Monday, November 9, 2015

South Korea resolve needed on ‘comfort women’

Haruki Sasamori / Yomiuri Shimbun,

image from
With the first Japan-South Korea summit meeting in 3½ years, the unusual situation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye having never met as leaders of their countries has come to an end. The Yomiuri Shimbun asked Kwansei Gakuin University Prof. Shunji Hiraiwa, an observer of contemporary Korean affairs, for his perspective on the significance of the meeting and how the issue of the so-called comfort women and other issues should be approached in the future. ...
Q: Japan and South Korea need to really consider the citizens of each other’s countries.
A: “Public diplomacy” that appeals to public opinion in the other country is important. In 1998, President Kim Dae Jung came to Japan and gave a speech in the Diet, and elderly people were quite moved. My mother said: “He must have experienced hardships. It brought tears to my eyes.” If Prime Minister Abe and President Park say things that touch the hearts of the other country’s citizens, I believe the situation would change right away.

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