Japan has done its best to resolve the issue of its wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women and the Japanese public will not allow for fresh apologies or a higher degree of compensation than was already given.
That's the grim outlook put forward by Yasuaki Onuma, a professor of international law at Meiji University and the former director of the Asian Women's Fund.
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Set up by the Japanese government in 1995, the fund collected private donations and sent compensation to 3-hundred-64 former "comfort women" in Taiwan, the Philippines, the Netherlands and Korea, each of whom received roughly 30-thousand U.S. dollars.
The government also provided direct funding for medical care for the recipients and issued hand-signed letters of apology from then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.
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In a recent interview with a group of Korean reporters in Tokyo, Onuma said hardline Korean civic groups were largely responsible for the current impasse.
He said the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan harshly criticized the seven Korean "comfort women" who decided to accept the money, saying they were once again selling themselves to Japan by taking Japanese cash.
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Onuma ruled out a revival of the Asian Women's Fund, pointing to the icy public sentiment in Japan.
He said many Japanese people feel the country put its greatest efforts into resolving the "comfort women" issue and was rejected by Korea, adding that similar actions will not be allowed amid the current nationalistic tide in Japan.
The Japanese professor said the individual happiness of the "comfort women" must be prioritized and that the issue should not become entangled in the diplomatic feud between Korea and Japan.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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