Two elderly South Korean survivors of the wartime military-run brothels are in Japan to reject the recent settlement agreement between the two governments.
They want Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize face-to-face and pay formal compensation.
South Koreans Lee Ok-sun, 88, and Kang Il-chul, 87, told reporters Tuesday that the agreement neglected the victims’ feelings and was “wrong.”
“The deal is making a fool out of us,” Kang said. “It was agreed without any consultations with us. How can they agree by pushing us aside? I’m furious.”
Lee said, “It is as if the Japanese government is waiting for us to stop speaking out and die.”
On Dec. 28, the South Korean and Japanese governments agreed to end the drawn-out dispute over the issue “finally and irreversibly,” with Tokyo pledging to provide ¥1 billion for a new South Korean foundation aimed at helping aging former comfort women.
Kang and Lee are among the 10 women living in the House of Sharing, a group home for former comfort women on the outskirts of Seoul. A total of 46 survivors are living in South Korea — a tiny fraction of the many thousands thought to have served in the brothels.
In a separate move, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday approved a resolution that calls for an early removal of a statue in Seoul of a girl symbolizing the comfort women.
The LDP urged the government to step up efforts to ensure that the statue in front of the Japanese Embassy is quickly removed.
The resolution says the statue hurts the dignity of the embassy and that it is important for both sides to steadily implement the bilateral Dec. 28 agreement.
The resolution refers to the Japanese government’s plan to fund the foundation to be established by the South Korean government to provide support to former comfort women.
The Japanese government should sincerely discuss the plan with the South Korean government and fulfill its accountability to the Japanese public, it says.