ROK to cover aid package for ex-comfort women

ROK to cover aid package for ex-comfort women

Kerry Wise
January 10, 2018

The agreement is a promise between two countries, he said.

South Korea said Tuesday it will not try to renegotiate a 2015 deal with Japan on "comfort women", who forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, saying it is an official agreement between the two countries. The term was first suggested by the South Korean government with the intent of expressing the will to "never withdraw from apology".

"We can not accept at all South Korea's demand of further action from Japan despite the fact that, with this 2015 agreement, we affirmed the final and irreversible resolution of the comfort women issue", Kono added.

In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono repeated his government's call for Seoul to uphold the pact, which he called "final and irreversible".

The South Korean government will shoulder the cost of the ¥1 billion contributed by the Japanese government to provide financial support to so-called former comfort women in South Korea, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha said Tuesday.

In particular, with the PyeongChang Olympic Games just around the corner, the party stated that the announcement comes at the "worst strategic time ever" and does not meet even the government's own intent to invite the Abe administration to the Olympics.

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South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that they will be holding bureau-level talks with Japan on January 8 to exchange opinions on the matter.

"Third, the 2015 agreement on the issue of the Japanese military wartime sex slavery victims can not be a genuine solution as it did not reflect the opinions of the elderly women".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in won an election a year ago after promises on the campaign trail to renegotiate the deal.

"(Seoul) is expected to urge Tokyo to take responsible steps vis-a-vis wrong (parts of the) deal in line with the seriousness of the comfort women issue and the spirit of the principles of universality for mankind", the source added. To Japan's chagrin, a similar statue went up in front of the consulate in Busan soon after.

Sources familiar with the issue said the remaining survivors refused to accept the money from the foundation, demanding direct compensation from the Japanese government instead, or for other reasons. Reportedly, the United States has indicated its "fatigue over history" when it came to the long-term question of cold relations between South Korea and Japan stemming from historical issues.