South Korea’s rival political parties have called for the resignation of the newly appointed NHK chairman Katsuto Momii after his comments on the issue of “comfort women.” The broadcast executive earned the ire of South Koreans after his controversial remark at a news conference, saying there was nothing wrong with the practice of making Korean women work as sex slaves during the Second World War.
Momii said that other countries engaged in war have the same practice and that it is only considered wrong by “today’s morality.” He also noted that compensation damages have already been given when a 1965 treaty was finalized between the two nations, referring to South Korea’s demand for compensation for the comfort women victims. Last Sunday, a 90-year old comfort woman Hwang Kum-ja, died in South Korea, which added to the public outrage. Hwang Woo-yea, chairman of the South Korean ruling Saenuri Party pledged to do everything to get an official apology from Japan. “Japan must bear in mind that it will forever go down in history as an unapologetic perpetrator when all the victims pass away,” he said at a Supreme Council meeting.
Other members of the Supreme Council have expressed distaste for Momii’s remarks. Lee Hye-hoon said, “It breaks my heart to think that the last remarks (Hwang) heard from a high-ranking Japanese official were the reckless remarks of the NHK chairman.” She called for Momii to apologize to the South Korean people and to “step down from his post, while Japan – is it still has a conscience – should be ashamed by the act that such a person is the chief of a public broadcaster and get him to resign.” Opposition Democratic Party chairman Kim Han-gil also made a comment that “the more the reckless remarks continue, the clearer it will become that Japan is still no more than a nation of war crimes.” The issue of “comfort women” has long caused tension between Japan and its neighbor countries such as South Korea because of its repeated rebuff on calls for a public apology and direct compensation for the victims.
[via Yonhap News]