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Details of Exchanges Between Japan and South Korea Regarding the Comfort Women Issue

Published June 20, 2014

From 1991 to 1992, the Japanese government conducted research about the trafficking of sex slaves (known as "comfort women") in Japan during World War II. The study established the Asian Women's Fund, which worked in Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia to redress victims. On June 20, 2014, more details were released about information exchanged between Japan and South Korea during the study and about Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono's statement which acknowledged the involvement of the Japanese military in establishing "comfort stations."


Background to the Study

(1) At the House of Representatives Budget Committee hearing held on February 20, 2014, former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobuo Ishihara testified with regards to the Kono Statement that (i) no post factum corroborating investigation was conducted on the result of the hearings of former comfort women that is said to have served as the basis of the Kono Statement; (ii) there is a possibility that in the drafting process of the Kono Statement, the language was compared and coordinated with the Republic of Korea (ROK) side; and (iii) as a result of announcing the Kono Statement, problems of the past between Japan and the ROK were once settled, but have recently been brought up again by the ROK government, and it is extremely regrettable that the good intentions of the Government of Japan at that time are not being recognized.

(2) Following the testimony, in response to a question in the Diet, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga answered that the process leading to the drafting of the Kono Statement and understanding what actually occurred at that time should be clarified in an appropriate manner.

(3) Based on this background, the team undertook a study regarding the sequence of processes, centering on the exchanges with the ROK during the process leading to the drafting of the Kono Statement and extending to the Asian Women's Fund, which was a follow-up measure subsequent to the Statement. Accordingly, the Study Team did not undertake inquiries and studies aimed at grasping the historical facts of the comfort women issue itself.

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