The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 50. 2012   

December 10, 2012   
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Okano Yayo Translated by A. Tawara, N. Tajima and O. Schaefer, Toward Resolution of the Comfort Women Issue-The 1000th Wednesday Protest in Seoul and Japanese Intransigence 



In January 1991, some of Korea's former comfort women and their supporters started a protest march in the bustling lunch-hour street in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul. They had only one demand: acknowledgment of the crime in the form of an apology from the Japanese government to each and every one of the former comfort women. The apology - meant to make the Japanese public widely aware of the harm done to these women as a historical fact - includes a vow to never repeat the same mistake, and to acknowledge that the issue has not been settled legally.

Every week for the past 20 years, 1,000 times now since the first demonstration, they have continued the Wednesday protest. On December 14, 2011, the group marked its 1000th protest. Simultaneous protests were also held in several places in Japan, and were attacked relentlessly by vocal opponents.

Video of the event and unveiling of the monument to the comfort women with English subtitles and Korean original. 


Okano Yayo, a specialist in Western political philosophy and modern political theory, teaches in the Graduate School of Global Studies at Doshisha University. Her most recent book is Justice Rooted in an Ethics of Care: Reconceptualizing Equality (in Japanese).


Recommended Citation: Okano Yayo, "Toward Resolution of the Comfort Women Issue-The 1000th Wednesday Protest in Seoul," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10 Issue 50, No. 2, December 10, 2012.


Read More... 

Geoff Gunn, The Passing of Sihanouk: Monarchic Manipulation and the Search for Autonomy in the Kingdom of Cambodia  

The survival of the monarchy in Cambodia is little short of remarkable in the light of that country's modern history. As this article develops, French manipulation of the monarchy and attempts to buttress religion and culture alongside the rise of nationalist youth and Buddhist radicalism was an important precursor to postwar events. No less momentous for modern Cambodian history was the Vichy French installation of Norodom Sihanouk as king and the elevation under Japan of the putative republican Son Ngoc Thanh. Facing down an armed Issarak-Viet Minh challenge also joined by a dissident prince, it is no less significant that the young King Sihanouk successfully trumped French ambitions by mounting his own "royal crusade" for independence even ahead of the Geneva Settlement of 1954.


Undoubtedly the passing of Norodom Sihanouk on October 15, 2012 at the age of 89 after six decades of close involvement in Cambodian politics has served to refocus attention upon the status of the monarchy in that country, facts not diminished by the actual succession in October 2004 to his son Norodom Sihamoni (b. 1953). The author takes a long look at the Cambodian monarchy in the context of colonialism and war down to the present.  


Geoff Gunn is the author of Historical Dictionary of East Timor, Singapore and the Asian Revolutions, and First Globalization: The Eurasion Exchange, 1500-1800. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal Coordinator.


Recommended citation: Geoff Gunn, "The Passing of Sihanouk: Monarchic Manipulation and the Search for Autonomy in the Kingdom of Cambodia," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10 Issue 50, No. 1, December 10, 2012.