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Ex-U.S. Rep. Honda calls for S. Korea to reconsider 'comfort women' deal with Japan

2017/10/13 15:28

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CHEONGJU, South Korea, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- Former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda called Friday for South Korea to reconsider a 2015 deal reached with Japan on the wartime sexual slavery issue, saying it's meaningless to receive financial compensation without a genuine apology.

Honda made the remark to reporters after receiving an honorary doctorate degree from Cheongju University in the central city of the same name for his efforts to help sexual slavery victims, also known as "comfort women" and move Korea-U.S. relations forward.

The so-called "comfort women" agreement has been deeply unpopular in South Korea amid criticism that the government of then President Park Geun-hye agreed never to raise the issue again in exchange for compensation without consent from victims.

Honda said the deal is favorable only to Japan and President Moon Jae-in should reconsider it.

Honda said he will attend a "Wednesday protest" next week that activists have held in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul since 1992 to demand that Japan offer a sincere apology for the atrocity.

Later Friday, he also plans to attend a ceremony to unveil a girl's statue symbolizing victims in the central town of Boeun.

Honda, who served as a House member representing California from 2001 to 2017, has been at the forefront of efforts to get Japan to admit and apologize to victims of its sexual enslavement of women for troops during World War II. Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910-1945.

In 2007, Honda wrote House Resolution 121 and helped it pass through the House unanimously. The resolution urged Japan to formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility for the atrocity in a clear and unequivocal manner.

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