November 12, 2019 10:36
The Japanese Foreign Ministry in a startling claim says Korea agreed not to use the term "sex slaves" for women forced into military brothels for the Japanese in World War II.
In its Diplomatic Blue Book 2019 published Monday, the ministry writes the term should not be used to label the victims because the expression "contradicts the facts."
"This point was confirmed with [Korea] on the occasion of the Japan-[Korea] Agreement in December 2015 and the expression 'sex slaves' is not used in the agreement," the document adds.
The dubious deal, struck by the Park Geun-hye administration, set up a compensation fund for the victims but let Japan off without admitting official responsibility. It was effectively scrapped by the current government because the victims had not been consulted and some parts had been kept secret.
But the Korean Foreign Ministry on Monday denied that even the Park administration agreed to avoid the term, saying the 2015 agreement only states that Japan "hopes" that Korea would not use it in the future.
But it appears that Korea did agree to some kind of fudge. At the time, Korean officials repeatedly pointed out that the official term is "comfort women victims," after the common Japanese euphemism.
The UN Human Rights Committee has advised that the victims should be referred to as "enforced sex slaves."
Tokyo has engaged in extraordinary contortions to find euphemisms for its wartime atrocities and their victims, and the Japanese press has by and large obediently fallen into line. The official position is that the sex slaves were rounded up by independent contractors but the Imperial Army itself was innocent of the practice.
A wealth of historical documents contradicts that claim.
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