The $89,000 Verdict Tearing Japan and South Korea Apart

Millions of Koreans were conscripted as forced labor during the Japanese occupation. Now Korean courts say that aging workers can sue Japanese companies for damages.

Comments: 62

  1. The answer to the problem is in the article: The South Korean government agreed to normalize relations with Japan in 1965, Japan paid reparations, and the countries together declared the issue settled. Then the South Korean government stole the reparations from its people. This is a domestic Korean issue that should be solved domestically. If Korea wants to let this ruin relations with Japan, and show the world it can't keep an agreement, the consequences will be worse for Korea than for Japan. It's too bad, because both countries would benefit from future-oriented cooperation.

  2. One of the hardest things for some people to do is offer a simple, "I'm sorry." This is compounded in Asia, not necessarily due to a lack of remorse, but because of the importance of "saving face" and avoiding visible public shame. The result is a form of immutable force meeting immovable object, courtesy of ingrained culture. In conflict here are strong norms, on the one hand, and owning up to deeply hurtful and offensive behavior on the other. The two have never coexisted easily in some Asian cultures. The past cannot be erased, not even by attempts to keep it hidden. War is ugly, and memories are long. Any real rapprochement is going to require a real attempt to heal painful wounds, regardless of the pain associated with doing so.

  3. @Quoth The Raven Except the "i'm Sorry" (along with other things) has been offered dozens and dozens of times over the years by various government officials. The issue is that it is never enough and nothing will ever be enough.

  4. It seems that legally, the 1965 agreement should settle the matter. But political reality should not be ignored. Whether the reparations were sufficient or properly distributed is subjective. Korean survivors feel that the reparations to the country in 1965 were not sufficient and they are due personal compensation. Japan, and parts of the Korean government feel that the reparations to the nation as a whole in 1965 were sufficient. In a democratic country like Korea, who is to say that the survivors, who have the sympathy of much of the electorate, are wrong? Why do so much of the Korean public feel that the reparations were not sufficient? When President Moon said that Japan should be more "humble" I think he means that Abe should reflect on how his embrace of the far right in Japan contributed to the current state of affairs. The dollar amount of the reparations isn't the important point. How do you put a dollar figure on crimes against humanity? The real issue is about proper respect and atonement. What has Japan done to morally atone besides the money it has paid? Would there be this outrage now had Abe not honored Japanese war criminals in ceremonies? Or if Japanese schools taught the truth about its history? The money is symbolic, it can represent remorse and atonement, but without genuine remorse, it's just pay-off and hush-money.

  5. @Simon Whether justified or cynically exacerbated (it's both), Korean sentiment toward Japan is negative to the degree that no atonement moral or monetary will be seen in Korea as sufficient. That is the situation Japan faces; further reparations of any kind have very little chance of leading to resolution, but have a high chance of leading to more demands. The decision to be made is by Korea: Does it want to move forward or remain in the past?

  6. @Derek Wessman It's always easier to tell the victim to forget the past and move forward. It would be similarly obscene to tell the Japanese sufferers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to get over it and say that the bombings ended the war and allowed Japan to move forward economically. A little humility in acknowledging the pain one caused goes a long way.

  7. @Derek Wessman I understand that point of view from the Japanese. "What more do you want from us?" etc. I agree that no amount of monetary atonement will be sufficient, but I don't agree that the well of moral atonement has been pumped dry. That being said, it seems this conversation is taking place after the harm is done. Tensions are already inflamed, and it being almost 75 years from the original sin, I think that further calls for apology at this point must seem to be verging on unreasonable. How must this look from the point of view Koreans? "We gave you your pay-off, now shut up and move on." Maybe something more "humble" is in order.

  8. By agreeing to pay the Korean workers, the Japanese government would have gotten in front of the bad publicity, deflecting it. By refusing to pay, the Japanese government has effectively put itself back in the cross-hairs of refusing to acknowledge its fault.

