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Japan claims statue in front of Seoul embassy violates int'l convention

All Headlines 11:40 June 09, 2012

TOKYO, June 9 (Yonhap) -- The Japanese government has officially claimed that the "peace statue" in front of its embassy in Seoul violates international convention on diplomatic relations, a report submitted to the Diet showed Saturday.

According to the daily Sankei Shimbun, the report compiled in response to questions raised by lawmakers said the bronze statue set up to mark the suffering of Korean women who were used as sex slaves by Japanese troops during World War II conflicted with article 22 section two of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The article states that the premises of a diplomatic mission are inviolable and that the host country is under a special duty to take appropriate steps to protect the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbances of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

The statue is located across the street from the embassy compound in downtown Seoul and was erected in December 2011 to mark the 1,000th protest rally since demonstrators began gathering weekly at the embassy in 1992.

Tokyo has repeatedly asked Seoul through diplomatic channels to remove the statue but Seoul has countered by saying Japan needs to address the issue and make amends for victims.

Japan, which colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945, has acknowledged that its wartime military used sex slaves in front-line brothels. It, however, has refused to compensate victims individually, arguing that the 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan settled the issue.

The wartime sex slave issue is one of several contentious issues that have been a "stumbling block" in bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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