Japan refuses to commit to anything beyond ‘comfort women’ deal with South Korea

January 9, 2018 3:14 am
A file photo taken on June 23, 2015 shows South Korean former “comfort women” Kim Bok-dong (L) and Gil Won-ok (R) — who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II — outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, . (By AFP)
has rejected a demand by South for extra measures to help the South Korean women who were used as war-time sex slaves by Japanese forces, saying a deal reached on the issue in 2015 is “final and irreversible.”
“We can by no means accept South Korea’s demands for additional measures,” Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Tuesday.
“At a time when we are confronting the threat from North Korea, the Japan-South Korean agreement is an indispensable base for Japan-South Korean cooperation in various fields and the creation of a future-oriented relationship,” he added.
His remarks came after South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha asked Tokyo to make further efforts to help the women “regain honor and dignity and heal wounds in their hearts.”
Kang said, however, that his country was not asking to renegotiate the 2015 agreement.
Under the deal, Tokyo formally expressed its apology for its colonial-era atrocities and accepted to contribute 1 billion yen (8.9 million dollars) to a charity dedicated to supporting the victims. But Japan did not admit legal responsibility for the abuses, drawing anger from some of the surviving victims who refused to take the money.
Kang has said South Korea would not use any more of Japan’s money for the survivors, calling on Tokyo to offer a “voluntary and sincere apology.”
This picture, taken on February 1, 2017, shows statues symbolizing “comfort women” in a park in Shanghai, China. (By AFP)
“Comfort women” is a term being used for the Korean and other Asian women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese imperial army in occupied territories before and during World War II.
It is estimated that up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were forcefully sent to frontlines as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. Other women came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has in the past criticized the deal with Japan, which was negotiated by his predecessor, impeached president Park Geun-hye.
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