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Settlement Without Consensus: International Pressure, Domestic Backlash, and the Comfort Women Issue in Japan

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What has shaped contemporary discourse on Japan's comfort women issue? During the last twenty-five years, civic groups in both Japan and South Korea have made significant efforts to publicize the issue within the international community, hoping to narrow the disparity between the position of the international community and that of the Japanese government. Thus far, however, Japan's official position has shown little change. Why has international pressure on Japan failed? By focusing on the relationship between international pressure and the formation of Japan's discourse on the comfort women issue, this paper shows how outside pressure led to a domestic backlash among conservatives in Japan, resulting in the failure to institutionalize apologetic discourse within Japanese society. This study will provide important insights on how democratic countries can sometimes resist strong external pressure to conform to international norms.

Keywords: ABE SHINZO; ASIAN WOMEN'S FUND; COMFORT WOMEN; COOMARASWAMY REPORT; DOMESTIC BACKLASH; DOMESTIC DISCOURSE; INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE; JAPAN-SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS; JAPANESE POLITICS; KONO STATEMENT; THE LDP

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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UA-1313315-28