Why Japan and South Korea Still Spar Over History – by Youkyung Lee (July 1, 2019)


Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula ended more than seven decades ago yet that legacy still roils everyday politics on both sides of the strait.

South Korea and Japan, major trading partners and both U.S. military allies, have been at loggerheads over what constitutes proper contrition and compensation for two groups of Koreans: those conscripted to work in factories and mines that supplied Japan’s imperial war machine, and those euphemistically called “comfort women” who were forced to work in military brothels.

Japan contends all claims were settled under a 1965 bilateral treaty and a fund set up in 2015. Seoul argues Japan hasn’t atoned enough. Some of Japan’s largest companies and the emperor himself have been dragged into the fray.

1. What are the roots of the forced labor dispute?

Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were conscripted during the 1910-1945 colonial period to work, often in brutal conditions, at dozens of Japanese companies.

At the time of the 1965 treaty, which established diplomatic ties between the two countries, Japan paid the equivalent of $300 million — $2.4 billion in today’s money — and extended $200 million in low-interest loans. The treaty said all claims are “settled completely and finally.”

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-01/why-japan-and-south-korea-still-spar-over-history-quicktake

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