Professor’s ‘Consolation-Women folk’ Lecture Gets Him Indicted—And Sparks Debate on Tutorial Freedom

SEOUL—Deep correct into a three-hour sociology class, a South Korean professor offered a controversial peep of females in Japan’s World Battle II-era armed forces brothels. They weren’t taken forcefully by the Japanese armed forces. The work was once “a form of prostitution,” the professor acknowledged, in line with a 2019 transcript of his remarks.

These phrases price professor Lew Seok-choon his job, got him indicted and have now made him an avatar within the global debate about academic freedom on college campuses.

A recording of the comments, made two years within the past within the main class of the autumn semester at Seoul’s Yonsei College, grew to alter into public after a pupil leaked the audio to local press on the day of the lecture. The college blocked Mr. Lew, now 66 years outdated, from teaching the direction all over his final yr earlier than retirement. Prosecutors last yr charged him with three counts of defamation. The case stays ongoing.

Amongst the list of grievances between Tokyo and Seoul, none carries as mighty emotional price in South Korea as “comfort females” who had been forced into sex slavery by Japan. To many Koreans, the matter stays unresolved and serves as a painful reminder of Japan’s 35-yr colonial rule. It endures as a central level of rigidity between the two countries, unfolding in diplomacy, at protests and in forced-labor complaints.

The Japanese govt has acknowledged its armed forces was once thinking the “comfort females” machine and issued formal apologies. Tokyo’s difference on the matter now with Seoul largely revolves around whether or now no longer the government bears any correct liability—which it denies, citing prior accords with Seoul. The United International locations, as a long way abet as 1996, has printed reports describing the comfort-females machine as sexual slavery.

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