes as teens and forced to work in Japanese military brothels. In South Korea, only 20 of the 238 registered survivors are still alive. In 2015, Japan and South Korean struck a deal — Japan apologized and set up an $8.3 million victim fund. But survivors say they were left out of negotiations — and Japan didn’t take legal responsibility or provide official reparations.

“I will never step back from the liar [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe anymore. I will fight until I get an apology. It is not the money [that I want]. It is an apology,” says Lee Yong-soo - Former comfort woman. “We suffer unfairness and it makes us angry. Why are they not apologizing? We must receive a formal apology and legal compensation. Only then will we be able to let it go. We say that Japan is bad because we are victims. However, it’s not the Japanese people who are bad, it’s the government that is bad,” recounts Lee Ok-sun - Former comfort woman.

Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 (by Japanese historian Ikuhiko Hata) to as high as 360,000 to 410,000 (by a Chinese scholar); the exact numbers are still being researched and debated. “South Korea's action has been violating the agreement unilaterally, which means it's violating the international treaty which was the foundation of the normalization of the two countries,” states Shinzo Abe - Japanese Prime Minister. In 2018, after South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies compensate people enslaved during WWII, the issue resurfaced. Japan says the matter was settled under a 1965 treaty and has imposed trade restrictions with South Korea.

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