Comfort Women new law

State should try to solve ‘comfort women’ issue

The Constitutional Court made a landmark ruling on Tuesday that it is the government’s duty to settle disputes over Japan’s refusal to compensate former “comfort women.” The decision carries significant implications as the court has expanded the scope of state obligations to better protect the basic rights of the people.

The court said it is unconstitutional for the government to make no tangible efforts to settle the disputes. It also stated that the government violated the rights of the comfort women forced to serve as sexual slaves for frontline Japanese soldiers during World War II. It made the same ruling for the Korean victims of the atom bombs dropped on Japan. 



No doubt the court action is in line with an international trend that individuals cannot and should not forfeit their human rights for the sake of the nation. In its 58th session in 2006, the U.N. International Law Commission adopted a draft Convention of Diplomatic Protection stating that basic rights of individuals should not be violated in the name of diplomatic protection.

The comfort women’s disputes stem from the 1965 Treaty of Basic Relations between Korea and Japan. In compensation for its aggression and colonial rule, Tokyo offered $800 million in grants and soft loans to Seoul under the pact. However, it is still not clear whether the reparations covered individual victims such as ex-comfort women, forced laborers and victims of the atom bombs.

Japan has maintained a position that the compensation for all individual victims was already addressed with the normalization treaty. But the Korean victims of Japan’s wartime atrocities cannot accept the position because they have never seen any compensation from a government in Tokyo or Seoul.

The former sexual slaves have continued to call for Japan’s apology and compensation for their damage and suffering. What’s more heartrending for the victims is that the Seoul government has shown indifference to their demands. The government has done little to solve the compensation disputes with Japan. As the court pointed out, the government has neglected its duty of protecting the victims’ rights.

Now, the Lee Myung-bak administration should humbly accept the ruling. It should do its best to settle the disputes through diplomatic channels. First, it must hold discussions with Japan to clarify if the 1965 treaty ultimately concluded the compensation issue not only for the nation but also for individual victims.

Korea has to make diplomatic efforts to help the victims receive compensation if Japan is responsible for the violation of their human rights. It is important to recognize that the mobilization of comfort women was a crime against humanity. And those victims cannot give up their rights to compensation under any treaty between the two countries or diplomatic protection. 

(source: KoreaTimes)

About ethlenn

Just usual suspect
This entry was posted in Japan, Korea, politics. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Comfort Women new law

  1. alexe says:

    Thank you for not letting these violations of human rights go into oblivion . The more everywhere it is being told , the more it is something meaningful for the victims .

  2. Ethlenn says:

    Some things should never be forgotten.
    My Grandma was always saying – you may forgive, but never forget.

  3. alexe says:

    As for me , I neither forget nor forgive . I don't know exactly what forgiving means since I am not God and I believe everyone is responsible for his acts . Therefore everyone is accountable because you must work on the assumption that liberty exists . Otherwise we would live in barbary .

  4. peggybrad says:

    Sometimes forgiving is too close to forgetting.

    Sometimes only participants always remember and find it hard to forgive. But sometimes remembering means never being able to forgive or forget what happened between people. I think if you have a conscience then this is always a presence in your life.

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