ILO Expresses Concern Over Japan's Lack of Action on 'Comfort Women' and Forced Labor Issues | Be Korea-savvy

ILO Expresses Concern Over Japan’s Lack of Action on ‘Comfort Women’ and Forced Labor Issues

Victims and survivors of forced labor at Japanese company Fujikoshi (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

Victims and survivors of forced labor at Japanese company Fujikoshi (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

SEOUL, Mar. 1 (Korea Bizwire) –The International Labor Organization (ILO) has voiced its concern over the absence of concrete actions by the Japanese government to resolve the issues surrounding ‘comfort women’ and forced labor during the Japanese military’s occupation.

This statement was highlighted during a joint memorial service held by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) in front of the Forced Laborers Statue in Yongsan, Seoul, commemorating the 105th March 1st Movement.

According to the unions, the ILO’s Committee of Experts, in its report published on February 9, pointed out that since 2018, Japan has not taken any specific measures to address the grievances of the victims of wartime sexual slavery and forced labor.

The committee urged the Japanese government to act “without further delay” considering the dwindling number of survivors, many of whom are elderly and have been waiting for a resolution to their long-standing demands.

The report by the ILO’s Committee of Experts, which regularly reviews compliance with international labor standards by its member states, emphasized the gravity and prolonged nature of the cases.

It called on the Japanese government to exert “all efforts” towards reconciliation with the surviving victims, particularly those who have rejected the 2015 agreement on ‘comfort women’.

ILO Convention No. 29, one of the eight fundamental conventions, focuses on the prohibition of forced labor.

The KCTU and FKTU had submitted a statement to the committee in September 2019, criticizing the Japanese government for denouncing a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that ordered Japanese companies to compensate Korean forced labor victims and the companies’ subsequent refusal to comply with the judgment.

The unions had previously brought the ‘comfort women’ issue to the ILO’s attention in 1995. They welcomed the adoption of the ILO Committee of Experts’ report and called for a sincere effort by the Japanese government to address historical grievances.

Furthermore, they condemned what they described as the “humiliating and subservient diplomacy” of the current South Korean administration under President Yoon Suk-yeol.

Ashley Song (

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