Japan and the United States have affirmed the importance of Tokyo and Seoul implementing a 2015 bilateral agreement to resolve issues surrounding Korean "comfort women," who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II.

On Monday, Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed the 2015 deal in talks at the State Department, ahead of a meeting later this week between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House. Sugiyama said Sullivan agreed that the deal should be implemented.

Moon, who took office last month, has criticized the agreement, which was reached under the administration of his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye, saying it is not accepted by the people of South Korea.