Japan’s Position with regard to the consideration of the ROK at the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
(Statement by Press Secretary Norio Maruyama)

February 23, 2018

  1. 1. At the 69th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held in Geneva on February 22 (local time), the consideration of the Republic of Korea (ROK) was conducted.

    2. The Government of Japan has been making sincere efforts on the comfort women issue, and in particular, the Japan-ROK agreement in 2015 confirmed that the comfort women issue is resolved “finally and irreversibly,” and that Japan and the ROK will mutually refrain from accusing or criticizing each other regarding this issue in the international community, including at the United Nations (UN).

    3. The Japan-ROK agreement is an agreement between two countries, and it is an international and universal principle that it must be implemented responsibly even if the government changes within one of the countries. The two countries also have a responsibility to the international community to steadily implement the agreement. Furthermore, the agreement has been appreciated by many former comfort women in the ROK: more than 70% of the 47 former comfort women who were alive at the time of the agreement have actually received support provided by the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, which was established by the Government of the ROK and to which Japan contributed 1 billion yen based on the agreement.

    4. In light of this, Japan is of the view that the expression “sex slaves” contradicts the facts and should not be used. Although Japan confirmed this point with the ROK at the Japan-ROK agreement, the ROK delegation used the expression “sex slaves.” It is totally unacceptable and Japan finds it extremely regrettable. Japan has been thoroughly and faithfully implementing all of its commitments under the agreement. The Government of Japan continues to strongly urge the ROK to steadily implement the agreement as a “final and irreversible” agreement.

    [Reference] Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women / Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

    (1) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women makes its founding principle to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, with the goal of contributing to the realization of complete equality for men and women. The Convention defines “discrimination against women,” and requires signatories (States parties to the Convention) to take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination in political and public activities, and in economic and social activities.

    (2) All States parties to the Convention have a duty to regularly report on their progress with implementing the Convention (within one year of signing the Convention, and thereafter every four years). The Committee conducts reviews of each State party on the basis of each State’s national reports and other material, before presenting its results as a final opinion. The recommendations in the Committee’s final opinions have no legal binding force.