Relations between Japan and South Korea are not going well. The recent onset of this monogamy is due to the resurgence of some unresolved issues between the two countries. Japan’s tightening of export controls and South Korea’s accusation of accusing Tokyo in the WTO as a measure have further strained the relationship.
Earlier last year, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered compensation to several Japanese companies for employing Korean people in forced labor during World War II. Japan refused to comply with the order. According to them, the agreement signed during the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1975 has resolved all the issues of the past. Apart from this, Japan also paid compensation. But South Korea is reluctant to accept that argument.
Another reason for the ongoing dispute between the two countries is the recruitment of Korean young women to provide compulsory sex services in the name of providing entertainment services to the war-torn Japanese royal army. Some of those women are still alive. They are commonly known as Comfort Women. South Korea alleges that Japan never apologized for its past misdeeds and did not compensate those women. Japan, on the other hand, says it has taken some steps with South Korea to resolve the issue, which demonstrates Japan’s willingness to resolve the issue. But South Korea doesn’t think so.
History is a very complex subject in international relations. From 1910 until the defeat of Japan in World War II, the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony. There is no doubt that Japan, as a colonial ruler, took a number of oppressive measures in Korea. However, in the post-war period, when both Japan and South Korea came under the same sphere of influence of the United States, those issues of the past were temporarily suppressed. Apart from this, South Korea has been under military rule for a long time and the military dictators have kept these complex issues hidden for their own benefit. However, after South Korea’s return to democracy in the late 1980s, many of these pressing issues resurfaced. In that context, new tensions arose between the two neighboring countries. The problem of sex slavery is the result of that continuity.
South Korean public opinion strongly opposes the Japanese position. And so there is no chance for any democratically elected government to take steps to solve the problem. The government here seems to be hostage to public opinion. The people of South Korea are so upset with Japan’s stance on the sex trade problem that a few years ago, a civic group erected a statue of a girl representing sex workers outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul, regularly carrying flowers.
The Japanese authorities, on the other hand, formally protested to South Korea, calling it a violation of diplomatic etiquette. Later, however, a statue of a girl in a chair was erected in the open space opposite the Japanese consulate building in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. Although Japan sees the move as provocative, the majority of South Koreans do not think so.
The latest addition to the protest process in South Korea is a pair of statues called “Eternal Atonement.” Which was recently planted in the Korean Botanical Garden in the northeastern city of Pyongyang. Here also a girl is seen sitting in a chair. However, there is another idol in front of the girl. A man kneeling and apologizing. Although he is seen as a seemingly innocent figure, a closer look at the man reveals that the man is none other than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The manager of the privately-owned park, however, told the media that the statue was not built with the Japanese leader in mind. It is a work of art, a painful chapter of South Korea’s past, but there is no political motive behind it. However, the Japanese government is reluctant to accept this explanation.
South Korean media, however, say that the artist has portrayed the Prime Minister of Japan there. A sculptor was quoted as saying that what the statue was trying to convey was that forgiveness was possible only if Japan expected atonement.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Wednesday that reports of the “permanent atonement” image in the media could hurt relations between the two countries if it is accurate. As a result, South Korea’s move may not be acceptable under internationally acceptable standards of courtesy.
On the other hand, the South Korean government says that interfering in any private initiative is against the position of the democratic government, although the government does not deny that it has complied with the internationally recognized courtesy of foreign leaders. So the different positions of the two countries on explanatory analysis are adding to the complexity and the already strained bilateral relationship may further complicate the matter of this figure. It is not desirable for anyone in the economic crisis in the Corona region.