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2012.10.04 (Thu) Print

Questioning again Mr. Cossa’s commentary on the comfort women issue

Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai, president of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, sent an another letter to Mr. Ralph Cossa, president of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum CSIS, on October 4, questioning his additional commentary on the comfort women issue. Followings are the contents of her letter.



Mr. Ralph Cossa, in his response to Mr. Hiroshi Hirabayashi’s contribution (PacNet #56R) said,“(The Japanese) need to drop the legal arguments and disingenuous claims about a lack of evidence in the face of so many eye witnesses” on the “comfort women” cases during the war.


Mr. Cossa apparently dislikes Japan’s argument that the issue of compensation to “comfort women” was legally settled by an agreement signed in 1965, when the relations between Japan and South Korea were normalized. But it is an ironclad rule that post-war arrangement including the problem concerning claims should be settled by a treaty, or an agreement, and cannot be brought up later. Otherwise the settlement will drag on forever.


In a peace treaty signed in San Francisco in 1951, the Allies agreed in principle not to seek war reparations and compensation for their nationals from Japan, while Japan resigned all claims for damages caused by the Allies during the war. The reason why the Japanese people do not seek compensation from the U.S. for its indiscriminant killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians by dropping of the atomic bombs, an inhumane act breaching international law, is they adhere to the peace treaty. If South Korea regards itself as a civilized nation, why not esteem the post-war agreement of 1965?


We have no knowledge that there were “many eye witnesses” of forcible recruitment of Korean comfort women. A Japanese man made a confessional statement forty years after the alleged incident that he himself conducted forcible “comfort women hunts” on Cheju island in southern Korea in 1943. But Korean reporters as well as Japanese scholars could not find any evidence to support the story among the elderly on the island who knew what happened those days, proving that the story was a fiction.


It is very regrettable that the fake confession was translated into English and is still used as a basis to accuse Japan.



Notes by the JINF

Korea entered into Japanese rule with the signing of an annexation treaty in 1910. But the treaty lapsed with Japan’s defeat in war and the independence of South and North Koreas. South Korea demanded compensation from Japan as a victor country on the ground that a government-in-exile existed. But as the American-led Allies rejected the legitimacy of the exiled regime, the San Francisco peace treaty did not admit compensation to South Korea. Therefore, Japan and South Korea established diplomatic relations not with a peace treaty but with a “basic relations treaty.”


Along with the treaty, the two countries signed an agreement on the settlement of claims and economic cooperation, under which Japan accepted to supply South Korea with $300 million worth of grants and $200 million worth of loan, and the both countries agreed the problem concerning claims between them was settled “completely and finally.” (Article II of the agreement)


That was not a small amount of money, considering foreign currency reserves of Japan and South Korea then were $1.8 billion and $130 million respectively. South Korea used the money very efficiently to build expressways, dams, steel plants and so forth. According to the research by the South Korean government, the money contributed to economic growth by the annual average rate of 20% and current-account improvement by 8% in the decade between 1966 and 1975.


Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the Republic of Korea


Article II


1. The Contracting Parties confirm that the problem concerning property, rights and interests of the two Contracting Parties and their nationals (including juridical persons) and concerning claims between the Contracting Parties and their nationals, including those provided for in Article IV, paragraph (a) of the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed at the city of San Francisco on September 8, 1951, is settled completely and finally.