Koreans split over Japan’s responsibility on ‘comfort women’ issue: Poll

(From Korea JoongAng Daily)

Koreans are generally divided on whether they believe the Japanese government has acknowledged legal responsibility for sexually enslaving thousands of young women and girls into military brothels during World War II, a recent survey showed.

WWII Korean comfort women

WWII Korean comfort women

According to a New Year’s survey conducted by the Joong Ang Ilbo, 47.6 percent of respondents agreed with the Korean government’s position that the Japanese government had, in actuality, acknowledged legal responsibility in the landmark deal reached on Dec. 28 between Seoul and Tokyo, while 47.9 percent did not agree.

The landmark agreement promised an apology from the Japanese government and a multimillion-dollar fund for the Korean women forced into Japanese military brothels during the war, who are euphemistically known as “comfort women.”

Alternately, 4.5 percent said they “did not know” or did not respond.

The newspaper conducted a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 people over age 19 between Dec. 29 and 30. There was a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent and a 95 percent level of confidence.

Older people surveyed were more likely to think Japan had acknowledged legal responsibility, with 57.6 percent of respondents in their 50s and 65.5 percent in their 60s agreeing with the Korean government’s stance.

Their reactions came after the conclusion of the deal, negotiated by Korea and Japan’s foreign ministers, which includes an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a plan to establish a fund for the victims using 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) of Japan’s state budget.

The Japanese government acknowledged that it bears “responsibility” for the comfort women issue, which “severely injured the honor and dignity of many women, with the involvement of its military” – more than it has ever conceded in the past.

The two sides also agreed that the settlement is “final and irreversible,” as long as Japan faithfully follows through with its promises. Read more

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