Seoul to announce measures on 'defective' sex slavery deal

Seoul to announce measures on 'defective' sex slavery deal

While saying it is "undeniable" that the 2015 deal is an official agreement between the two countries, the president said Wednesday the "erroneous knot" with Japan over the comfort women issue must be untied.

Moon's remark came a day after the Foreign Ministry said the issue remains unresolved, but it would not seek to renegotiate the deal.

But she added that she hoped Japan would make further efforts to help the women "regain honour and dignity and heal wounds in their hearts".

"If Japan acknowledges the truth, offers heartfelt apologies to the victimized women and works with the worldwide community to prevent a recurrence based on a lesson it learned, the women then will forgive Japan", he said.

Kanasugi's protest followed Moon being quoted by local media as saying during a New Year's press conference that "Japan should accept the truth, apologize with a honest heart and take the "comfort women" issue as a lesson and work with the worldwide community in such a way that something similar could not occur again".

Moon said he thinks the victims will forgive and this issue can be completely resolved when Japan accepts the truth, makes a heartfelt apology to the victims, learn lessons and cooperates with the global community in preventing a recurrence of such an incident.

Kang said that even though the deal was flawed, South Korea was not seeking to change it.

Under the deal reached on December 28, 2015, the two countries agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women issue. "Japan must address the concerns of its Asian neighbors and the worldwide community, and deal with them responsibly".

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However, Seoul has decided not to renegotiate, nor scrap the agreement as some had called for.

"What the victims have consistently wanted is a spontaneous and genuine apology" from Japan, Kang added.

While there are differing opinions on what to do with the funds offered by Japan, the government has said it will not use the remaining funds - about 6 billion won ($5.6 million) - and will consult with Japan to decide what should be done.

But the government's decision, which appears to have been made mindful of the impact that withdrawal from the accord could have on Korea-Japan relations as well as its diplomatic credibility, drew protests from both Japan and victims of Japan's sexual enslavement.

"The Moon Jae In administration understands that global agreements can not be rewritten without consent from the other country, so even though they are unhappy about the agreement, they can not renegotiate without Japan", he told The Straits Times.

The Korean Foreign Ministry launched a nine-member task force at the end of July comprised of foreign affairs officials and experts in Korea-Japan relations, global law and human rights.

South Korea said it will announce on Tuesday whether it will respect an agreement between the country's previous government and Japan that was aimed at resolving a feud over "comfort women" forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels.

Seoul will also pursue a "future-oriented" relations with Tokyo, and discuss how its one billion yen contribution for the victims will be processed.

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