They also called on Tokyo to establish an organization chaired by Prime Minister Naoto Kan to draw up and implement such measures and add the tragic chapter of history between Korea and Japan to the Japanese history education curriculum.
Kenji Utsunomiya, president of the largest lawyers’ group in Japan, said in a joint statement issued in Seoul with the Korean Bar Association that sex slavery during World War II should be acknowledged as a “grave infringement” upon the dignity of the affected Korean women.
“Japan should apologize to them for significantly tarnishing their dignity through forcible and organized prostitution for Japanese soldiers,” it said. “Japan should acknowledge its wrongdoings of the past and be held liable for them.”
This is the first statement of its kind issued by the most influential lawyers’ group in Japan.
They also pressed Japan to disclose all documents regarding a 1965 treaty that provides Japan with the legal ground to say that all compensation matters for the victims of colonial rule had been dealt with.
They said its consistent refusal to disclose the documents has deepened distrust between the neighboring countries.
“Japan should make a full disclosure of its documents so that the two countries can share a consensus on the process leading up to the agreement,” the joint statement said.
In August 2005 South Korea disclosed documents from its side related to the negotiations and signing of the agreement, but Japan has yet to make its records public.
Seoul says the pact does not cover compensation for some of the victims, including sexually enslaved women, people mobilized for forced labor and later abandoned on Sakhlin and those injured by the atomic bombing of Japan.