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[Statement on the 2nd Anniversary of the establishment of the Foundation for Justice and Remembrance]


The Foundation for Justice and Remembrance for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Hereafter, the Foundation for Justice and Remembrance) was established on June 9th, 2016 to restore the honor and human rights of the victims of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery and to stop such tragedy from repeating in history. The Foundation for Justice and Remembrance was created in joint efforts of the survivors who continued fighting for resolution of the issue and many citizens who stood together with the victims.

Citizens who participated in the establishment of the Foundation for Justice and Remembrance have voiced that the Korea-Japan Agreement in 2015, which excluded the opinions of the survivors, is void and demanded just resolution of the issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery. Both Korean and Japanese governments’ attempts to force “reconciliation” and “healing” from the perspective of the perpetrator and to eliminate painful history with “consolation fund” have angered the citizens and pushed them to commit to the cause of educating painful history of the victims to our children and of working together with women and children who even now suffer from in various regions of armed conflicts.

The Korea-Japan Agreement in 2015 does not comply with the United Nations recommendations have been made in the past 22 years for the Japanese government to acknowledge its war crimes, to make an official apology, and to carry out legal responsibilities according to international human rights principles. The Korean government itself found out that as the Korea-Japan Agreement in 2015 was a result of political and diplomatic negotiation through a government initiated review process, they, thus, admitted that the agreement cannot be a resolution for the issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery.
However, the Korea-Japan Agreement in 2015 still remains to aggravate the pains of the survivors.

The Japanese government continues to argue that the issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery was “finally and irreversibly” resolved with establishment of the Healing and Reconciliation Foundation and payment of 1 billion yen as “consolation fund.” The Japanese government continuously denies its war crimes of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery, which have been proven by countless testimonies of the victims and official records in the international community.

Furthermore, the Japanese government continues to eliminate the history by threatening to remove the Peace Statue and hampering with establishment campaigns of the Peace Statue. The Peace Statue was voluntarily established by both domestic and international citizens who wanted to remember and inherit the demands of victims for just resolution of the issue, prevention of wartime sexual violence, and establishment of a peaceful world.

Such actions that violate the victims’ human rights and honor and aggravate pains are not limited to those of the Japanese government. In late 2017, the Korean government announced that the Korea-Japan Agreement in 2015, which failed to comply with the principles of truth and justice, cannot be a resolution of the issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery. The Korean government also promised to take follow-up measures on the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation and to draft government budget to return 1 billion yen to the Japanese government. Nonetheless, the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation operates on 20 million KRW per month, from the Japanese government’s consolation fund of 1 billion yen. No government ministry has drafted a budget to return 1 billion yen, which shows that the Korean government is neglecting fundamental resolution of the issue.

The international community, which should strive for eradication of wartime sexual violence in various regions of armed conflicts through just resolution of the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery, also neglects the voices of the survivors. The Korea-Japan Agreement in 2015 failed to meet any of the recommendations from the United Nations and international human rights organizations to acknowledge war crimes of the Japanese government, investigate the truth, make an official apology and reparation to restore honor and human rights of the victims, and take measure to prevent recurrence such crimes including education of history and remembrance. Yet, the international community is focusing on the political and diplomatic relations and thus, is disregarding the desperate voices of the survivors.

Due to the Japanese government’s denial and distortion of history, the Korean government’s failure to take follow-up measures on the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation and return of 1 billion yen, and the silence and negligence of the international community, the issue of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery seems to have a long way to go for a just resolution, while only 28 survivors remain. A just resolution of the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery will be an important touchstone to resolve repeated issues of wartime sexual violence in various regions of armed conflicts.

There is not much time left to atone for wrongdoing in history and to fulfill justice to restore honor and rights of the survivors. The Japanese government should acknowledge its war crimes, carry out legal responsibilities including official apology and reparation, investigate the truth and educate history, and take other preventive measures immediately. The Korean government should carry out its promise with survivors to take appropriate measures on the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation and to draft budget to return the consolation fund of 1 billion yen to the Japanese government. Furthermore, each national government should comply with the United Nations’ international human rights principles to resolve the issue according to the victims’ demands and to plan and implement specific measures to prevent recurrence of wartime sexual violence, which is, a crime against humanity.

 

 

Foundation for Justice and Remembrance for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan

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정의기억재단 18-06-14 13:11
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