I accomplished nothing I’d intended to that morning. I called my mother and sister to talk about the news. I read and reread the declaration and watched whatever clips I could find. I celebrated and speculated over group chat with Korean friends. And, I cried. A lot.
In a major development, the Japanese and South Korean governments reached an agreement today concerning Korean comfort women kidnapped and routinely sexually assaulted by Japanese military personnel during World War II. Despite ample evidence demonstrating that the Japanese army deliberately kidnapped thousands of women from Korea and other parts of Asia and forced them into sexual slavery, Japan’s government has been notoriously resistant to confronting this chapter in their history.
In 1993, the Japanese government issued a formal apology to comfort women, but since that time the country has reefused to be held further accountable. There even remains in Japan a widespread revisionist movement that denies that the forcible sexual assault of thousands of women and young girls by Japanese troops even took plac; those revisionists deny the stories of the more than two hundred comfort women brutalized during World War II who have since come forward to describe their rape by Japanese troops. Those survivors have carried out an unrelenting campaign to demand justice from the Japanese government — a government that seems to have adopted a policy of waiting for comfort women survivors to die off so that the issue will just quietly go away.