  9. "responsibility for occupying Korea and mobilizing Koreans for its war effort" That misses larger issue, the part that is the bigger problem. Japan did not merely occupy, nor merely mobilize for war. Japan was horribly abusive. Japan was abusive in ways only the Germans ever rivaled, and even the Germans limited it compared to what the Japanese did, to only some, those they considered "subhumans" rather than everybody who was not them. Japan took sex slaves. Japan did massacres. Japan took workers as slaves to distant places and treated them so badly many died. Their massacres were in a lot of places, China, Philippines, Indonesia, not just Korea. WW2 was a long time ago now. Americans might be puzzled that, however bad this was, it is still an issue today. That requires some explanation to Americans. It is not "those people" either Korean or Japanese (or others) who just can't get over things. That is dismissive and insulting. The problem is that in many real ways, peace was never made. That includes more than just Koreans. There is no peace treaty between Japan and Russia, and Russia still occupies territory it took in the war; that too still troubles current relations. Not only was no deal made, the Japanese had and still have no intention of ever making such a deal. They are now swinging back toward their right wing, nationalism and military buildup. Koreans were first disempowered, then sold out by dictatorship, and now dismissed. That won't work. It isn't peace.

  10. @Mark Thomason The larger issue is actually the deep nationalism of Japan, always has, always will be -- the rest are merely expressions of it. Any "deal" or apology are simply hollow gestures for the press and can never atone for what was done, nor should it.

  11. @Mark Thomason Part of the problems with minds of Japan is that younger generation of Japanese people have been taught in school to view Japan more as a victim of the mass murdered atomic bomb from US more so than the atrocity that war crime committed by Japan.

  12. @Mark Thomason How was "no deal made"? Are you saying that the South Korean government never intended to abide by the terms of the 1965 peace treaty? This pattern of ignoring international treaties has been repeated by the current Moon administration who last year unilaterally abrogated the 2015 "final settlement" with Japan, and then failed (again) to distribute the monies provided by Japan for payment to the comfort women. Perhaps South Korea has no intention of ever accepting peace with Japan, and would prefer to ally itself with North Korea and Communist China.

  13. Seems they should really be suing the South Korean government that stole the money (but at least didn't waste it) after normalization in 1965. In fact, they did, so I guess that means they'd have to sue again? And again? However many times. Just keep suing until something sticks. That's what us Americans would do. More seriously, these people were obviously victimized in the war years, but again, the treaty was clearly supposed to deal with that when it was signed. You can't go, years later, and say "Worthless piece of paper! It doesn't count!" And just expect the people who signed that treaty with you, and expected you to adhere to and respect it, to be totally cool with your tossing it out? If your country signs something, you stick with it. South Korea should be handling those claims, as effectively it was the "broker" handling and investing the money given as reparations in '65, in which the victims themselves saw little return (except in 2004).

  14. Adhere and respect something you have signed? Sounds reasonable, but how about the Iran Nuclear Treaty?

  15. For decades, one Japanese administration after another has presented a harsh and unsympathetic posture to the world about the atrocities it committed during World War II--forcing Korean women into prostitution as "comfort women" for Japanese soldiers, massacring tens of thousands of Chinese civilians in Nanjing (as it's now called), etc. And now this issue comes to the fore again.Contrast this with the post-World War II German response to the Holocaust-- which most Jews worldwide feel was done properly and effectively. As a psychologist, I am not surprised that many Koreans and Chinese still feel such enmity toward the Japanese.

  16. @WiseNewYorker And how has been the record of the U.S. government in dealing with the native American genocide, or of African American enslavement? Where are the national monuments to atone for those sins? Why do native Americans continue to be ignored, and live in squalid conditions on "reservations"? Why are African Americans killed by law enforcement, and incarcerated at much higher rates than any other race? Should they be monetarily compensated for their ancestors sufferings? Even a lay person can see the reason why they continue to be so angry. And just how well are Koreans dealing with their own "comfort women" issue during the Korean and Vietnamese Wars? Or the massacres of civilians by Korean soldiers during the Vietnam war. The Chinese to this day occupy and subjugate Tibetians, and have herded Uyghurs into concentration camps, the ongoing horrors which are only now being reported by the Western media. So governments, regardless of nationality, race, and political systems, are fully capable of atrocities. Have those governments admitted, apologized for, and monetarily compensated the victims? Do those governments continue to engage in atrocities today? Before singling out a particular country for condemnation, perhaps we should all be so humble and realize that our own governments have a lot to be apologetic for.

