「日本は従軍慰安婦問題の重要性認識すべき」、英外交委員会 （AFP BB News - 2008年11月30日）
Japan should acknowledge ’comfort women’ pain: MPs (AFP - November 29, 2008) *1
Japan should acknowledge the importance of Second World War "comfort women" as a "painful and emotive" issue in South Korea, an influential committee of parliamentarians said Sunday.
The Foreign Affairs Committee said that improving relations between Japan and South Korea could play an important part in resolving the nuclear stand-off involving North Korea.
Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries were kidnapped and forced to work in military brothels used by Japanese troops during World War II, campaigners say.
"The issue of the Second World War 'comfort women' -- Korean and other Asian women obliged to provide sexual services for the Japanese army -- remains a painful and emotive issue for the South Korean public and government," the cross-party committee said in its "Global Security: Japan and Korea" report.
"Its importance should be recognised internationally, including by Japan."
The issue of "comfort women" has long proved an irritant in relations between Japan and its neighbours.
Japan has apologised for the military's involvement in crimes against the women, but denies responsibility for running a system of military brothels before its surrender to Allied forces in 1945.
The US and Canadian parliaments last year called for a fresh apology from Japan for forcing women into sexual slavery.
Conclusions and recommendations
3. ･･････We recommend that the Government should urge Tokyo and Seoul not to escalate the dispute and encourage both parties to seek a mechanism for its lasting resolution. We further conclude that the issue of the Second World War "comfort women"―Korean and other Asian women obliged to provide sexual services for the Japanese army―remains a painful and emotive issue for the South Korean public and Government, and that its importance should be recognised internationally, including by Japan. (Paragraph 54)
41. Politically, Japan’s behaviour during its pre-1945 occupation of China, and Tokyo’s subsequent handling of the issue, continue to cause friction. Particular flashpoints are the disagreement between Chinese and Japanese historians over the scale of Japanese atrocities in the so-called “Rape of Nanking” in 1937-38, and the issue of Chinese women abducted into sexual slavery, known as “comfort women” (although in its peace treaty with Japan, China renounced all claims for compensation arising from wartime actions).55*3
47. Like Japan, South Korea has been a US ally in the post-1945 era. However, the common geopolitical alignment between Japan and South Korea has not overcome the strains deriving from the two states’ pre-1945 history, when Korea was under Japanese rule. In this respect, Japan’s relationship with South Korea has points in common with its relationship with China: Dr Swenson-Wright told us that “difficult historical issues […] bedevil”60*4 both sets of ties, and that Japanese public opinion could be “volatile” with regard to both states.61*5 Japan normalised relations with South Korea in a Basic Treaty of 1965, but any enduring improvement in relations has repeatedly been disrupted by flare-ups over historical issues, including the Second World War “comfort women”62*6 and history text books. Relations deteriorated especially under former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi (2001-06), principally over his visits to the Yasukuni shrine. Although relations improved somewhat subsequently, Dr Swenson-Wright told us that Japan had still tended to see South Korea’s previous President, President Roh, “as being over-willing to play the history card over territorial differences and to use the vexed question of history text books as a means of securing domestic support on the home front”.63*7
48. It is alleged that 200,000 young women captured during the Second World War were forced to serve in Japanese army brothels. These victims―euphemistically known as “comfort women”―were predominantly Korean, but also included Chinese, Philippine and Indonesian women. The Japanese Government has not offered an apology to former “comfort women”, and has not offered direct compensation, on the grounds that compensations claims were settled by post-war treaty arrangements. However, in 1995 it established an “Asian Women’s Fund”, funded by donations from the general public. This paid 2 million yen (about £10,000) each in compensation, plus medical and welfare support, to 285 former "comfort women" in South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan.
These arrangements have been criticised by Amnesty International as “fail[ing] to meet international standards on reparation and […] perceived by survivors as a way of buying their silence”.64*8 Hitherto, all claims for reparation brought on behalf of survivors before the Japanese courts have failed. The Asian Women’s Fund was recently wound up. Japan’s treatment of the former “comfort women” continues to face criticism internationally, for example in resolutions passed by the European Parliament65*9 and by a number of national legislatures, including the US House of Representatives, which said in July 2007 that Tokyo should “formally acknowledge, apologise and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner”.66*10 Japan’s Foreign Minister at that time, now the Prime Minister, Taro Aso, issued a reply to the US House, stating that its resolution was not based on facts and was “extremely regrettable”.67*11 At government-to-government level, Japan and South Korea regard the “comfort women” issue as being settled. However, some South Korean former “comfort women” continue to protest about their treatment.
*3：For “comfort women”, see para 48 below.
*6：For which, see para 48 below.
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