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Japan and S. Korea: Full Compensation for Colonization Sought at Public Meeting
Source: japantoday.com
Source Date: Monday, August 23, 2010
Focus: Information Access, E-Participation
Country: Japan
Created: Aug 30, 2010

Around 900 citizens from Japan and South Korea gathered Sunday to call on the Japanese government to compensate completely for damages that Tokyo inflicted on Korean people during its 35-year colonial rule up until the end of World War II. The meeting, co-hosted by citizens groups of the two countries, was held at a public hall in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward prior to the Aug 29 centenary of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula.

The participants referred to the state compensation for former "comfort women" who were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers, Koreans who were left behind in Sakhalin after the war, Korean atomic-bomb survivors and Korean victims of air raids on Tokyo, as they have been alienated from full redress.

"It is time for the Japanese government to provide an apology and compensation to the Korean victims in order to come to terms with its colonization and to promote measures so that Japan will not repeat the same mistakes in the future," the attendants said in their statement adopted at the end of the gathering.

They also sought the termination of discriminatory policies against Koreans living in Japan, such as exclusion of ethnic Korean schools from the newly introduced tuition waiver at public high schools.

Ko Yong Chae, a student at the Korean school in Tokyo, told the meeting, "We, Korean school students, lead lives as Japanese students do, laughing with friends during recess and working out at club activities."

"We just want to have learning opportunities and rights as Japanese students do," said Ko, a third grader at the senior high school, calling for the tuition waiver program to be applied to ethnic Korean school students.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan issued a statement earlier this month, in which he apologized to South Korea for Japan’s colonial rule and expressed his determination to deepen ties for the sake of peace and prosperity in East Asia, but Naruhiko Ito, who leads the organizers of the meeting, said, "Mr. Kan did not touch on North Korea. It suggests he seeks a decoupling (of the Korean Peninsula)."

"How can he compensate for the misdeeds of the past 100 years and create a peaceful and amicable course for the future?" he said.
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