  17. @Last Iconoclast exactly. Once you attempt the attach legal monetary claims to the past atrocities of the worlds nation states, which despite what the commentators on this story appear to believe include more than just Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, it will be a never ending legal battle that threatens the legal basis of the nation state. Maybe we should have that discussion, but it wont be easy and it will involve more than just finger pointing at nations across the ponds.

  18. @WiseNewYorker Germany could have said "That's Nazi's fault, not Germans as a nation". I really envy Germany to have good neighbourhood who is forgiving, future-oriented unlike Japan. Germany was allowed to hold its army already in 1956, whereas Japan has never. No matter how we apologize and compensate, Korea will never be satisfied because they don't want to lose handy political skapegoat like Japan with which Korea government can distract people's eyes from serious domestic issues, at the same time demand apology and money forever. China, we are doing OK, not that bad.

  19. the more things change......

  20. The Japanese insist on attaching monetary settlements to their guilt. Japan's guilt is, like that of Germany, historic and unending and so should be its atonement. That Japan continues to resist, spurning historic responsibility -- and guilt -- is a clear statement that beneath the pose of modern Japan there is no repentance: There is the same political culture and atavistic ambitious impulses that produced it's eight year war in China and then across the Pacific, with all the attendant horrors -- enslavement of Koreans, the Bataan Death March, the POW and civilian concentration camps, grotesque medical experiments in Manchuria -- that Japan brought to the conflict.

  21. @Carl Zeitz How do you feel about representations to descendants of US Slaves or Native Americans who had their land stolen? Or is the perpetual atonement for past sins only for other nations?

  22. $89,000.00 is small compensation. Japan should be gracious.

  23. @BlueMountainMan True, but what if it's only the beginning? It is said the number of qualified forced labors by Korean Government 226,000. $89,000 to each means $20 billion. And the number will increase year by year. Do you still think it's small?

  24. @BlueMountainMan True, but what if this is the only the beginning? It is said the number of so called "forced labors" qualified by Korea Gvrnmnt 226,000. $89,000 for each, which will be $20 billion. And the number will increase year by year like the number of comfort women increased...Don't know why, but it happens in Korea. Do you still call it small?

  25. Do you think 89,000 human beings a small number? Actually it is into the millions.

  26. Japanese should pay for the pain and suffering of people during WW2. Those companies supported the invasion should be accountable and pay!

  27. Imagine if Germany had in the 1960s made a cash payment to survivors of the holocaust with a legal document that the agreement was compensation, apology and atonement for what had happened in WW II. Would such a legal agreement still be binding today in the moral or American courts? Off course not. Like Germany, Japan’s guilt in its treatment of Chinese and Koreans and others is unending, especially when , unlike Germany, it’s atonement has been based on mealy mouthed apologies and the eradication of this history of this shameful period other than to cast itself as victims of nuclear weapons.

  28. @Sipa111 How do you know our apologies "mouthed"? Do you know how many times Japan and Japanese apologized and compensated to Korea? OK, we are victims of nuclear weapons, that's the fact, but we never go victim business unlike Koreans. We never use nuclear weapons as a political tool to bash a country like you use comfort women, forced labors to bash Japan. You love to compare Germany with Japan, then think about this, Germany could already hold the army in 1956, whereas Japan has never. Plus, why only Korea bashes Japan? Why no other countries anti-Japan like you are? We are doing so well with other Asian nations who don't make good use of Japan as a political skapegoat unlike Korea.

