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S. Korea, Japan to hold talks over 'comfort women' deal

2016/03/21 15:13

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan will hold working-level talks this week to follow up on last year's agreement to settle their dispute over Tokyo's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The meeting will be held in Tokyo on Tuesday, led by Chung Byung-won, director-general of the ministry's Northeast Asian affairs bureau, and Kimihiro Ishikane, director-general of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau, the ministry said in a press release.

"The two sides will hold wide-ranging talks on issues of mutual interest, including the implementation of follow-up steps for the Dec. 28 agreement on the issue of the victims of the Japanese military's comfort women (system)," it said.

The deal attempted to resolve the decades-long row over the Japanese military's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II through Tokyo's formal recognition of responsibility for the crime, an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Tokyo's payment of 1 billion yen (US$8.97 million) into a South Korean fund for the victims, euphemistically called "comfort women."

   However, some of the victims and their supporters have demanded the agreement be scrapped for failing to address their grievances.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese troops during the war. Only 44 South Korean victims, mostly in their late 80s, are currently known to be alive.