[Newsmaker] Forced labor victims, comfort women demand Japan’s apology on Liberation Day

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Aug 15, 2018 - 15:03
  • Updated : Aug 15, 2018 - 17:39

A group of victims of Japanese colonial rule on Wednesday demanded an apology from Japan and called on the South Korean government to properly compensate for damages incurred. The group also called for a thorough investigation into a judiciary scandal in which the chief of Korea’s top court is accused of abusing his authority to negatively influence their legal suits.

The association of all victims and their bereaved families of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule took to the streets in front of the former Japanese Embassy building in Jongno, Seoul, on the holiday that marks the liberation of Korea from Japan.

Participants hold placards reading “Together Peace” and “We will remember the courage that changed history,” during a rally held to commemorate women forced into sexual slavery for Japan’s military during World War II in front of the former Embassy of Japan building in Jongno, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

“Japan dominated this country for 36 years and has never officially expressed their apology. They should issue a sincere apology (to the victims),” Park Sang-young, a victim of forced labor, said at the protest.

The victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation during colonial rule also spoke of the power abuse case involving former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae, who is suspected of having used trials, including ones involving former forced laborers during the Japanese colonial rule, as bargaining chips for political favors from the presidential office of Park Geun-hye.

“We cannot but recall 36 years of brutality by the Japanese, as we learn the compensation trials of the victims were traded for the benefit of the top court,” said Sohn Il-seok, head of the association. “Special measures should be taken for a fact-finding investigation and to punish those who are responsible for the irregularities.”

For the compensation suit filed by forced labor victims against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., Yang is suspected of deliberately delaying the top court’s ruling in return for overseas posts for judges.

Following the rally in Jongno, the victims association marched to Cheong Wa Dae to deliver a statement.

The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan also held a rally in front of the former Japanese Embassy building.

By Jo He-rim (