--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 21
EDITORIAL: Indictment of historian a crisis of freedom in S. Korea
(社説)歴史観の訴追 韓国の自由の危機だ

Prosecutors in South Korea have indicted a university professor on defamation charges, claiming she falsely described former “comfort women” who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers.
Park Yu-ha, who is attached to Sejong University, was charged without arrest on Nov. 18 in connection to her book, “Comfort Women of the Empire,” which prosecutors assert defamed these women.
韓国の検察が、同国で出版された「帝国の慰安婦」の著者、朴裕河(パクユハ)・世宗大教授を在宅起訴した。旧日本軍将兵らの性の相手をさせられた女性たちに対する名誉毀損(きそん)の罪に問うている。

Prosecutors acted on complaints made by former comfort women.
起訴内容は、元慰安婦らの告訴をそのまま認めた。

“Korean comfort women and the Japanese military were basically in a comradely relationship,” Park wrote in her book.
著書には「朝鮮人慰安婦と日本軍は基本的に同志的関係にあった」といった表現などがあるが、

Prosecutors claim this, and some other descriptions in her book, are factually wrong.
検察はこれらを「虚偽の事実」にあたると断じている。

While acknowledging that speech, press and academic freedoms are basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution, prosecutors contend that Park violated the personal rights of former comfort women and overstepped the boundaries of academic freedom.
また、言論や出版、学問の自由は憲法が保障する基本的権利だとしながらも、元慰安婦らの「人格権などを侵害し、学問の自由を逸脱した」と起訴理由をあげている。

There are a wide variety of views and opinions concerning the comfort women issue among former comfort women and their supporters, but it is not the mandate of public prosecutors to judge whether descriptions of historical facts are correct or not.
慰安婦問題をめぐり、当事者や支援者にさまざまな意見があるのはわかる。だが、史実の正否は検察当局が判断を下すべきものではない。

It is even more dangerous for authority to punish free academic activities concerning interpretations and descriptions of history.
ましてや歴史の解釈や表現をめぐる学問の自由な営みを公権力が罰するのは、きわめて危険なことである。

In her book, Park mainly discussed the structural problems of imperialism that were behind the suppression of women.
朴さんが著書で論じている趣旨は、帝国主義が抱える女性抑圧の構造的な問題である。

She harshly blames the imperial Japan for driving these women into a situation in which they had no choice but to have a comradely relationship with soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.
さらに、同志的関係にならざるをえないような状況に追い込んだ当時の日本の責任を厳しく追及してもいる。

In South Korea, there have been criminal investigations and court rulings that seem to be influenced more by national sentiment than by legal theories in cases concerning issues related to Japan’s past.
韓国ではこれまでも日本の過去の問題が関係する事案では、法律論よりも国民感情に流されるかのような捜査や判決があった。

The latest move by the country’s prosecutors appears to be one example of this.
今回の判断の背景に、そんな要素は働かなかったか。

After former comfort women sought a temporary injunction against the publication of Park’s book, the Seoul Eastern District Court handed down a ruling in February that banned the publication of the book unless some passages were deleted.
この本をめぐっては元慰安婦らの仮処分申請を受け、裁判所も、一部を削除しなければ出版を認めない決定をしている。

Many facts about the comfort women issue remain unclear, such as the actual number of them.
確かに慰安婦問題については実際の総数など、まだ不明な部分も多い。

However, since former comfort women in South Korea began to come forward to tell their stories in the early 1990s, a lot of historical research on the subject has been conducted, mainly in Japan and South Korea. As a result, the real picture of comfort women has been gradually emerging.
一方で、被害者の韓国人女性たちが90年代初めに名乗り出始めて以降、日韓を中心に研究が進み、徐々に慰安婦問題の実態がわかってきた。

These studies on comfort women have disclosed that there was actually a great diversity of cases.
同時に明らかになったのは、慰安婦といっても、実に多様なケースがあったということだ。

Park’s book focused on this diversity and her descriptions about some cases do not necessarily fit the common image of comfort women among South Koreans as “innocent girls.”
朴さんの著書はまさにその多様な側面に焦点をあてたが、韓国で広く語られる「純真で無垢(むく)な少女」という被害者像と必ずしも一致するわけではない。

If researchers face the constant threat of criminal prosecution over the publication of their research findings, however, the pursuit of learning is impossible.
だからといって、研究者が成果を発表するたびに刑事事件で起訴されていたのでは学問は成り立たない。

Progress in academic research and the natural selection of academic theories take place through mutual reviews and criticism of various theories, discoveries and interpretations.
学説や発見、解釈は互いに検証し、批判や反論をし合うことで、研究が進展したり、淘汰(とうた)されたりするものだ。

Suppressing dissenting views and opinions is a serious challenge to freedom.
異論の封殺は、自由に対する挑戦である。

The indictment of Park represents a problem that far transcends her personal concerns.
今回の問題は朴さん個人にとどまらない。

South Korean media have not given extensive coverage of the action taken by the prosecutors. We strongly hope to see a wide spectrum of the South Korean public stand up for the protection of freedom.
韓国メディアは起訴を大きく報じていないが、自由を守る声が広がることを願ってやまない。

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