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S. Korea expects Japan to do more to settle sexual slavery issue: ministry

All News 16:33 September 29, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea expects Japan to do more to soothe Korean victims of its wartime sexual enslavement, the foreign ministry here said Thursday amid lingering resistance to a bilateral agreement to settle the issue.

"(The government) expects the Japanese side to take additional emotional measures to console the comfort women victims' wounds," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a regular press briefing.

He was responding to a reporter's question on how the government views growing calls inside Japan for a letter of apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A Japanese civic group focused on the sexual slavery demanded in a request submitted to the Japanese Cabinet on Wednesday that Abe send a personal apology letter to the victims.

Such a demand has also been discussed in South Korea amid continuing protests over a deal signed between Seoul and Tokyo late last year to settle the deep-rooted diplomatic feud.

Historians say tens of thousands of Asian women, mostly Korean, were forced to provide sex services at front-line brothels for the imperialist Japanese army during World War II. They are euphemistically called comfort women.

Under the latest deal, Japan donated 1 billion yen (US$9.8 million) to a South Korean foundation devoted to supporting South Korean victims.

But the settlement deal has been under intense criticism among some civic groups and victims for lacking sincerity and prior consultation.

Cho's remarks are the first time the South Korean government has officially referred to possible extra measures from Japan.

Against this backdrop, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is looking for the right time and venue to meet with surviving victims personally, the spokesman also said.


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