Comfort women deal se­ri­ously flawed: Moon

> Pres­i­dent tells of­fi­cials to re-ex­am­ine agree­ment

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SEOUL: South Korea’s 2015 deal with Ja­pan over Tokyo’s wartime sex slav­ery was “se­ri­ously flawed”, Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-In said yes­ter­day, telling of­fi­cials to re­ex­am­ine the con­tro­ver­sial agree­ment.

The is­sue of women forced into sex­ual slav­ery for Ja­panese troops dur­ing World War II is a hugely emo­tional sub­ject that has marred ties be­tween South Korea and its for­mer colo­nial ruler.

Moon’s com­ments came a day af­ter the for­eign min­istry said the deal – which was pushed and en­dorsed by his pre­de­ces­sor, Park Geun-Hye – was faulty and had “failed to re­flect the vic­tims’ views”.

The un­pop­u­lar agree­ment was meant to end the decades-long dis­pute with a Ja­panese apol­ogy and a to­tal of ¥1 bil­lion (RM35.82 mil­lion) pay­ment to sur­vivors.

But it sparked anger among some sur­vivors seek­ing an ex­plicit apol­ogy from the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment for the abuses.

Fol­low­ing Moon’s de­ci­sion to order a re­view of the deal af­ter be­ing elected this year, a task force pub­lished a re­port on Wed­nes­day say­ing the agree­ment was rushed and did not do enough to seek out the opin­ions of the vic­tims, often known by the eu­phemism “comfort women”.

“It has been con­firmed that the 2015 deal ... was se­ri­ously flawed,” Moon said in a state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day.

“Al­though the 2015 deal was an of­fi­cial agree­ment en­dorsed by the lead­ers of both coun­tries, I’d like to make it clear that the deal can­not solve this is­sue.”

The latest rev­e­la­tion by the task force is “re­gret­table but un­avoid­able”, Moon said, telling of­fi­cials to “come up with fol­low-up mea­sures at the ear­li­est date”.

It is un­clear whether Seoul will call for rene­go­ti­a­tions or walk away from the deal.

Tokyo has urged Seoul to stick with the 2015 agree­ment.

Main­stream his­to­ri­ans say up to 200,000 women – mostly from Korea but also other parts of Asia in­clud­ing China – were forced to be­come sex slaves for Ja­panese sol­diers dur­ing the war.

The Ja­panese gov­ern­ment de­nies it is di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for the abuses, in­sist­ing that “comfort women” were re­cruited by civil­ians and that the army broth­els were com­mer­cially op­er­ated.

De­spite the 2015 deal, ties be­tween the two neigh­bours re­main tense over stat­ues which South Korean ac­tivists po­si­tioned out­side Ja­panese diplo­matic mis­sions in mem­ory of vic­tims. – AFP

Peo­ple sit around a comfort woman statue, dur­ing an event com­mem­o­rat­ing the deaths of eight for­mer sex slaves this year, in Seoul on Wed­nes­day.

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