Japan, South Korea reach deal on WWII women slaves
Iran Press TV
Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:2PM
Japan and South Korea have finally inked a landmark deal over the controversial issue of women sex slaves during World War II, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offering an apology and promising more than USD eight million in compensation for the Korean victims.
A statement by both countries' foreign ministers on Monday said Abe "expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women," using the common term for the Asian and Korean women who, according to historians, were forcefully sent to frontlines to offer sex to Japanese soldiers.
The issue had for decades been a major cause for animosity between the two major trade partners and staunch allies of the United States in the South Asia region.
In a phone call to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Abe reiterated his apology and said the issue is settled irreversibly. He said Japan will certainly implement the agreement.
Park, for her part, said she hoped the two countries would build mutual trust and open a new era in ties based on the agreement.
Abe also briefed the reporters on the historic agreement, saying he signed the deal because he did not want the future generations to repeatedly apologize over the issue.
"Japan and South Korea are now entering a new era ... We should not drag this problem into the next generation," he said.
Despite previously resisting calls for compensation, Abe'a government has also agreed to establish a one-billion-yen ($8.3-million) fund to help provide support for the victims. Many also expect the Japanese premier to issue a written statement to the 46 surviving former Korean sex slaves, now in their 80s and 90s, although it was not clear whether Abe would be willing to take that measure.
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