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Professor fined for defaming 'comfort women'

Posted October. 28, 2017 07:51,   

Updated October. 28, 2017 08:11

한국어
Professor fined for defaming 'comfort women'

An appellate court has found guilty Sejong University professor Park Yu-ha (60), who was indicted for defaming old ladies that had suffered immense pain as comfort women during Japan’s colonial rule by publishing the book “Comfort Women of the Empire.” The book addresses forceful mobilization of comfort women for the Japanese military during World War II.

On Friday, the Seoul High Court overruled a lower court ruling that had found Park not guilty of defamation charges, and issued a ruling that handed Park 10 million won (8,850 US dollars) in fine.

According to the court, 24 of the 35 points in the book, in which the prosecution claimed Park defamed the victims of comfort women for the Japanese military, constitute expression‎ of her views, but the remaining 11 points are presentation of facts. The 11 points are actually false when considering a report by the Special Rapporteur of the U.N. human rights subcommittee and the 1993 “Kono Statement” by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, the court added on Friday.

The court has also admitted that the victims of comfort women for the Japanese soldiers are defamed due to publishing of Park’s book that contains false. “Since Park used decisive expressions, readers of the book can come to think that most comfort women voluntarily joined to become comfort women, and sold sex for economic gains,” the court said in its ruling.

“Prof. Park is believed to have distorted facts in the course of studying the comfort women issue and criticizing conventional methods, but had no intention to defame or inflict pain to the victims,” the court said. “Since freedom of study and expression‎ should be protected, Park’s ill-advised thoughts should be addressed through discussions and other means.”

“It is not desirable for judges to determine them through criminal punishment,” the court said, while explaining the reason for only imposing fine.

After the trial, Park expressed her intention to make a final appeal, saying, “The comfort women issue is still being studied, and many materials are emerging not only in Korea but also in Japan. I had no recognition that my views were inaccurate (when writing the book).”

In her book, Park claimed that comfort women staged the war jointly with the Japanese military and sold sex to Japanese soldiers. She was put to trial on charge of defaming victims of comfort women or sex slaves. The lower court had found her not guilty, saying, “The lines in question cannot be seen as description of specific facts.”



hoho@donga.com