Japan rejects South Korean call for extra steps over 'comfort women'

Director general officals of S. Korea Japan meet

That created an opportunity for Moon to back out of the agreement, but at the risk of upending South Korea's relationship with Japan at a time when the countries are united in confronting North Korea over its weapons programs.

"The 2015 agreement, which did not adequately take into consideration the victims, can not be considered a genuine resolution of the Japanese wartime sex slavery issue". The deal was reached by the government of President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached in 2016 after months of turmoil and street protests.

"While the administration has changed", Kono responded Tuesday, "responsibly implementing" the pact remains a matter of "universal global principle".

Under the deal, Tokyo agreed to pay $8 million into a fund to support the victims, and offered an apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the actions of its troops during Japan's brutal rule of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

But Seoul will not use any more of Tokyo's money for the survivors, replacing the funds from its own budget, Kang said, urging Tokyo to offer a "voluntary and honest apology".

The agreement has been criticized in South Korea, where many people don't believe that Japan has fully made amends for its wartime legacy.

While admitting the deal was flawed, Minister Kang said the South Korean government will not request a renegotiation, as it is an official agreement made between the two governments.

"It is an undeniable fact that that the 2015 deal was an official agreement reached between the two countries, and we will not demand a renegotiation from the Japanese government", Kang told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul.

In 2015, when there were 47, 36 accepted the settlement, a the official said.

South Korea failed to remove a statue commemorating comfort women from in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul after agreeing to "solve" that issue "in an appropriate manner".

South Korean activists estimate there may have been as many as 200,000 Korean women forced to work in the brothels.

The measures were announced after a government task force, which was launched after President Moon Jae-in took office in May, concluded late a year ago that the previous government of ousted President Park Geun-hye failed to make sufficient efforts to listen to the surviving former comfort women.

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.

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

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