Japan's Abe rejects calls for apology to 'comfort women'

13 January, 2018, 03:47 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Mainichi Calls for Abe to Attend Pyeong Chang Olympics

During the meeting, Abe said the North has become a serious threat with its launch of a ballistic missile capable of reaching the Estonian capital.

The South Korean government declared on Tuesday that the 2015 agreement was not a conclusive resolution to the issue of Japan's wartime atrocity, and although Seoul decided it will not seek to renegotiate the deal, it did call on Tokyo to offer a voluntary and honest apology to the surviving victims.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday urged Japan to deal with the comfort women issue responsibly. "Japan should accept the truth, make a heartfelt apology to victims". The Japan-South Korea deal was a promise between countries.

The two countries signed the deal on December 28, 2015, to "finally and irreversibly" settle the comfort women issue, which has always been a key source of tension between the two countries. "It is a universal principle that bilateral agreements are followed", Mr Abe said yesterday.

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Japanese media reports have said Abe may not attend the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month because of the feud, although the government's top spokesman said on Thursday that it had not been decided.

Seoul, while maintaining it will not seek to renegotiate the deal, said it will plan to match the 1 billion yen ($8.98 million) paid by the Japanese government under the deal, with South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha saying that it will decide how to use Japan's contribution. "The Korean government should communicate with the Japanese government to build mutual trust from now on", said Lee Myeon-woo, head of the diplomacy and security strategy research department at Sejong Institute. They have demanded the deal be invalidated, saying the government did not consult with them in advance and Japan's apology was not honest.

"This issue can not be resolved through a give-and-take deal between governments struck over the victims' head", he said. He has pursued a "two track" approach of separating historical issues from current affairs to build a "future-oriented" relationship with Japan.

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