Tokyo Says It Won't Move an Inch on Sex Slavery Deal

Lucy Bush
January 13, 2018

Since the inauguration of the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae In in May a year ago, the Japanese government has been urging South Korea to steadily implement the accord. He further said the agreement was "unquestionably a crucial foundation [for bilateral relations] in Japan and South Korea's cooperation in several areas, including responding to the North Korean threat".

Tokyo and Seoul announced the deal in December 2015 to resolve the issue "finally and irreversibly", but it became the target of criticism from the public as well as the surviving victims as being "unfair" to South Korea. "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.

Under the "final and irreversible" settlement over the sex slaves, Japan was to make an apology in addition to providing the money for the survivors' care.

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The issue of women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II is a hugely emotional one that has long marred ties between the South and its former colonial ruler.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wednesday at a regular press briefing Beijing's position on the issue of the victims has not changed, South Korean news service News 1 reported Wednesday.

"There is no room for any compromise on that agreement", he said.

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The latest woman to have died was just 13 when she was taken and forced to serve Japanese soldiers in a brothel in Manchuria. But others rejected it, and some have been protesting regularly in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. But when asked if the Japanese ambassador to South Korea would be temporarily called home, he replied on that he "would like to see appropriate actions for now from Tokyo and Seoul". "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 Moon Jae In administration understands that global agreements can not be rewritten without consent from the other country, so even though they are unhappy about the agreement, they can not renegotiate without Japan", he told The Straits Times.

"I seriously doubt that having a dialogue on Olympic participation alone will lead to any positive development on the issues of Japanese nationals abducted (by North Korea) or the nuclear and missile development".

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