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'Comfort women' victims protest Korea-Japan deal

All News 06:07 March 09, 2016

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, March 8 (Yonhap) -- Elderly South Korean victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery held protests in New York and Washington on Tuesday to oppose the landmark agreement between the governments of Seoul and Tokyo on resolving the issue.

Lee Yong-soo, one of the surviving victims of the atrocity, said in a news conference in New York to mark International Women's Day that she cannot accept the deal and demanded that Japan offer a clearer apology for her suffering.

In Washington, another victim, Kil Won-ok, also held a press conference to protest the agreement, saying the two countries reached the deal without taking victims' opinions into consideration.

"Although there are not many alive, they should have visited us and sought our opinions," she said.

Seoul and Tokyo announced the agreement in late December that centers on Japan's admission of responsibility for the wartime crime and plans to pay reparations to the victims. South Korea promised to end the dispute once and for all if Japan fulfills its responsibilities.

Some civic groups, however, including one that has spoken for victims, have denounced the agreement as diplomatic collusion between the two countries, arguing that Japan should have offered a clearer apology and acknowledged its legal responsibility for the atrocity.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Japan has long attempted to water down the atrocity.

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