S. Korea, Japan discuss future of ‘comfort women’ foundation

SEOUL, Top South Korean and Japanese foreign ministry officials held talks in Tokyo Thursday over a controversial 2015 agreement on Japan's wartime sexual slavery.

Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun met with his counterpart, Takeo Akiba, and exchanged opinions on pending issues on bilateral ties, according to Cho's ministry.

Agenda items included the issue of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation on Korean sex slaves during World War II.

Funded by Japan, it was established under the agreement signed by South Korea's Park Geun-hye administration to settle the decades-long row over Japan's sexual enslavement of Koreans, euphemistically called comfort women.

Japan donated 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million) to support the victims.

But many South Korean people believe Japan has yet to apologize for its wartime wrongdoings with sincerity and take full responsibility.

They have called on the 2015 deal to be retracted and the foundation to be disbanded.

The Moon Jae-in administration indicated it plans to return the money to Japan and use its own budget to help the victims.

The ministry did not reveal whether any compromise was reached during the vice-ministerial meeting. It said Cho invited Akiba to visit South Korea.

Next week, meanwhile, South Korea's Supreme Court is scheduled to deliver a verdict on a damages suit filed by Koreans forced to work at steel mills in Japan during World War II. Korea was under Japan's colonization from 1910-45.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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