Former Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, the Japanese premier famous for his 1995 apology regarding Japan’s war of aggression in Asia during World War II, met on Tuesday with three South Korean “comfort women” who served as sex slaves to Japanese troops at that time. This trip had been planned and was revealed earlier by a member of the South Korean minor opposition party on Monday.
On Tuesday, Murayama personally shook hands with 3 women from South Korea who were coerced into sex slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in WWII. “Please stay healthy,” the 89-year-old ex-premier said to the women as he shook their hands at an art exhibition in the South Korean parliament complex in Seoul. The event showcased artwork made by other comfort women in Korea. One of the three women who were there, Kang Ul-Chul, told Murayama through an interpreter that the Japanese government should properly apologize to the former sex slaves and provide compensation. Murayama’s 1995 statement has been the most comprehensive apology that Japan has officially endorsed to victims of its war of aggression.
The women also presented him with one of the artworks on exhibit that day, a painting called “Flower destroyed unbloomed”. Murayama served as Japan’s prime minister from 1994-96 and is best remembered for his aforementioned 1995 public apology for Japanese atrocities during World War II. Still, Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45 still remains a hugely sensitive issue in South Korea. A huge number of Koreans still believe that Japan has failed to follow up on Murayama’s 1995 apology, and has not properly atoned for its past aggression. The issue of compensation has also been brought up a number of times, but Tokyo considers all financial responsibilities to South Koreans as being settled already.
[via Zee News]