A local scholars’ group on Monday called for the immediate annulment of last week’s agreement between South Korea and Japan on wartime sex slavery, saying it is working with 380 intellectuals and activists across the world to establish a society solely dedicated to the “comfort women” issue.
The student councils of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Ewha Womans University also called on the government to scrap the agreement, while encouraging other universities to join their cause.
The group of Korean professors, tentatively named “the association for establishment of the society on comfort women,” called the agreement “a diplomatic blunder” by the Korean government that could never be a closure for victims of Japan’s wartime atrocities.
Seoul and Tokyo had agreed on what they called a “final and irreversible” deal on Dec. 28, in which Japan apologized to the victims “for its involvement” and funding 1 billion yen ($8.37 million) to support the surviving victims. But the survivors and associated organizations have criticized the deal for omitting Japan’s recognition of its legal responsibility.
“The key to the comfort women issue is that Japan, as a country, is responsible for coercing countless women into sexual slavery. ... Yet the agreement does not clarify Japan’s crimes and does not mention punishing those responsible or including (details about the comfort women) in its history lessons,” the group said in its press release.
HUFS students accused the government of deliberately ignoring the voices of the victims for its “diplomatic accomplishment.”
Ewha students urged the Japanese government to recognize its legal responsibilities and apologize in order to reach a closure on the issue.
By Yoon Min-sik