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S. Korea to hike support for 'comfort women' by 21 pct in 2016

All News 12:00 December 22, 2015

SEJONG, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) -- Government support for Korean women who were forced to become sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II will increase 21 percent in 2016 from this year, the finance ministry said Tuesday.

The increase will allow each of the 46 surviving victims to receive 1.26 million won (US$1,070) in living subsidies per month, up from a little over 1.04 million won this year.

"The decision to sharply increase support comes as the average age of the victims, who were euphemistically called 'comfort women' by Japanese authorities, has reached 89.2 years, and most are economically constrained," the ministry said.

Since the government started giving subsidies in 1993, the amount of support has gone up by around 3 percent each year.

In addition to this support, the government will give each survivor some 1.05 million won per month to hire a caregiver or nurse to look after them. This is up 39.4 percent compared to 757,000 won per month in 2015.

The ministry said this should be enough to employ a caregiver throughout the year.

Besides increasing monetary support, the government said it will provide one-on-one support to the remaining victims to better meet their individual needs.

The government said a total of 238 women have reported being forced to serve as sex slaves. In 2014 there were 55 survivors, but this number fell after several passed away throughout the year.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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