We Strongly Condemn Japan-ROK Agreement on “Comfort Women”

We Strongly Condemn Japan-ROK Agreement on “Comfort Women”

International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba

January 8, 2016

On December 28, 2015, Japan and South Korea have abruptly reached the agreement to settle the issue of “comfort women” in foreign ministerial talks held at Seoul.

The major objective of their agreement is to “resolve finally and irreversibly” the issue of “comfort women” known as “halmonis” (“grandma” in Korean) who were forcibly drafted for sex slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The agreement states that the South Korean government establishes a foundation for the purpose of providing support for the former “comfort women” and the Japanese government pays 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) contribution to a fund. As a condition for this, worse still, the Japanese government demands the removal of the statue of a girl symbolizing the victims that has been erected in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The South Korean government expressed its virtual admission of accepting such demand of the Japanese government, saying, “(We) will strive to solve this issue in an appropriate manner through taking measures such as consulting with related organizations”.

It is utterly an outrageous agreement that intends to completely put to an end to all issues on “comfort women” and, what is more, to remove the statue of a girl.

This agreement is meant to suppress the struggle of halmonis who have long kept condemning the war crime of Japanese imperialism by a thin veneer of Abe’s “apology” and 1 billion yen, a ridiculously small sum of money. It is to wipe off the history of the past Japanese colonial rule and deny the existence of halmonis. The history of the war crime of Japanese imperialism can never be erased with such a mean agreement.

Of course the intention of this agreement would not be just the “settlement” of the issue of “comfort women”. It is to suppress every struggle against numerous acts of barbarism of Japanese imperialism conducted throughout the Asia Pacific region such as Korea, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and others. It is done with vicious intension to wipe out the history of all war crimes.

The meeting between the foreign ministers was held at the end of last year. At this very moment Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) had been resolutely preparing for the general strike against the revision of the labor relations law by Park Guen-hye administration. The Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers worked out an outrageous compromise on the issue of “comfort women” in quite a blunt way at this very moment in order to destroy the struggle of KCTU.

The mass media of South Korea and Japan, and all Japanese political parties including the Opposition have made almost unanimously favorable response. Though, South Korean workers and people immediately issued a statement against the agreement, and rose up to thorough denouncement.

Through this agreement, the Japanese, South Korean and US governments clearly proclaimed their commitment in “advancing trilateral security cooperation”.

They intend to settle quickly the conflicts between South Korea and Japan such as the issue of Japanese military “comfort women” and others, and grant an indulgence on this issue to the Japanese government so that they can swiftly proceed to forge Japan-South Korea military alliance and accomplish the system to conduct coordinated military operations between Japan, South Korea and the US.

Based on this agreement, Abe administration is scheming to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula, and go ahead with the maneuver to wage a war ferociously in East Asia again.

KCTU has started the struggle in 2016 by the publication of the following statement on January 4.

“Park Geun-hye government intends to erase the memory of the past history of the colonial era which became an obstruction of a fresh military alliance with Japan, but the Park Geun-hye’s humiliating diplomatic negotiation itself must be erased from the history. KCTU never forget halmonis’ suffering, and will stand by the side of the statue of a girl for its defense together with the youth, students and citizens.”

We strongly uphold this statement. We will smash the all-out nationalist campaign of Japanese imperialism to praise the Japan-South Korea agreement on December 28. We will resolutely struggle together with KCTU.

We will create militant labor movement in every workplace with national railway struggle as its pivotal position, and fight against outsourcing, casualization and the revision of the labor relations law.

We will stop the revision of the Constitution and block the attempt of establishing national general mobilization system for war.

And we declare our firm determination to overthrow the Abe administration which intends to liquidate the history of the aggressive war and rush to fresh aggression war in the Korean Peninsula.