Korea will not scrap or renegotiate 'comfort women' deal of 2015

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.

"The most important point would be how South Korea will handle the 1 billion (yen) fund from Japan", the former chairman said in a forecast of Seoul's future handling of the issue. He further said the agreement was "unquestionably a crucial foundation [for bilateral relations] in Japan and South Korea's cooperation in several areas, including responding to the North Korean threat".

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Japanese government has reacted strongly to the new policy announced by the South Korean government on Tuesday regarding the bilateral accord reached in 2015 on the comfort women issue. Kono said he planned to "protest" the matter with Seoul.

"(The comfort women issue) will not be resolved simply by demanding renegotiation".

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday reiterated the 2015 Korea-Japan deal on Korean victims of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement was reached in a "wrong way", and urged Japan to make a heartfelt apology to the victims.

Kono also said it was "utterly unacceptable for the South Korean side to demand additional measures from Japan when the comfort women issue was confirmed to have been finally and irreversibly resolved [with the 2015 agreement]".

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Seoul said this week that it would not seek to renegotiate the deal, as it had been agreed by both Tokyo and the previous South Korean government.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the 2015 deal was struck by the foreign ministers of the two countries, confirmed by the leaders of the two countries, and supported by the global community, including the U.S.

"There is no room for any compromise on that agreement", he said.

Mainstream historians say as many as 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. Tens of thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of women were compelled to work in brothels that served the Japanese military. But when asked if the Japanese ambassador to South Korea would be temporarily called home, he replied on that he "would like to see appropriate actions for now from Tokyo and Seoul".

Those opposed to the 2015 deal want Japan to take legal responsibility and provide due compensation.

It is the second time the left-leaning Moon's government has avoided implementing a campaign promise made to appeal to his base on practical grounds - a pledge to phase out nuclear power in the resource-poor South was outsourced to a "citizen jury", which decided that the country needed atomic energy.

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