My country is killing us twice – Grandma wails (NoCut News)

20151229 Yongsoo Lee copy

Rage at the visits by Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs, “Are you begging money from Japan… We don’t need money”








NY Times Video with English subtitles


2015-12-29 17:23 CBS NoCut News Reported by Cheol-won Yoon and Kwang-il Kim

Rage at the visits by Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs, “Are you begging money from Japan… We don’t need money”

“Go back to renegotiate. Abe went to play golf and his wife visited to pay respect at Yasukuni Shrine. Are you begging them? We can live without their money.”

On 29th, House of Sharing was a House of Censure. It wasn’t Japanese government that was censured. It was Korean government.

In the afternoon, Tae-yul Cho, 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs visited the House of Sharing to explain the content of agreement struck with Japanese government with regards to the Japanese Military Comfort Women issue.

Present at the meeting were 6 survivors including Bok-soo Chung (100), Gun-ja Kim (90), Ok-soon Kang (92), Ok-seon Lee (89), Hee-nam Yoo (88), Il-chul Kang (88).

20151229 House of Sharing

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Tae-yul Cho explains the negotiation process to the victims during his visit to the House of Sharing in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, in the afternoon on 29th.

(Photo= Reporter Jong-min Park)

The first halmoni that spoke was Hee-nam Yoo, who had said on the previous day, “I will respect and follow the government agreement.” However, her position has changed completely.

Ms. Yoo demanded Japanese government’s official apology and legal reparation saying, “Every year, Japan sends messengers to us several times a year and offer that they will build a new house and give us money for living expenses; what we want is to recover our honor and legal reparation, not a mere sum of money.”

She also shot out sharp criticism on the Korean government, “What our own government is saying is exactly the same as theirs; I’d rather die here than following it” and “Japan looks down on Korea because Korea gives in to their demands. If you were to peter out the agreement like you did after all, why don’t you just leave us alone to die off, instead of supporting us to make a living?”

Other victims also raised their voices of resentment against Korean government for settling the negotiation without discussing it with them in advance.

Gun-ja Kim said, “We are the victims. How dare the government settles it? We don’t recognize it.” She continued, “Right now, we are being taken care of well with medical and other welfare services. What we need is the official apology and official reparation from Japan.”

Ms. Kim also said, “I am crippled now – my ear went pussy and I can’t hear well, but still alive. How could you settle it with none of us present?” trailing off at the end with surging emotion.

Ok-seon Lee took the mic saying, “Which country do we belong to and whose daughters are we? We aren’t the daughters of any other country (but Korea).” She reproached the government saying, “What kind of government is our government? Our government sold us off. Go negotiate again!”

After listening to the reproaching from the Comfort Women survivors for about an hour, 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Cho left saying, “The government has engaged in the negotiations on behalf of the Grandmas – you – thinking that your pain is all Korean people’s pain and your honor is our people’s honor. You may not be satisfied 100%, but please go over the content in its entirety and reevaluate the meaning.”

20151229 이용수 할머니 On 29th, the 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Sung-nam Lim met with the ‘Comfort Women’ victims at the shelter run by The Korean Council for the women drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, located in Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, to explain the results from the Korea-Japan talks. Grandma Yongsoo Lee is protesting, “Why did you negotiate without consulting with the victims?” Sitting next to her is Grandma Won-oak Gil. (Photo = Reporter Chang-won Yoon)

On the same day, the 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Sung-nam Lim visited the shelter for the Comfort Women survivors, run by The Korean Council, to explain the results from the negotiation. The reactions of the Grandmas were icy.

Present at the shelter when Mr. Lim visited were Grandmas Bok-dong Kim (89), Yong-soo Lee (88), Won-oak Gil (87), the related personnel at the shelter and dozens of reporters.

As soon as the Vice Foreign Minister entered the shelter, Grandma Yong-soo Lee roared at him, “Are you from Japanese Foreign Ministry?” and “Why are you killing us twice?”

Mr. Lim replied to this by saying, “There must be some shortcomings from your viewpoint” and continued “we sat at the table thinking that you are in the same position as my mother, since my mother is at the same age as you.”

He asked for an understanding explaining, “Time was limited since it was during a long weekend, and because the discussion progressed so fast, we couldn’t tell you about it.”

However, Grandmas faces stayed hardened. Grandma Yong-soo Lee said “What do you mean, long weekend? Are we supposed to choose between working days and holidays for this type of issue?” and yelled at him, “Don’t you know we have been shouting (Japanese government should provide) official apology and legal reparations for more than 20 years!”

Grandma Bok-dong Kim said, “you should’ve listened to us, the party directly involved, before you went to negotiate,” asking, “Do you think it’s okay to say that the issue has been settled now by hammering it out between the governments, without giving us a word about it?”

Near the end of the 15 minutes of conversation, when Mr. Lim’s explanation was about to spark even stronger opposition from the Grandmas, the meeting switched to a closed meeting. About 40 minutes later, the Vice Foreign Minister left the premise without saying a word.

When the Grandmas met again with the reporters at the shelter, they were about to cry, unable to hide the disappointment.

Grandma Kim said, “After the reporters left the room, he said that it’s still at the beginning stage and insinuated that there are many other steps to come,” pleading, “I don’t know what he means by beginning state, but we never can agree to the way it is now.”

Grandma Won-oak Gil clammed up until the end with her head down. She only responded, “it’s difficult” occasionally, when Grandma Lee massaged her shoulder.

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