Japan is urging South Korea to stick to the terms of the comfort women deal. In an attempt to ensure a closer relationship with Beijing, the foreign minister of Seoul is visiting Tokyo. On Tuesday, Japan began putting pressure on South Korea to stick with the agreement they made in 2015 regarding the wartime South Korean comfort women. This was when the new foreign minister of Seoul officially visited Tokyo for the first time to meet with her Japanese counterpart.
Moon Jae-in is the current President of South Korea and has an issue with the agreement. This has made it a major top of discussion along with the nuclear weapons program of North Korea. The discussions between Taro Kono of Japan and Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea began on Tuesday. This was right after Moon Jae-in traveled to China just last week. The purpose of this trip was to establish additional cooperation with Beijing. This was accomplished by emphasizing his preference for communication with North Koreas regarding the wartime aggression of Japan. The approach Moon Jae-in used was responsible for a lot of raised Japanese eyebrows.
Kang Kyung-wha remained in Tokyo for two days. This is being perceived as Seoul’s way of stating they have not given their support to China. Confirmation was received from both Kang Kyung-wha and Taro Kono that they will united their countries due to the nuclear threat coming from the North. The comfort women testimonies are looming over this unity along with several additional issues regarding the colonization of Japan from 1910 through 1945 of the Korean Peninsula.
The agreement Japan made in 2015 was with the impeached predecessor of Moon Jae-in, Park Geun-hye. This agreement was meant to repair the bilateral ties under severe strain from the issues caused by both territory and history. The terms of the agreement stated Japan would recognize their military involvement in the wartime brothels they ran in the occupied territories. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was required to express his regret to the Korean comfort women. This agreement established the foundation necessary to support the comfort women. In exchange, the issue would be considered finally and irreversibly resolved by South Korea.
The basic idea was to put the comfort women stories to rest so the neighbors would be able to focus on the future. Unfortunately, heavy opposition to the agreement by South Korea was seen from the beginning. A task force consisting of experts was established by the South Korean Foreign Ministry to review the deal. The findings of this panel are scheduled to be published on December 27th. The findings will show whether the government of Moon Jae-in intent to modify, scrap or maintain the agreement.
The expectations were Kang Kyung-wha would brief Taro Kono regarding the review process and Taro Kono would have the chance to reiterate. Japan has believed for a long time the accord should be implemented faithfully. The agenda also includes the reciprocal visits of Shinzo Abe and Moon Jae-in and the potential for finally seeing a trilateral summit with China. The next meeting is expected to be hosting by Japan and they are talking about January. The last summit occured in 2015 in Seoul.
If it is too difficult to schedule the next trilateral meeting, Seoul is willing to host a summit in Japan with just Moon Jae-in and Shinzo Abe. Shinzo Abe would then be expected to attend the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea next January.