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2014年3月 3日 (月)

韓国3・1式典 どこまで続く朴大統領の反日

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 02, 2014
Tokyo should accept that Park will continue her anti-Japan stance
韓国3・1式典 どこまで続く朴大統領の反日(3月2日付・読売社説)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has brought issues on the perception of history involving Japan into her diplomacy, has escalated her anti-Japan assertions, making it more difficult to improve ties between the two countries.

In her speech at a ceremony to mark Saturday’s anniversary of Korea’s 1919 uprising against Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule, the president called for Tokyo to make “a courageous decision” over the issues.

When it came to the issue of the so-called comfort women, Park said wounds inflicted on former comfort women “must be healed.”

It was the first time Park has publicly commented on the comfort women issue and urged the Japanese government to settle it.

However, issues of property claims, including compensation for individual Koreans, were settled under law when the two countries normalized relations in 1965.

Since then, the Japanese government has created on humanitarian grounds the Asian Women’s Fund, through which former comfort women were provided atonement money, and even a letter of apology from then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto was distributed to them.

However, these efforts were not successful, mainly because some groups in South Korea have pursued Japan’s legal responsibility over the issue.

It is hard to understand Park’s assertions, as she has merely thrust all the responsibility on Japan without taking such developments into account.

In Saturday’s speech, Park also said “the truth lies in the testimony of the survivors.” The remark was an apparent jab against a move by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to examine the testimony of South Korean former comfort women, on which a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono was based.

However, the testimony was not supported by documents. In the United States and some other countries, residents with South Korean roots have cast shame on Japan based on the Kono statement, trumpeting that the defunct Imperial Japanese Army forcibly recruited young women. These developments cannot be overlooked.

Joining forces with China

Since assuming the presidency a year ago, Park has repeated anti-Japan criticism during talks with high-profile foreign visitors and other occasions. She claims that trust has not been established with Japan due to its leadership, which has repeatedly made regressive remarks.

It also is a cause of concern that South Korea appears to be joining forces with China over historical issues concerning Japan.

This is apparently because China has become increasingly significant to South Korea. The total value of South Korea’s trade with China has now surpassed its combined trade with the United States and Japan. The number of Chinese visitors to South Korea also surpassed Japanese visitors last year.

When it comes to dealing with North Korea issues, Seoul apparently wants to work with Washington and Beijing, excluding Tokyo.

The United States has not hesitated to express its frustration over the deterioration of unity among Japan, South Korea and the United States, which is based on Washington’s alliances with Tokyo and Seoul. The United States have urged the two countries to improve relations.

However, if Park were to change the stance of her policy toward Japan, not only could it be met with resistance from within her country, but it may also undermine its ties with China. It is unlikely that South Korea will drop its anti-Japan stance anytime soon.

Japan should accept this as a premise in working to improve economic and security cooperation with South Korea.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 2, 2014)
(2014年3月2日01時33分  読売新聞)


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