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Koren Comfort Women: A Resolution To South Korea and Japans Long Standing Dispute

On December 28th 2016, twenty-four hours after North Korea's nuclear weapons test, President Obama initiated a telephone conference with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea's president Park Geun-Hye, to discuss the regions latest crisis. At the end of each conference, Obama commended each region for finding a resolution to their long-lasting dispute on Japans use of sex slaves during World War II, also known as Comfort Women. A dispute that the Obama administration intervened in at pivotal moments throughout the past two years, creating an environment that made it possible for Japan and South Korea to settle their grievances. 
During the Obama administration's two-year involvement, the most important contribution to settling the tension between the two nations occurred in March of 2014. At this time, president Obama brought Park Geun-Hye and Shinzo Abe together for the first time at the nuclear security summit meeting. According to Ben Rhodes, Deputy Of National Security, after the first meeting president Obama used every meeting with Japanese and South Korean leaders to discuss the issue and work towards repairing their relationship. Opening the lines of communication between the two regions and creating a platform that allows them gain a better understanding of what's at stake. Deputy Secretary Of State, Anthony J. Blinken, stated that United State's involvement mattered strategically because an alliance between South Korea and Japan would aid in keeping North Korea's aggression at bay. In addition, their alliance would help to offset China's economic influence on the region and their steadily growing military.

Although the United States played an important role in their resolution, Park Geun-Hye and Shinzo Abe had their own political incentives to encourage them in finding a resolution. After their first meeting, both regions worked towards finding a suitable resolution that would please both parties. However, political issues not related to the negotiations continued to hinder progress until late 2015. Eventually, through their own incentives and continued involvement by the U.S., lead them to an agreement that not only addresses the issues on Comfort Women testimonies, but one that stipulates each region will cease all criticisms of the other throughout the International community. In this agreement, the Japanese Government deposited over $8 million into a South Korean fund that helps provide 46 surviving comfort women with the support they need to repair the psychological damage inflicted on them during their time as sex slaves and help them regain the honor and dignity they lost. In return, the South Korean Government agrees to investigate and potentially remove a bronze statue of a comfort woman who sits in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, placed there by a civic group.

Despite coming to an agreement, the deal faces criticism from factions in South Korea, Japan, and the survivors of Comfort Women. One survivor, YooHee-Ham, states that the survivors should have been able to take part in the discussion since the issue focuses more on humanity and regaining the humanity that they lost years ago and not a political dispute. In addition, she feels that the Japanese Government did not relinquish enough given the suffering the survivors had to endure, while the Japanese community feels the government relinquished too much. Shinzo Abe's Special Advisor, states that Shinzo faces harsh criticism for agreeing to the deal and further pushback from Japanese officials. However, despite the criticism and pushback, the survivors of comfort women have already started receiving portions of the dividend.
Koren Comfort Women: A Resolution To South Korea and Japans Long Standing Dispute Koren Comfort Women: A Resolution To South Korea and Japans Long Standing Dispute Reviewed by Parvesh Bravo on 5:15 PM Rating: 5