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South Korea, Japan eye follow-up talks on ‘comfort women’ later this month

Kyodo

South Korea and Japan will hold follow-up talks as early as this month on the landmark deal to settle the issue of the “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels, according to diplomatic sources.

The two countries have agreed to continue their director-general talks to discuss the process of implementing the deal reached late last month, but negotiations could face rough going as Japan and South Korea have put different interpretations on conditions to carry out the accord.

Japan has indicated its ¥1 billion ($8.3 million) contribution to a fund to help former comfort women will be contingent on removal of a statue symbolizing the victims that has been erected outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, according to a Japanese government source.

However, a South Korean government official has said Seoul did not promise that the statue would be removed.

Meanwhile, an official in South Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has said the ministry has started talks with Japanese Foreign Ministry officials on a foundation that is to be established and run with funds contributed by the Japanese government.

At a joint news conference in South Korea on Dec. 28 after the accord was reached, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said Seoul “acknowledges” Tokyo’s concern about the statue and that it will “strive to solve this issue in an appropriate manner.”

His Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, said he thinks it “will be relocated appropriately.”

The statue of a girl was erected in 2011 by the Korean Council of Women Drafted for Sexual Slavery by Japan, a citizens’ group helping former comfort women, on a sidewalk near the embassy.

The South Korean group has strongly objected to the agreement and insists it will not remove the statue.

Many people in South Korea are not happy about removal of the statue as the administration of President Park Geun-hye struck the deal with Japan without asking the former comfort women’s opinions beforehand.

Two South Korean vice foreign ministers met with former comfort women on Dec. 29 in an attempt to persuade them to accept the removal of the statue, but their overtures were rejected.

A South Korean government source said the Park administration is now considering appointing a minister in charge of holding talks with the former comfort women. Some conservatives have proposed that the president try to persuade them herself.

  • terriblemovie

    South Korea will remove the statue when Japan agrees to remove Yasukuni.

    Hypocrites

    • Gene Sasserky

      Yasukuni is a shrine that honors people going back to the 1800s. It isn’t a place built later for the sole purpose of continuing the hatred and false information against another country. No comparison. The U.S. has never told Japan to close Yasukuni. But they certainly told South Korea to knock off this Comfort Women nonsense.

      • terriblemovie

        Yasukuni houses 1068 warcriminals, 14 of whom are class A war criminals. No actual bodies are housed in the shrine, only names. If Japan can’t be bothered to remove names from a shrine, then why do they want Korea to remove a statue dedicated to rape victims?

      • Fred Orangefield

        Historians must reexamine the so-called Tokyo Tribunal, and the US government must release the entire video footage of the proceedings for their work. It is there that the true war crimes were committed by MacArthur’s team.

      • terriblemovie

        Yasukuni houses 1068 warcriminals, 14 of whom are class A war criminals. No actual bodies are housed in the shrine, only names. If Japan can’t be bothered to remove names from a shrine, then why do they want Korea to remove a statue dedicated to rape victims?

      • Melonbarmonster

        Comparing war criminals who murdered.raped and pillaged driven by naziesque level racist fascist ideology to innocent civilian women who were abducted when they were still children. You are a class act.

      • Fred Orangefield

        The war crime you mention is made up by MacArthur at the Tokyo Tribunal, which needs to be examined by historians. You will see a totally different picture of who the war criminals are.

      • Fred Orangefield

        The war crime you mention is made up by MacArthur at the Tokyo Tribunal, which needs to be examined by historians. You will see a totally different picture of who the war criminals are.

      • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

        Let’s be clear, a Japanese war shrine of cult is nothing to do with you, never a feature to do with you.
        Not your business, let yourself clear.
        Don’t meddle, and you need to make sure that the Japanese cult shrine is nothing but a RELIGEOUS FACILITY, which not supposed to get along with the FAITH you’ve got.

    • Gene Sasserky

      Yasukuni is a shrine that honors people going back to the 1800s. It isn’t a place built later for the sole purpose of continuing the hatred and false information against another country. No comparison. The U.S. has never told Japan to close Yasukuni. But they certainly told South Korea to knock off this Comfort Women nonsense.

  • Melonbarmonster

    The statue is private property of an nongovernmental npo. Learn some self respect and earn yoUT own honor if you are ashamed.

  • Roy Warner

    Zut alors! It seems as if it were only last week when we were told the final settlement had been reached. If the statue is not in the text, that would seem to indicate that it is unrelated to the settlement.

  • Bernadette Soubirous

    The Korean people are acting hypocritical towards the Japanese. For example, there are many Korean women who date black men and those black men are treated unfairly by Korean men for being with a Korean woman. How can the South Korean people claim to be wrongly treated by the Japanese but the South Korean people treat those black men who are loved by Korean women. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Live and let live. The Japanese are good people.