  29. The only reason Japan did not use nuclear weapons is bc they were unable to produce them. Wherever Japan went it murdered. And murdered its POWs. You should be angry at the Japanese rulers and the Emperor whose horrendous actions brought death and destruction upon the Japanese people.

  30. @Junko I don't think that Japan was the "victim" or nuclear weapons. The United States and Japan were at peace yet Japan attacked the United States and killed many of its citizens. When a country wages war on another, it may not claim that it is a victim. The U.S. had every right not merely to use nuclear weapons, but to completely plow over all of Japan as a punishment fro Pearl Harbor. But we did not.

  31. It seems to me that after the 1965 treaty it is the South Korean government who owns reparations to the aggrieved. The words, “settled completely and finally” seem pretty specific. It is not Japan's fault the Korean government used the money for other things than paying back the victims. Think of it this way, if you won or settled a lawsuit and the lawyers kept all of the money instead of giving you your portion, you don't get to go back to the plaintiff and ask for more money. You go after the crooked lawyers. Now with that all being said, it isn't like the Korean government at the time didn't spend the money in a way that helped the nation as a whole. But that is really beside the point. “settled completely and finally" either means something or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, well...there is no trust. The totals being talked about are not large numbers compared to the size of the S. Korean economy. They should eat some crow, pay off some reparations to to their citizens and move on. Stealing money and assets from a large trading partner who has abided by mutually agreed upon settlement is not going to win you any friends or good will. It makes you look like crooks.

  32. @Still Waiting for a NBA Title You are right about the lawyer case - provided I authorized the lawyers to act on my behalf. Here the analogy breaks down. The Korean rulers who collected the money from Japan were not authorized to negotiate compensation with Japan. (In fact, they weren't authorized by the Korean people to be in power at all.) The basic point is that, when you want to compensate for harm you inflicted, then you must engage with the people you have harmed or with the representatives appointed by those people for this purpose. Whatever other payments you may make cannot count as compensation to the victims. This is the problem also with the idea that Union Carbide compensated its victims in Bhopal through a payment it made to the Indian government of the day. In that case, too, the government kept the money and the victims got nothing. But the main point is that Union Carbide and Japan made no effort at all to engage with the victims: with their specific claims to justice and recognition, with their specific needs e.g. for medical care, funeral expenses, psychological support and counseling. Japan and Union Carbide tried to put the whole thing behind them by paying a lump sum to others, and that without even making sure that this money actually goes to the victims.

  33. I assume that any American highhandedly proclaiming that Japan should pay its moral and legal debts to the survivors or descendants of its past atrocities would also support the same legal claim against the US and US companies from the multitude of people around the world who were exploited in the past. The workers at the Colombian Coca-Cola factory who were gunned down when they attempted to unionize, or the multitude of employees of the United Fruit company who were forced, at gunpoint, to accept lower wages and inhumane working conditions, would surely also agree.

  34. perhaps Korean women can sue Americans for the sex slavery during the Korean War, portrayed so innocently in MASH, or the Saigon bars, and throughout Vietnam during the American War, also shrugged off by US movies, the media & our society

  35. @John Andrechak I don't believe that Korean women who worked as prostitutes during the Korean war were fored to do that by the US government. They saw an opportunity to make money and took it.

  36. What is the problem? Germany was forced to pay billions in compensation not only to death camp survivors but to those who were in forced(slave) labor camps, like my parents. So Japan finally has to pay up. What took it so long? Has Japan paid any money in compensation to those American, British, and Australian soldiers murdered by prison guards, or the famous Batan Death march? No. To those in China who were experimented on by evil doctors and researchers resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths? To the relatives of those murdered or raped in Nanjing(Massacre) of 1937? No. Japan needs to finally come clean, being in denial and failing to compensate surviving victims and their relatives doesn't serve Japan's best interests. A major case of arrogance and racial superiority here.

  37. @lou andrews And we have already paid billions.

  38. @Junko To whom? The story says that Japan paid less than 1 billion. But none of that matters. Governments may settle disputes between themselves, but the Japanese companies that benefited from slave labor must pay their workers fair wages and damages.

