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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Han

Former Comfort Woman Lee Yong-soo's harsh critics towards activist Yoon Mee-hyang

Documents were released revealing that the day before the signing off the “Billion-yen Comfort Women Agreement,” ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) had explained its contents to Independent Lawmaker Yoon Mee-hyang, the then head of the Korean Council. Following this Lee Yong-soo, a former comfort woman, stated, “She didn’t tell us about the Agreement because she knew former comfort women would oppose it.”

On May 26, 2022, Ms. Lee said, “Lawmaker Yoon should have let the former comfort women know the details of the Agreement before it’s reached as they are parties to it,” continuing, “She didn’t do this, so that she had to keep lying.” And she went on, “She is now letting out her sins. She must tell the truth and get punished if she committed them,” and added, “I don’t want to know and even take them up now,” showing her displeasure.

Ms. Lee also said in April 2022, regarding Lawmaker Yoon’s trial, “I don’t demand her apology and neither do I care.”

Lawyers for Human Rights and Unification of Korea (LHUK) held a press conference at its Seoul office on May 26, 2022, and made public the records of the 2015 meeting between Lawmaker Yoon and the MOFA. The documents released on that day showed that the former Director-General, Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, Lee Sang-duk, who was the then practitioner of the Comfort Women Agreement, had met with Lawmaker Yoon under the Korean Council’s request on March 9, 2015, a little more than nine months before signing of the Agreement, and had exchanged opinions regarding the trend of agreement on the comfort women issue, compensation for the deceased among the former comfort women, and compilation of the victims’ opinions.

It turned out that in 2015, such a meeting had also taken place each on March 25, October 27, and the night of December 27 which was the day before the conclusion of the Agreement.

The LHUK blamed Lawmaker Yoon Mee-hyang by saying, “She criticized the Park Geun-hye administration for signing the agreement with Japan without asking views of the former comfort women and their support group in advance. We don’t understand why she told such a false story.”

Ms. Lee had a press conference in May 2020 and said, “Lawmaker Yoon obtained the terms of the Comfort Women Agreement, including billion-yen contribution, from the MOFA, but didn’t inform the former comfort women who were the victims involved. She has maximally utilized them these 30 years.”

Ms. Lee continued that on June 29, 1992, she had first met at a church with Lawmaker Yoon, the then head of the Korean Council, who had been exploiting and discriminating against the former comfort women thereafter by mobilizing them for fund-raising of the Korean Council. She added, “Yoon Mee-hyang collected donations of 6 million won to invite the former comfort women to the U.S, but finally retracted this invitation because they were not members of the Korean Council. These acts she committed to selling them must be punished.”

Lawmaker Yoon misappropriated donations totaling 100,370,000 won on 217 occasions when she was the head of the Korean Council. As a result, she stood trial on September 14, 2020, on eight charges, such as violation of the law and fraud concerning the management of subsidies, breach of the local finance act, violation of the law governing the solicitation and use of donated money and goods, professional embezzlement, and breach of trust. At the time, Ms. Lee expressed her stance that “the laws would judge.”


The Korea Times (dated May 26, 2022)

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