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Koreas' women groups call for revocation of comfort women deal with Japan: KCNA

All Headlines 15:44 July 24, 2017

SEOUL/TOKYO, July 24 (Yonhap) -- A group of women's organizations in South and North Korea called for the revocation of the 2015 deal South Korea signed with Japan to settle the latter's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, the North's official news agency reported Monday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the appeal was issued jointly by the Women Sub-Committee of the North Side Committee for Implementing June 15 Declaration and the Women Headquarters of the South Side Committee dedicated to the implementation of the joint declaration signed in 2000 to promote inter-Korean peace.

Two Korean women's groups based in Japan -- the Central Standing Committee of the Korean Democratic Women's Union and the South Korean Women Association for Democracy -- also joined the appeal that was issued to mark the 110th anniversary of the "Jongmi Seven-Point Treaty," according to the KCNA.

The treaty signed in 1907 between the then imperialist Japan and Korea was one of the final steps taken by Japan for its 1910 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

"Let us totally nullify and repeal the humiliating and illegal 'agreement' on sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army concluded by pro-Japanese traitorous forces with Japan!" the appeal said, referring to the so-called comfort women agreement.

Historians estimate up to 200,000 Asian women, mostly from Korea, were forced into sexual servitude for the imperialist Japanese troops during World War II, while the peninsula was under the colonial control of Japan.

President Moon Jae-in has hinted at withdrawing the agreement signed under the administration of the impeached previous President Park Geun-hye on the grounds that South Koreans don't approve of the deal.

The KCNA said, "The appeal stressed that all hideous crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists against the Korean nation can never be written off, and no statute of limitations is applicable to them.

"Let us come out as one in the struggle for the final settlement of all hideous state-sponsored crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists against the Korean nation after illegally occupying Korea," it added.

Japan, meanwhile, increased its call on Seoul on Monday to cling to and implement the agreement under which Japan injected 1 billion yen (US$9 million) into a South Korean foundation for sex slavery victims in exchange for ending bilateral feuds on the issue.

"The South Korea-Japan agreement was confirmed by both countries and is one that has been highly regarded by the international community," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press briefing. "It is extremely important to faithfully implement the agreement. (Japan) will continue to work toward it in collaboration with the South Korean side," he said.

The comments came after Kim Tae-hyun, the head of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation launched a year earlier in a follow-up to the deal, stepped down last week.

Suga said her resignation does not signify a termination of the foundation's activities.


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