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* Date : 2017-01-14

Foreign Correspondents Ep.16
Controversy over 'comfort woman' statue

On January 6, the Japanese government announced it would recall its ambassador to Korea in protest of a statue symbolizing Korean sex slave victims installed in front of its consulate in Busan. Tokyo argues the installation is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and that Seoul has failed to uphold its end of the landmark agreement on sexual slavery concluded back in December 2015. Some Japanese media have called the monument illegal and offensive.

Wartime sexual slavery agreement and Japan's view of history

After being first erected in December 2011 in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, the 'comfort woman' statue has been installed in a number of other countries. It was to commemorate victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery and establish a proper understanding of history. However, Tokyo has demanded the statues in Korea be removed as part of the joint deal on sexual slavery reached over a year ago. As tensions escalate between the two countries, the issue has again raised questions about Japan’s view on its wartime history and how its approach towards its past differs from that of Germany. We sit down to discuss the various issues of debate sparked by the symbolic statue.

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