SEOUL – President Park Geun-hye told visiting Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe on Friday that she wants the Japanese government to resolve the issue of the so-called comfort women, mainly Asians, who were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.
At their 40-minute meeting at the South Korean presidential office in Seoul, Park said she hopes for a settlement on the issue “by sincere efforts,” adding it is “not only a matter between the two countries, but also a matter concerning universal women’s rights.”
Masuzoe was visiting from Wednesday at the invitation of Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. He is the first Tokyo governor in 18 years to make an official visit to South Korea.
The meeting was Park’s first with a Japanese politician since a trilateral summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama in March in the Netherlands.
Abe, who became prime minister for the second time in December 2012, has not been able to hold a bilateral summit with Park since she took office in February last year.
At the meeting, which was held at the request of Masuzoe, the governor conveyed a message from Abe that the country is willing to improve its relations with South Korea.
Park pointed out that the relationship between South Korea and Japan has been difficult due to remarks and behavior by some politicians over historical issues.
According to Masuzoe, he and Park agreed that hate speech against Koreans in Japan should never be tolerated.
Earlier this month, the Osaka High Court, upholding a lower court ruling, banned a Japanese group, called Zaitokukai, from conducting a campaign of harassment that included hate speech against an elementary school for Koreans in Kyoto.