Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday rejected a South Korean request that the Japanese government take additional measures over the issue of Korean women who were forced into Japan's wartime military brothels.

Japan "can by no means accept" such a request, apparently including a fresh apology by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the "comfort women," Kono told his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, on the sidelines of a 20-nation ministerial meeting on North Korea in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Kono was quoted by the ministry as telling Kang that Seoul must steadily implement the 2015 landmark bilateral agreement to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the protracted row over the former comfort women, an issue related to Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.