Parties show mixed reactions to gov't measures on sex slavery deal

South Korean President Moon Jae-in answers reporters question

South Korea does not intend to seek a review of the 2015 agreement with Japan on the issue of the so-called comfort women, who were forced to work in brothels for the Japanese army during World War II, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stated on Tuesday.

South Korea and Japan announced the deal on December 28, 2015, under which they agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women issue, while Tokyo apologized for its colonial-era atrocities and agreed to contribute 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million) to a foundation dedicated to supporting the victims.

The South Korean and American sides will share their assessments on the latest situations involving North Korea and have in-depth discussions on ways to make strides in inter-Korean relations and in the goal of achieving a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue, the spokesman said.

"We can by no means accept South Korea's demands for additional measures", Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters in Tokyo.

But she added that she hoped Japan would make further efforts to help the women "regain honour and dignity and heal wounds in their hearts".

Kono again called on the South Korean government to steadily implement the agreement.

South Korea's Kang did not elaborate on what additional steps South Korea was seeking but a senior foreign ministry official told Reuters it wanted a "voluntary, honest apology rather than money".


Numerous women forced into the sex trade by the Japanese aggressors came from the Korean Peninsular, although thousands of women were also trafficked from many other parts of Asia, including China. "We don't plan to even discuss" how the funds will be handled, the official said.

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.

Those opposed to the 2015 deal want Japan to take legal responsibility and provide due compensation. "In consideration of such, our government will not call for a renegotiation of the agreement".

But he has also vowed to "normalise" ties with Japan.

He told reporters Friday that Japan will "take all steps necessary", including cooperating with China and Russian Federation, to step up pressure on North Korea so it will give up its nuclear weapons and missile development policies.

Japan colonised the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945 and occupied parts of China before and after the war.

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