All weekend papers reported on a recommendation issued to the South Korean government on Friday by the UN Committee on Torture that called for a review of the 2015 comfort women agreement with Japan on the grounds that the compensation, restoration of honor of the victims, and preventive measures specified in the agreement were insufficient. Yomiuri said although Japan is unhappy about the UN document since it “erroneously” describes the victims as “sex slaves during WWII,” it may take a wait-and-see attitude since it was only addressed to Seoul. However, Tokyo is concerned that the UN report will trigger a resurgence of calls for a review of the bilateral pact in South Korea.
Sankei said that in its input submitted to the UN panel, the ROK government failed to mention that the GOJ contributed 1 billion yen in donations to the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation. The paper projected that the Moon administration will capitalize on the UN report to rekindle the comfort women dispute, adding that defense cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul may be disrupted as a result.
In a related story, NHK said this morning that South Korea’s public broadcaster KBS reported Sunday evening that lawmaker Moon Hee-sang, who was appointed by President Moon as his special envoy to Japan, expressed his view that instead of calling on Japan to renegotiate the 2015 agreement on the comfort women, South Korea will seek an alternative measure such as having the Japanese side release a new statement. The network said lawmaker Moon is expected to meet with President Moon on Tuesday, adding that attention will be focused on what kind of message the special envoy will deliver when he visits Japan in the future.
Meanwhile, Yomiuri’s latest public opinion poll showed that three out five Japanese said the GOJ should not heed the Moon administrations’ possible call for renegotiations of the comfort women agreement. Almost 58% said Japan-ROK relations will remain unchanged under the liberal government in South Korea.