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Government to Bring Comfort Women Compensation Issue to UN Human Rights Commission

Government to Bring Comfort Women Compensation Issue to UN Human Rights Commission

Posted August. 27, 2005 03:01,   


The government decided to seek a diplomatic settlement with Japan on August 26 in an effort to deal with the legal obligations which it believes the Japanese government owes for its illegal atrocities during its colonial rule of Korea, including mobilizing comfort women for its military.

The government decided to devise measures to help former forced laborers who suffered during Japanese colonial rule, based on the judgment that compensation provided to them was insufficient.

Earlier that day, the government held a “Public-Private Joint Committee Meeting for the publication of documents of the ROK-Japan talks in 1965” presided over by Lee Hae-chan, the prime minister, at the central government complex at Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul. At the meeting, the participants discussed the scope of the ROK-Japan normalization treaty of 1965 and future government policies on the issue.

Yoo Jong-sang, deputy general manager of the planning division of the office for government policy coordination, said after the meeting, “The treaty was aimed to sort out financial and civic problems and liabilities between the two nations. We can’t assume that the treaty addressed the illegal atrocities committed by the Japanese government, including the issue of comfort women.”

The Korean government will bring this issue before the U.N. Human Rights Commission, while urging the Japanese government to accept its legal responsibility.

This is the first time that the government has declared, based on diplomatic documents, that the Japanese government has a legal responsibility for Korean comfort women.

The government also hinted that Japan still has an obligation for additional compensation by making clear that “the issues of ethnic Koreans in Sakhalin and victims of the atomic bomb explosions were also not covered by the treaty.”

After making public five volumes of treaty documents relating to the individual right to claim compensation in January this year, the government released all the documents of the ROK-Japan normalization talks (156 volumes, 35,354 pages), which lasted 13 years and eight months. About 7,400 pages of diplomatic documents on the subject of sending troops to Vietnam were also publicized.

According to the documents, the Jang-myun administration was the first to give up individual forced labor compensation claims.

Jung-Hun Kim jkmas@donga.com