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International Journal of Security Studies & Practice

Abstract

Unresolved issues from the Second World War still lurk beneath the surface of East Asia politics. On April 21, 2021, a South Korean Seoul Central District Court dismissed a civil suit filed by 20 comfort women survivors and their families, citing a potential diplomatic clash if he did otherwise. The legacy of WWII continues to evoke deep feelings and hostility even though the war ended over seven decades ago. This article will argue that the historiography of the Tokyo Trial and subsequent narratives are more complex and require deeper analysis to resolve the contemporary geopolitical climate in East Asia. The issue of comfort women depicts the complexity and nuances of the history problem by highlighting America’s role in the infelicitous issue that began with the Tokyo Trial and continued through the 1965 Normalization Treaty. Systemic sexism also played a significant role, and ignored the role of women during the conflict. The historiography underscores the complexity of the historical narrative that selectively includes or excludes vital events while glossing over contemporary historical disputes. This analysis provides insights into future policy formulation and America’s role in the region. The paper is divided into three sections. The first offers historical context, followed by an overview of the issues overlooked or avoided during the Tokyo Trials. The last section highlights past reparations payments while also exploring American policy implications.

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