National / Politics

Kishida says Japan will not take extra steps on 'comfort women' issue

Kyodo

Japan does not believe it needs to do more to settle the issue of Korean “comfort women” over and above the deal already struck, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday after Seoul requested additional measures to address the victims’ feelings.

“Japan believes that there is no agreement whatsoever about additional measures” in a deal struck between it and South Korea last December that settled the issue, Kishida told reporters.

Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, told a news conference Thursday that the South Korean government “expects the Japanese side to take additional emotional measures to console the comfort women victims’ wounds.”

By “additional emotional measures,” South Korea may have in mind a letter of apology to the victims, who were forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels, from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Such a letter, which was not included in the deal, is being called for by a South Korean foundation recently launched to help the surviving women and their families.

In line with the December deal, which was struck to settle the comfort women issue “finally and irreversibly,” Tokyo disbursed ¥1 billion to the recently created Reconciliation and Healing Foundation.

With the disbursement, Japan said its responsibilities stated in the deal have been fulfilled.

“On multiple occasions, Japan and South Korea have confirmed the importance of steady implementation of the Japan-South Korea agreement,” Kishida said.