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U.N. committee urges Japan to stop disparaging remarks on 'comfort women'

All News 17:05 March 08, 2016

GENEVA, March 8 (Yonhap) -- A United Nations committee has urged Japan to stop making belittling remarks on former "comfort women" and move to fully implement the bilateral agreement between Seoul and Tokyo that aims to resolve the long-festering issue.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) released a report on Monday, calling on Japanese leaders and public officials to "desist from making disparaging statements" regarding the former sex slaves.

In a statement, the committee urged the Japanese government to "recognize the right of victims to a remedy and accordingly provide full and effective reparation," including compensation and official apologies.

It also called on Japan to take "due account of views" of victims and survivors when implementing the bilateral agreement reached with South Korea last December to ensure their rights to truth, justice and reparations.

On Dec. 28, Seoul and Tokyo agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the issue on forced sexual slavery of South Korean women by the Japanese military during World War II.

Acknowledging moral responsibility for their suffering, Japan also said it will contribute cash to a new South Korean fund to support the former victims.

The U.N. committee said, however, the agreement did not fully adopt a victim-centered approach to address the issue of women who were procured for Japan's wartime military brothels.

The U.N. panel is tasked with monitoring nations' compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

In addition, the committee expressed regrets over Tokyo failing to implement several U.N. recommendations regarding the issue.

In one of the latest such cases, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama told the U.N. committee in Geneva last month that the Tokyo government had been unable to confirm that the comfort women had been coerced.

On this, the committee said that Japan "has not addressed its obligations under international human rights law toward the victims."

In its concluding observations, the committee also said it is regrettable that Japan has not implemented its previous recommendations that included compensation as well as prosecution of assailants.

The committee also criticized Japan for deleting "references to the issue of comfort women in textbooks" and urged it to "ensure that historical facts are objectively presented to students and the public at large."

Although the committee asked the Japanese government in advance to revive the references to comfort women, Japan said it does not adopt a government-designated textbook system.

The committee also said, "Some comfort women have died without obtaining an official unequivocal recognition of responsibility" by the Japanese government for the serious human rights violations that they suffered.

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