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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Jan. 31)

Editorials from Korean Dailies 07:02 January 31, 2019

Mourning sex slavery victim
: Japan should make sincere apology before it's too late

An iconic wartime sex slave of the Japanese military, known as a "comfort woman," died Monday at the age of 93 after contributing her latter years to taking the lead in a tearful crusade to help the world's people better know about Japan's atrocities against Korean women before and during World War II.

The death of Kim Bok-dong made the people sad and gave them mixed emotions, not least because she was gone without ever receiving a sincere apology from Tokyo. She is a symbolic figure in the women's human rights movement who made the comfort woman tragedy a global issue along with the late Kim Hak-sun, who disclosed Japan's brutal behavior to the world.

It is not at all surprising that President Moon Jae-in was one of so many citizens who visited the funeral hall and bowed before her picture to pay their final respects. The presidential condolence is definitely regarded as a call for Japan's genuine apology for the country's brutal acts.

On the same day Kim passed away, another victim of Japan's sex slavery met her fate, thus bringing the number of known survivors down to just 23. The survivors are also very old, most are more than 90. Time is running out for them to receive Japan's apology from the bottom of heart.

What Japan did to women during WWII was a crime against humanity. But the Japanese government, especially the incumbent Shinzo Abe regime, has been stubbornly and cowardly refusing to admit its wrongdoings by disregarding the truth.

South Korea and Japan, as close neighbors, have to establish a future-oriented relationship beyond their shared shameful history. Needless to say, Tokyo holds the key. In order for the two countries to get along as friends, it needs to first of all have a correct understanding of history and make a sincere apology.

Japan should listen to the last words of the late Kim: "Please fight this out until the comfort women issue is resolved. Continue the support on my behalf for young ethnic Koreans in Japan." Japan should put itself in the shoes of the sex slavery victims, if only once, on the occasion of Kim's death.

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