Comfort women agreement helps ease ties

The landmark agreement to settle the dispute over comfort women has transformed strained relations into amicable ones, and allowed both Japan and South Korea to move forward to fresh bilateral ties ("Japan moves from past to future"; Dec 30, 2015).

It would be dangerous if both sides were not talking to each other.

A better relationship between Japan and South Korea should help America's strategy to balance China's rise.

A stronger trilateral relationship between Japan, the United States and South Korea would also help in dealing with North Korea.

The benefits could also show in military matters - perhaps an agreement to share military intelligence that was scuppered in 2012 could be revived - and in trade diplomacy - perhaps Japan and the US could bring South Korea into the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Although some may see the comfort women agreement as inadequate, doing nothing will only mean that the problems are passed on to the next generation and that the issue may remain unresolved forever.

Francis Cheng