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Look back at how Germany addressed its wartime atrocities as Korea celebrates Liberation Day Updated: 2019-08-14 19:25:15 KST


Korea celebrates Liberation Day on Thursday, marking the 74th anniversary of August 15, 1945, when the peninsula was finally freed from Japanese colonial rule.
Named, Gwangbokjeol in Korean, which means "the day when the light was restored", the day stands as a reminder of the resilience of the Korean people during those years of harsh treatment under Japan's occupation from 1910 to 1945.

During the period, Koreans were forced to work in Japanese factories and were sent as soldiers to the frontline. They were forced to adopt Japanese names, and tens of thousands of young Korean women were drafted as so-called "Comfort Women" for Japanese soldiers.
To this day, the victims of Japan's forced labor are still suffering from their traumatic experience.
The remaining victims, most of them over 85 years old, still haven't received a sincere and direct apology from Japan.
However, Germany, the perpetrator of the Holocaust, has addressed its wartime atrocities differently.
The German government has shown remorse through both words and actions through time, earning the trust and respect of its neighbors.

"Germany has been educating its youth about its past wrongdoings and consistently apologizing to its victims every year. It has been continuously working to show how it reflects on its mistakes through actions."

Germany's efforts are receiving more attention this year as Seoul-Tokyo relations have deteriorated further with Japan's imposition of trade restrictions against South Korea in July.
Despite Tokyo's denial, South Korea sees this as an act of retaliation against Seoul's Supreme Court ruling last year that Japanese companies need to individually compensate victims of forced labor during World War 2.
Experts say the problem has become more complicated as it spread to the economic sector, adding that the row should be solved separately through a two-track policy.

"It's impossible to completely resolve the historic disputes. So at this point, I think it's important to separate the past problems from economic and security cooperation.
Both countries will have to work on mending their ties diplomatically."

The expert also expressed concerns that the latest trade row would mean the decades-long improvements in Korea and Japan's view of each other would be taken right back to square one.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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