Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

S.Korea accepts flawed 'comfort women' deal

S.Korea accepts flawed 'comfort women' deal

The issue can only be resolved if "Japan accepts the truth, makes a heartfelt apology to the victims, learn the lessons from it and prevent its recurrence", he said.

A day earlier, Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Japan can not accept South Korea's new policy position on a deal struck in 2015 between the two countries over the "comfort women" issue.

He added that it had excluded the opinions of the victims.

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"Japan should accept the truth, apologize with a honest heart and take (the comfort women issue) as a lesson and work with the global community in such a way that (such things) could not occur again", he said during a televised press conference.

The deal, approved by ousted conservative President Park Geun-hye, called on Tokyo to pay $8 million into a fund to support the victims, along with an apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the actions of its troops during Japan's brutal rule of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945. "I think the victims will forgive and this issue can be completely resolved when Japan accepts the truth, make a heartfelt apology to the victims, learn lessons and cooperate with the global community in preventing recurrence of such a thing".

The decision was reached after a Foreign Ministry task force spent months reviewing the negotiating process and contents of the 2015 deal, gathering survivors' viewpoints and taking into consideration Korea-Japan relations, Kang added. "It is also important to deal with Korea's relationship with Japan carefully". "The agreement between Japan and South Korea is a pledge between countries, and it is unacceptable [for South Korea] not to implement it simply because its government has changed", Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on January 9. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said that Japan had failed to meet victims' needs.

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South Korea said it will announce on Tuesday whether it will respect an agreement between the country's previous government and Japan that was aimed at resolving a feud over "comfort women" forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels.

"We can't accept Korea's request for us to do more, even though the two countries confirmed that the deal was final", Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said.

But it said it would no longer use Japanese money to compensate the survivors. At the same time, the South Korean government announced on Tuesday that it was not seeking to renegotiate the agreement. It, instead, vowed to set aside its own funds to help the victims heal their wounds and recover their dignity, not using Japan's contribution.

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South Korea has said that it will take a "two-track" approach in which it will approach the historical issue separately from diplomatic and economic relations.

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