Korea not to seek renegotiation of sex slavery deal with Japan


In a nationally televised press conference, Moon reaffirmed that a controversial 2015 deal with Japan aimed at resolving the issue was reached "in the wrong way".

"Our government will explore victims-centered measures by gathering opinions from the victims and related organizations", Kang said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha speaks before a briefing of a special task force for investigating the 2015 South Korea-Japan agreement over South Korea's "comfort women" issue at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea December 27, 2017. Tokyo apologized for its colonial-era atrocities and pledged 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million) to a foundation dedicated to supporting the victims. "The government needs to take enough time to listen to the victims, experts and civic groups, as well as to have sufficient consultations with Japan, in order to tackle the issue".

With some of the victims calling for the money to be returned, South Korea said Tuesday it will set up its own fund of an equal amount and negotiate with Tokyo on what to do with the Japanese contribution. A 2011 study by The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences suggests that former comfort women still suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), even 60 years after the end of the war. "It's very important to maintain good relations with Japan", he said.

Seoul does not plan to scrap or renegotiate the 2015 bilateral deal on the so-called comfort women, announced Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha Tuesday, though she underscored that the agreement is not a true resolution to the issue of Japan's wartime sexual slavery. But the Japanese government is considering not accepting the invitation.

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The deal prompted strong criticism from victims and civic groups who claim that Japan's apology was not honest enough and that the government did not consult with them in advance.

The issue of women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops in the second world war has roiled relations between the neighbours - both of them United States allies and both threatened by nuclear-armed North Korea - for decades.

"We can't deny that it was an official agreement between the two countries", she said, "so we won't ask the Japanese government to renegotiate the deal".

Comfort women in China, Taiwan and the Philippines have been less vocal in demanding compensation and redress from the Japanese government than in South Korea, where the women are better organized and work with a coalition of activists.

South Korea has said that it will take a "two-track" approach in which it will approach the historical issue separately from diplomatic and economic relations.