Japan and South Korea announced a deal today whereby Japan will pay $8.3 million to the government of Korea and apologize for its use of comfort women during World War II. The money will go to create a fund for victims, according to the AP, though I haven’t seen details of what that will look like.
I’ve only recently become acquainted with comfort women stories, but from what I’ve seen (first from my visit earlier this year to the Nanjing Memorial Massacre Hall), I’ve found comfort women stories very weirdly impersonal. They seem portrayed as crimes against the state or about honor, and never feel like they are really about the women. The euphemism “comfort women” is especially divorced from reality. It feels like this collective failure to protect women from outsiders leads to embarrassment and emasculation of men, rather than concern for actual women who were trafficked, enslaved, and raped repeatedly over a period of years.