Seoul to announce measures on 'defective' sex slavery deal

by Abel Hampton January 10, 2018, 0:35
Seoul to announce measures on 'defective' sex slavery deal

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in had pledged to renegotiate the terms of the deal with Japan, which firmly said the agreement can not be amended.

On Dec. 27, a task force under the South Korean foreign minister said in a report that the previous government of Park Geun Hye failed to sufficiently consult former comfort women before agreeing to the deal with Japan.

However, after Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono warned Seoul late December against trying to alter a deal originally celebrated as "irreversible", his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-hwa clarified the situation on Tuesday. "It's an global and universal principle that such an accord should be implemented responsibly even after a change of government".

In particular, with the PyeongChang Olympic Games just around the corner, the party stated that the announcement comes at the "worst strategic time ever" and does not meet even the government's own intent to invite the Abe administration to the Olympics.

Moreover, the task force has reported that the 1 billion yen that Japan promised in the agreement to pay as reparations for sex slave victims was agreed upon with social consensus or the consent of the victims themselves.

A South Korean government panel found last month that victims' opinions were not adequately taken into account when the agreement was drawn up, and Moon called the deal seriously flawed at the end of 2017, saying it did not resolve the issue.

South Korea "will urge the Japanese government to take responsible measures over the defective "comfort women" deal in line with the spirit of seriousness and cosmopolitanism", the source was quoted as saying. However, according to government sources, the administration is not expected to scrap or ask for a renegotiation of the deal immediately, as some have called for. To Japan's chagrin, a similar statue went up in front of the consulate in Busan soon after.

The comfort women issue has been a regular cause for contention between Japan and neighbours China and North and South Korea since the war.

Some in Japan's government have voiced frustration with what they see as South Korea moving the goalposts on the issue, and they suspect the Moon administration, prompted by its liberal base, could further increase its demands in the future. Abe is leaning toward declining an invitation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, despite the potential for top-level talks between the countries.

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