One of the Catholic law-makers is written up in the Peace Weekly on her efforts to get justice for the former 'comfort women' the sex slaves of the Japanese army. Over 80,000 women most of them coming from Korea were enslaved. Korean society did not allow these women to speak freely about the past because of the shame, but this has changed from the early 1990s. However, Japan has extreme difficulty in expressing guilt for the atrocities toward these women who were used as sexual slaves for their soldiers, despite the pressures put on them by the neighboring countries.
Japan feels all the issues and compensation have been settled with an agreement with South Korea
that normalized relationships between the two countries. They have
attempted to compensate the women with private funds, but have not in
the eyes of Koreans ever truly apologized for the acts of the Japanese
Government. Many of the women have refused the money offered because
it did not come from the government. Japan continues to refuse any legal liability for what was done with the comfort women.
woman lawmaker last year sent a petition to the Vatican on behalf of
the comfort women asking for help in settling the problem.The issue is
to have the Japanese government acknowledge the crime and apologize
clearly and unmistakably, which they refuse to do.
recent interview with reporters, she mentioned that the former comfort
women will attend the Mass for Peace, and Reconciliation scheduled to
take place at the Cathedral in Seoul, on Aug. 18. She hopes the Pope
will mention them in his sermon on that day, which will help bring the
cry of these women to a larger audience and mobilize public opinion to
reflect on the crimes committed that have never been fully
acknowledged by Japan.
The senator has been criticized
by foreign politicians for bringing up a political issue with the
Vatican. She is not interested in having this become a political issue, it is a human rights issue that needs to be concluded.
was in Rome last year for five days at a meeting of Catholic law-makers
and had an audience with the pope; she did speak briefly with the pope
and asked him to: "Please remember Korea and Korean people." The pope
answered: "Faith Country." She was happy to hear the words of the pope
and felt proud in being a descendent of the Korean Martyrs.
hopes her efforts on behalf of the former comfort women will be successful. All that the women want is a formal apology from the Japanese
government, a genuine apology and self-examination. When this does come
it will help the healing of the victims of the atrocities and do a
great deal to remedy the awkward relationship between the citizens
of these two adjacent countries that remains an open wound.