The United Nations has urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders to stop making disparaging remarks on “comfort women,” the first official warning from the international organization since South Korea and Japan reached an agreement to settle the issue in December.
The accord was signed on the conditions that Japan would deliver a sincere apology to sex slavery victims in Korea and do nothing that can be considered defamatory to them. Nevertheless, some politicians and bureaucrats there, including conservative lawmaker Yoshitaka Sakurada, have ignored the agreement, denying Japan’s responsibility for its atrocities during World War II.
Their repeated violations have enraged victims and Korean people, pressing the Seoul government to nullify the agreement.
“The committee, therefore, considers that it is not precluded ratione temporis from addressing such violations,” the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) said Monday. The committee called on Japan to ensure its leaders and public officials “desist from making disparaging statements regarding responsibility, which have the effect of re-traumatizing victims.”
The CEDAW said Japan had shown continued lack of effective remedies for the victims, adding the bilateral accord did not fully adopt a victim-centered approach.
“Japan (should) take due account of the views of the victims and ensure their rights to truth, justice, and reparations,” it said.
The committee also expressed worry about references to comfort women deleted from Japanese school textbooks, asking Japan to reinstate them.
By Dahee Kim, The Korea Times
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