Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Issue That Doesn't Disappear

Korean Comfort Women ( Korean sex slaves for the Japanese military) issue is one that is not going away.The Peace Weekly makes it a front page article, two pages of special  coverage and an editorial. Most of the women are in their eighties and early nineties. Only 53 are alive and they are asking for an apology from the Japanese government. Every Wednesday, women groups demonstrate peacefully in front of the Japanese Embassy.  

Japan feels they have apologized sufficiently, and  private funds have been offered to the women but the Government does not want to acknowledge any responsibility for the comfort women. This is precisely what the women want the government to do. The government continues to pick on one or two issues where they may be technically correct, but refuse to consider thousands of glaring historical facts on the forced prostitution of Korean women. The nationalists in the Japan have a lot to do with the position of the government. 

On Feb. 25  they had the 1167 Wednesday gathering in front of the Embassy. Not only do the Japanese refuse to apologize, they do not want to acknowledge the fact that the government was involved: efforts  made  to rewrite the history of the period.

The pope on his visit to Korea did meet with the grandmothers who suffered as comfort women and was given a butterfly badge which represents the movement and their plight. The pope wore the badge  after he received the gift.

The editorial mentions it is not only the Japanese government but many international groups that hesitate seeking justice for these women. This coming March 1st  is a  National Holiday that commemorates the day in 1919  when 33 Korean nationalists and students declared their nation's  independence in Seoul and the establishment of a provisional government of the Republic of Korea. More effort is needed on the part of the Korean government to push the Japanese for an acknowledgement and formal apology.

Pope Francis said on his return trip to Rome from Korea we can't be neutral when we see pain. He also in his recent message: " we are seeing a selfish attitude of indifference that we can speak of a globalization of indifference."

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