Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s foreign minister on Monday accused South Korea of ​​having already worsened the demand for compensation for sexual exploitation of Korean women during World War II and for the use of forced labor. Relations deteriorated.

In a diplomatic policy speech in parliament, Toshimitsu Motegi said that a South Korean court recently ordered 12 South Korean women from Japan to sexually assault them in a Japanese military brothel during the war, which “international An unusual development under the law and bilateral relations “was unimaginable. . “

“We strongly urge South Korea to correct violations of international law as soon as possible” and restore healthy relations, Motegi said.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled on 8 January that the Japanese government should award 100 million victories ($ 91,360) to each of the 12 elderly women who sued their war victims in 2013 as “comfort women”.

They were among the tens of thousands of women from Japanese-occupied Asia and the Pacific who were sent to the brothel of the Japanese army.

Tensions had escalated between the two countries, whose relations had already fallen to the lowest level in decades, with earlier South Korean rulers over Japan’s actions during the 1910–1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.

South Korea’s Supreme Court in 2018 ordered Japanese companies to provide reconsideration to some South Koreans who were forced to work in their factories during the war.

The dispute over forced labor turned into a trade dispute and prompted South Korea to threaten to cancel the 2016 military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, a key component of their regional defense cooperation with the United States.

Japan has opposed the court’s ruling, stating that all wartime compensation issues were settled under the ties that normalized the 1965 treaty, in which Japan provided $ 500 million in funding.

In Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday that it “would not be desirable for bilateral relations” if Seoul and Tokyo failed to find a diplomatic solution before the South Korean courts destroyed the local assets of Japanese companies are. They were seized after refusing to pay compensation to Korean wartime laborers.

Moon described the rule of “relaxed women” as a “sincerely complicated” development for government efforts to improve relations with Japan. Speaking at a press conference, he did not detail any possible diplomatic efforts.

Motegi called South Korea “an important neighbor” and called it “indispensable for regional security” with Japan and the United States, including a response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Japan offered payments and amnesty letters to certified victims of their sexual misconduct from five countries, settling disputes with all countries, under the 1995 Semi-Government Asian Women’s Fund. According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry, sixty South Korean victims received 5 million yen ($ 48,200) from each of the 367 million yen ($ 3.5 million) fund, but many others refused to accept the money.

In 2015, the then governments of South Korea and Japan arrived, a final and irrevocable deal to settle the issue with a new 1 billion yen ($ 9 million) fund set up by the Japanese government, but the current Moon administration dissolved. Saying Gaya, the deal was struck without proper consultation with the victims.

In what appeared to be a change in tone, Moon said on Monday that South Korea had recognized the 2015 agreement as a valid agreement that should provide a basis for finding a better solution that would satisfy the victims. He did not elaborate.

Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai said his government “paid attention” to Moon’s remarks. Japan is still calling for South Korea to take appropriate steps, while considering all possible options.

“We will be watching what action will be taken by the South Korean side,” Sakai said.

Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea contributed to this report.

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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