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Monday, 28 December 2015

'Comfort women': Japan and South Korea hail agreement

The leaders of Japan and South Korea have welcomed the agreement between their two countries to settle the issue of "comfort women" forced to work in Japanese brothels during World War Two.

Protesters sit next to a statue (C) of a South Korean teenage girl in traditional costume called the 'peace monument' for former 'comfort women' who served as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War Two, during a weekly anti-Japanese demonstration near the Japanese embassy in Seoul on 11 November 2015.
Activists for comfort women erected a statue of a girl which they call a "peace monument" outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011
Japan has apologised and will pay 1bn yen ($8.3m; £5.6m) - the amount South Korea asked for - to fund victims.Estimates suggest up to 200,000 women were sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during WW2, many of them Korean. Other women came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan.The issue has been the key cause of strained relations between Japan and South Korea.
Only 46 former "comfort women" are still alive in South Korea.
Lee Ok Seon: "I was forced to have sex with many men each day"
The agreement came after Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met his counterpart Yun Byung-se in Seoul, following moves to speed up talks.
Later Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe phoned South Korean President Park Geun-hye to repeat an apology already offered by Mr Kishida.
"Japan and South Korea are now entering a new era," Mr Abe told reporters afterwards. "We should not drag this problem into the next generation."
Ms Park issued a separate statement, saying a deal had been urgently needed - given the advanced age of most of the victims.
"Nine died this year alone," she said. "I hope the mental pains of the elderly comfort women will be eased."

Comfort Women, rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, August 2011

Japan-South Korea 'comfort women' deal

  • Japan will give 1bn yen to a fund for the elderly comfort women, which the South Korean government will administer
  • The money also comes with an apology by Japan's prime minister and the acceptance of "deep responsibility" for the issue
  • South Korea says it will consider the matter resolved "finally and irreversibly" if Japan fulfils its promises
  • South Korea will also look into removing a statue symbolising comfort women, which activists erected outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011
  • Both sides have agreed to refrain from criticising each other on this issue in the international community
From BBC 

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