  39. @Eugene In June 22, 1965, The Treaty for the Basic Agreement for the Normalization of the Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea was signed by the Prime Minister of Japan and by the President of Korea. Since the first meeting to discuss the treaty was held in February 1952, it took 15 years to conclude the finalization of the Treaty. After numerous negotiations, both governments finally agreed that Japan will pay the total of $800 million as an indemnity. The assets of about $530 million owned by the Japanese government and Japanese residents in the Korean Peninsula were confiscated. During the negotiations, the Japanese Government suggested that such individual claims as forced laborers and comfort women will be taken care of by the Japanese Government. However, the Korean Government insisted that the individual compensation will be taken care of by the Korean Government.

  40. It seems to me that South Korea accepted a settlement in 1965, took the money, and now they are saying: Oh, by the way, we want some more. If the South Korean workers want compensation, they should ask their government, not Japan. The deal has been signed on, and is closed.

  41. Oh, the Japanese occupied Korean in brutal occupation for decades, made millions into spaces in factories, and made tens of thousands of woman have sex with up to 50 Japanese soldiers a day for years. Sure, let’s abide by the rules. Wherever the Imperial Japanese went they brought death and destruction. The Japanese militarist believed and acted in a manner that brought destruction to millions, including the population of Japan. It must be said that Emperor worship and authoritarianism was so great that the Japanese people were basically willing slaves. Abe is a horrible man. He is basically on par as being a Holocaust denier. Whatever you may say about how Germany shielded its Nazis after the war, they acted enlighten compress to the Japanese.

  42. @Frozy I have some sympathy for the thinking that a deal struck over 50 years ago by a dictorial government whose President was a former Japanese officer might require some justified revisions, and not only from the Korean perspective. The relations between European countries and their former colonies have certainly evolved over the last 50 years.

  43. @Shawn Bayer Abe’s grandfather was Nobusuuke Kishi, who helped create the comfort woman system and slave labor system when he was Commerce Minister during the WWII war effort. He was a Clas A war criminal who was released from prison and - wait for it - was elected to be Prime Minister. It doesn’t surprise anyone that Abe takes personal insult that someone is trying to punish Japan for his grandfather’s terrible crimes. See what he did in Manchuria and ask why Japan would elect such a man and his grandson to lead them.

  44. Hi there, I'm a Japanese woman. I sincerely would like you to have a look at the below before you comment. "List of war apology by Japan" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan "The Asian Women's Fund" established by Japanese Government. http://awf.or.jp/e-preface.htm It is not true that Japan has nither apologized nor compensated to Korea and other countries. We have made a great effort to be forgiven our war time crimes. If you have a chance, please have a look at the apology letters by Japanese to comfort women. You can see the real voice of us. We all donated, from the school kids to 80 years old man, and the total amount was $6 million. http://awf.or.jp/e3/donators.html How can one easily say Japan did nothing? Plus, agreement is agreement. It should NOT be violated each time the President changes. If not, what can you trust in diplomacy? How can you make a promise with the fear it will be broken next year? And this is exactly what's happening between Japan and South Korea. now. Our governments made an agreement on comfort women issue in 2015 with the promise "Final and irreversible". But look now. It's already violated by the new President Mr.Moon. Can you trust somebody who keeps on breaking promises? What if your neighbourhood keeps on demanding to apologize and pay endlessly, though you have done many many times even after the mutual promise to end finally?

  45. @Junko That you apologized may be true but what was the value of the slave labor if you had paid market rates? And in the U.S., when you pay damages for an act that you did deliberately knowing that it was not proper, you typically pay 3 to 5 times the actual damages.

  46. @Junko Agreed. Koreans have no concept of international decorum and respect of international treaties and laws.

  47. Japanese vernacular coverage has included the possibility of taking this case to an international court. NYT reporting should have at least touched on this.

  48. @Alan That's right, let the International Court of Justice decide.

