Japan and the U.S. have pushed for the importance of Seoul and Tokyo implementing a bilateral agreement they signed in 2015. The agreement was aimed at resolving the various issues touching on Korean comfort women who were forced into military brothels based in Japan before and immediately after the World War II. The comfort women issue came up during talks held by John Sullivan, the U.S Deputy Secretary of State with the Vice Foreign Minister, Shinshuke Sugiyama. The two leaders met and held talks ahead of an anticipated meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his counterpart from the United States Donald Trump later that week at the White House. Both Sugiyama and Sullivan were in agreement that the South Korean comfort women deal ought to be implemented in its entirety.
Second Thoughts on the Deal
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who took over power in May, 2017, does not support the agreement in the present way it was agreed upon. Moon criticized the Koreancomfort women agreement since it was entered into during the administration of Park Geun-hye, his old-fashioned predecessor. President Moon stated that the agreement as it was drawn back then was not acceptable to the South Koreans.
Rejoinder and Terms of the Agreement
ShinshukeSigiyama informed Sullivan about Japan’s intentions to steadily implement the agreement that was widely valued by the International community led by the United States. Sugiyama revealed all about the intended talks that took place at the State Department in a press briefing. According to the agreement on resolving comfort women stories of December 2015, Japan was supposed to disburse ¥1 billion to a chosen South Korean fund to offer support to the affected comfort women. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, expressed his remorse and most earnest apologies after hearing the comfort women testimonies of their experience at the military brothels.
A section of the people in South Korea criticized the December 2015 deal. Critics of the deal claim that it did not fully reflect the voices of the afflicted women. President Moon had pledged to kick off the process of renegotiating the Korean comfort women deal during his presidential election campaigns. During the talks that happened between Sugiyama and Sullivan, the latter was informed that the country of Japan and President Moon’s administration had started off on the right foot. This was in the advancement of bilateral relations between them.
Tokyo is interested in strengthening the existing partnership and the trilateral harmonization with Washington. This is especially important in the wake of the imminent threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear development. Sugiyama revealed that they had reached an agreement with John Sullivan that the two countries; Japan and the United States of America should apply more pressure coupled with sanctions against North Korea. The two believe that doing so would be enough to curb the missile and nuclear programs taking place in North Korea. They also asserted the need of pressing China, North Korea’s main diplomatic and economic benefactor, to take up a bigger role in the efforts towards reining in on its neighbor.