Korean-American group suspends activities related to ‘comfort women’

Kyodo

A New York-based Korean-American group said Tuesday it has decided to suspend political activities related to women who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels, following a recent agreement reached by Tokyo and Seoul aimed at settling the long-standing diplomatic row.

David Lee, president of the Korean American Public Affairs Committee, said by telephone that he was “glad” to hear of the agreement struck Monday, in which Japan admitted to its military’s involvement in the matter and offered to provide ¥1 billion for a new South Korean fund to be set up to support aging former comfort women.

It is time to start “hugging together and working together,” Lee said. The group will try to help South Korea and Japan “build a good friendship” through cultural exchange programs, he said.

Lee’s group was involved in various activities to commemorate the comfort women, including a monument erected in a park in Nassau County, New York, in 2012.

The Korean American Forum of California, which led a project to set up a comfort woman statue in Glendale, has criticized the latest agreement between Tokyo and Seoul.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman called on groups working on the issue in the United States to support the bilateral agreement and its full implementation.

“The support of civil society for this settlement will be crucial to its success in the end,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Tuesday.

The U.S. government has welcomed the move toward reconciliation between Japan and South Korea on the issue and urged the international community to support it.