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Feb 15, 2021 | In The News, Small Business

A Korean American politician in the U.S. has publicly rejected claims regarding the wartime sex slavery which were made by J. Mark Ramseyer, Mitsubishi professor of Japanese legal studies at Harvard Law School, in his paper “Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War.”

Young Kim, U.S. representative for California’s 39th congressional district, criticized the paper in a recent tweet and urged him to apologize. “Professor Ramseyer’s claims are untrue, misleading & disgusting. I worked on comfort women issues for years & his claims are offensive to victims. We must support victims of human trafficking & slavery, not tear them down. I urge him to apologize,” Kim’s tweet read. “Comfort women” is a euphemism for sex slaves of imperial Japan.

Kim served as an aide to veteran Republican politician Ed Royce, who served as the chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee and supported the 2007 passage of U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 121 (H.Res.121), calling on Tokyo to acknowledge and apologize for wartime sex slavery from around 1932 to 1945.

After being elected to the California State Assembly in 2014, Kim has also supported a movement by Korean American groups to raise awareness of the sex slavery issue in public schools in California.

“I will look into what I can do to set history straight and inform the people,” Kim was quoted as saying to Yonhap News Agency.

The paper has triggered backlash in academia within and outside Korea. A petition on change.org calls on the International Review of Law and Economics to withdraw the publication of the thesis and attention on this issue from the dean of Harvard Law School and the president of Harvard University.

Korean civic group Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), which has carried out activities in support of the survivors of wartime sex slavery, sent a letter of protest to the editors at the International Review of Law and Economics and to Harvard.

Amid rising protests against the paper, the International Review of Law and Economics has issued an “expression of concern” regarding the paper titled “Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War.”

“The International Review of Law and Economics is issuing an Expression of Concern to inform readers that concerns have been raised regarding the historical evidence in the article list[sic] above. These claims are currently being investigated and the International Review of Law and Economics will provide additional information as it becomes available,” an announcement on its website read.

The controversy over the thesis comes amid rising bilateral tension between Korea and Japan over historical issues following a court ruling in January ordering the Japanese government to compensate the surviving South Korean victims of wartime sexual slavery.

The ruling has angered Tokyo, which says the issue was completely resolved under its 1965 treaty with South Korea.

The Korea Times

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