  49. Japan and Korea are the Montagues and the Capulets, the cowboys and Indians, the Democrats and the Republicans. This isn't going away.

  50. @JND Not even close. The Koreans are just sore losers, who can't move on from events of more than 80 years ago. There is no rivalry. Japan was decimated after WW2, but rose to become the 2nd largest economy by the 1960s. Even Germany, UK, or China did not come close. (China's economy is debatable as 2nd largest now.)

  51. The Japanese government has rarely negotiated in good faith in the matter of reparations, whether it be for the occupation of Korea (1910-1945), slave labor, or comfort women. To be fair, neither have most nations. The United States has never compensated American Indians or African Americans. In 1988, the Reagan administration offered a formal apology and a tax-free payout of $20,000 to surviving Japanese American internees. Nations do not typically grandfather reparation legislation. Historically, Commodore Matthew Perry opened up Japan to the West in 1853, accelerating the modernization of Japan’s martial culture well in advance of Korea and China, which gave the nation a strategic advantage over its East Asian neighbors. That Shinzo Abe is a revisionist nationalist and Moon Jae-In a veritable socialist does not help matters. Abe denies the Japanese government’s role in recruiting Korean comfort women, whose claims he has repeatedly refused. Instead, he counters by pointing the finger at North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals. The situation is exacerbated by the geopolitical dispute over the Dokdo Islands, which offer enhanced fishing rights and strategic military outposts. During the 1970s and 1980s, many Koreans who suffered the Japanese occupation—during which period they had to learn and use the Japanese language, adopt Japanese names, and celebrate Japanese culture—refused to purchase Japanese cars. This attitude changed, of course, with Deroit’s demise.

  52. of course, Seoul needs to cooperate with Tokyo for a lot of issues (including North Korea). and it's also true that a national agreement can't cover or "settle" the past entirely. national discourses often don't match people's vernacular memories. despite recent antagonistic relations, the number of Japanese tourists to South Korea has increased, reportedly. and I, too, don't hate the Japanese, while I'm very critical of the Abe Shinzo cabinet. I believe that what we need to face is the structure of hostile "co-existence" between Korean and Japanese nationalists.

  53. The number of Korean tourists to Japan is three times as many as Japanese to Korea. About 1500 Korean college graduates found jobs in Japan in 2017, and number is increasing while vise versa nearly none.

  54. @Junko Japan needs to put on a Korean ban for entering Japan. After a Korean was caught trying to blow up the Yasukuni shrine. Korea will suffer economically, once Japanese companies stop hiring Koreans. And Japan should enforce the intellectual properties that Korea keep copying. Starting with Hyundai and Samsung - all thier technology is stolen from Japan.

  55. No other countires except for Korea is either anti-Japan or unforgiving. No matter how Japan apologize and compensate, Korea is never satisfied. No matter what agreement we make, it's immedately violated by Korea and they start demanding new apologies and compensations. Regarding forced labors issue, that had been off-limit after WWII. Korean government knew it's done and closed in 1965 treaty, so no matter how anti-Japan the government was, they didn't demand compensation until now. That was a very basic, fundamental mutual agreement between Japan and S/Korea on which our diplomacy could have exsited. But now, it is destroyed. We have no mutual belief anymore. Korean Naval vessle locked fire-control radar on Japan patrol aircraft on December 20, 2018. It is clearly an aciton against "enemy". Mr.Moon who is the lawmaker of Korea, demanded Japanese Emperor apology to comfort women at the interview with Bloomberg 5 days ago, saying"Emperor is the son of the main culprit of war crimes". Only after 3 years from the agreement with the word "Final and Irreversible", this happens. Korea often says "All we want is a "hearfelt apology" , but what is "heartfelt apology" in first place when one can never be satisfied? Never mind, we are doing well with other countries, even with China too. Korea may be taking it for granted Japan will compromise as it has so far, but NOT ANYMORE. Farewell Korea, we are patient nation, but you have come too far.

