East Asia

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 255–269 | Cite as

The Comfort Women Controversy: Not Over Yet

Article

Abstract

During the World War II, up to 200,000 women, the majority of whom were Korean, were forced to provide sex to Japan’s military forces. The perceived refusal of Japan to fully take responsibility for the mistreatment of these “comfort women” has been a major obstacle to Japanese-Korean relations for a quarter of a century. Although the signing of the December 28, 2015 Agreement between Japan and Korea purported to “finally and irreversibly” solve the comfort women issue that has divided these two East Asian powers, the voices of Korean and Korean-American civil society indicate the contrary. American local, county, and state governments have become key battlegrounds in the conflict. As comfort women memorials across the USA proliferate, these governmental entities have allowed themselves to be caught up in incomplete narratives, whether Japanese or Korean. Against the backdrop of the tense geopolitics of today’s Asia-Pacific, a more responsible, comprehensive inquiry is needed to bring closure to a tragic chapter of human history.

Keywords

Comfort women Sex slaves Korean Council for the Women drafted for military slavery in Japan Asian Women’s Fund December 28, 2015 Yasukuni shrine Pak Geun Hye Shintaro Abe 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Public and International AffairsUniversity of BridgeportBridgeportUSA

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