In accordance with the agreement between Japan and South Korea contracted in December 2015, the issue of comfort women has been resolved ‘finally and irreversibly.’ Based on this agreement, the South Korean Government established the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation brilliantly and the Japanese Government contributed one billion yen to it. Most of this contribution has already been paid to the former comfort women who are now old, paying each of them 10 million yen ( In case of the deceased women, probably, 2 or 3 million yen were paid to each woman). President of the Foundation has suddenly announced to resign and I wonder if there would be any more confusion.
It goes without saying that this agreement between Japan and South Korea is the highest norm between the two countries. However, after President of South Korea Moon Jae-in was newly elected, he has announced publicly that South Korea will abrogate the agreement or at least, will not obey it. Judging from his announcement, I am afraid that substantially, it must have been scrapped.
Although the least promise (or condition) of the South Korean Government at the time of contracting the agreement was to remove a statue of a girl symbolizing ‘comfort women’ in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul, it was not only removed but also a new statue has now been built in front of the building of the Japanese Consul General in Busan. This anti-Japan movement is expanded not only among many places in South Korea but also toward various places around the world. Unexpectedly, South Korea is applying for the registration of the comfort women issue in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program in a bold manner.
Regarding the agreement between Japan and South Korea, I have been opposing the contracting of the agreement, together with other members of the LDP. The reason for this was as follows. “Why does Prime Minister Abe himself apologize substantially?” “Will the South Korean Government really remove a girl statue symbolizing the comfort women?” and etc. In addition, I made a speech to oppose the payment of one billion yen to the Foundation until the last moment of discussion. However, some officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented indifferently, “If the payment is advanced, it will give a pressure on the South Korean Government to hasten the removal of the girl statue.”
It is each country’s problem to deal with the sacred bilateral agreement and finally, the nation of the concerned country should decide. However, it is important for Japan to firmly insist on the burdens and victims shouldered by the nation until reaching the agreement. Although we do not request the South Korean Government to return one billion yen to Japan, at least, the Japanese Government should ask the South Korean Government in what way they understand as a nation or a race the well-described historic passage, “…finally and irreversibly…” in the agreement.