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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Editorial: Is Moon trying to undermine relations between states?

It is obvious that this would undermine the Japan-ROK relationship. His were outrageous remarks that took no account of the current situation.


In light of the ROK’s review of the bilateral agreement on the comfort women issue, President Moon Jae-in stated that, “This agreement cannot resolve the issue.” This is totally unacceptable.


Moon said the agreement was a “political agreement that excluded the affected parties (the former comfort women)” and that he was “dismayed.”


Japan is the one that is dismayed if such is the attitude of the leader of a neighboring country with which it needs to cooperate closely amid concerns about further missile launches by North Korea.


There is even no need to repeat here that the Japan-ROK agreement stated that this agreement resolved the comfort women issue poisoning bilateral relations “finally and irreversibly.” There is no room for any revision.


The two countries had compromised in consideration of the need to improve relations on account of the North Korea issues and the regional security environment. If this was indeed a political agreement, it can actually be said that Japan had merely decided to go along with the ROK in dealing with an issue that had long been resolved just to save face for the ROK.


Moon’s voicing his criticism despite this fact is an act of creating factors that would aggravate the Japan-ROK relationship in his obsessive pursuit of evidences of the previous administration’s misgovernment.


His point that the agreement “excluded” the former comfort women is also off the mark. Many of them have accepted assistance from the foundation formed with the 1 billion yen fund from the Japanese government.


An issue that must not be overlooked in the comfort women issue is that Japan’s reputation has been compromised by the fabricated history of “sex slaves” of the Japanese Imperial Army.


Even after Seiji Yoshida’s testimony that women were abducted from the Korean Peninsula was proven to be lies, unfair criticism has continued, switching to the argument that these women were “deprived of freedom.”


While criticizing the Japan-ROK agreement, Moon also said that he would like to “resume summit diplomacy for the sake of future-oriented cooperation.” He is probably trying to say that diplomacy, security, and economics are a separate matter from history issues.


The comfort woman statue, which is the symbol of the anti-Japan movement, remains in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The president is encouraging the anti-Japan movement in his country which continues to rehash the issue and spread lies.


Relations between states will be untenable if agreements between governments are not adhered to. Has Moon considered the risk of losing international credibility?


The Japanese government maintains that its position of seeking the steady implementation of the agreement remains “unchanged,” which is a matter of course. It should also tell the president directly that his reckless remarks may damage the Japan-ROK relationship.

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