  56. Who cares. Koreans are untrustworthy and have no concept of respect and international law. These types of articles attempt to stir more controversy for issues already settled long ago in the past. Similarly, the Korean politicians (North and South) do the same to shift focus from their declining economies and uninteresting culture. Without Japanese colonization and United States intervention in the 1950s, Korea would have remained a Chinese vassal state.

  57. And, is South Korea asking for compensation from North Korea for atrocities they suffered from the Korean War and Chinese soldiers killing Koreans, before the US marines showed up in the 1950s? Nope. This is simply Korean politician propaganda to stir up anti- Japan sentiment, sponsored by the Communist China propaganda machine.

  58. Four things you need to know about Korean & Japan: 1. They were originally a single ethnicity. 2. The US interfered with Japan's chances to make things right. After WWII, the US prevented the Emperor, the wartime leader, from being prosecuted. (This may have prevented another 2 million casualties.) However, this meant Japan never fully came to terms with its wartime actions. This has allowed the grandchildren of war criminals to be running the country. Moreover, the US made very real threats (e.g., annexation) against Japan to prevent it from making peace with its neighbors. 3. The Japanese government, Emperor and citizens have apologized thousands of times. These apologies have not been weak. Please look. You could read about the principal who died to stop nationalism in schools. In Germany, the government is always atoning for the war, but Neo-Nazi violence is plentiful and growing. In Japan it's the opposite: ordinary citizens have organized to make reparations for decades, but the government will not admit that it directly organized comfort women and experiments on humans. 4. This is not the first treaty on this that South Korea has broken, but the first one was with a dictatorship (which is still binding in international law). Another treaty with payments was signed by an impeached leader. Koreans are always resisting their leaders! So the Japanese could think either, "Fool me twice, shame on me," or "We will forever atone." Japan, please do the right thing.

  59. Japan enslaved 7.8 million Koreans and subjected them to horrific conditions for many years. Japan paid $300 million in compensation, less than $40 per slave. Now the Japanese government goes ballistic over law suits filed by some surviving ex-slaves, who were never even asked to consent to the 1965 compensation deal and never even received their $40. Official Japan is genuinely outraged that a person horribly mistreated by Japan is not satisfied with the $40 his government received. If Japanese people had been enslaved in like manner - had been overworked, humiliated, beaten, tortured and raped for years on end, and then "compensated" with a $40 payment to their government - no one in Japan would judge this acceptable closure. The aggressive demand that Koreans should be satisfied with such an outcome reflects a stunning refusal to acknowledge Koreans as equals, as full human beings. Crimes committed against them are thought not to matter as similar crimes committed against Japanese would. This is the same racist attitude with which Japan set out to subject the rest of Asia to its rule 90-some years ago.

  60. Japanese people refuse to set up the foundation for the forced labor victims because we learned from the lessons. In order to help comfort women, Japan established Asian Women's Fund in 1994 but the fund was dissolved on March 31, 2007 because only 61 out of 207 Korean comfort women received the money and apology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Women%27s_Fund#cite_note-dissolution-5 In 2016, Park’s government set up the Comfort Women Foundation according to the treaty in 2015, which was scrapped by Moon’s government in 2018. This time, 34 out of 47 surviving comfort women received the money. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/letters/japan-sex-slaves-world-war-ii.html Japanese people support our government’s decision not to compensate Koreans any more because we have compensated enough. We will counter the allegations that Japan has never apologized for the WWII victims claimed by Koreans.

  61. @ashura You are trying to defend the indefensible acts of Japan, even if they occurred a long time ago.

  62. Japan needs to do the right thing and sever ties with both Koreas. There is no use of diplomacy, when there is no sincere attempt by Korea to improve ties with Japan. The South Koreans never ever helped in the repatriation of abducted Japanese school girls kidnapped by the North Koreans by illegally infiltrating Japanese territory. Japan - Korea ties needs to be severd. Both North and South are enemies of Japan. Japan has provided billions of aid and loans to the Koreans. This needs to stop.