Foundation for sex slaves moves ahead

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Foundation for sex slaves moves ahead

Korea and Japan held a working-level foreign ministry meeting on Tuesday and “made progress” in ironing out the details of establishing a Tokyo-funded foundation to support the victims of the Japanese military’s sexual slavery during World War II.

“We focused on the setting up of a foundation and for both countries to implement the comfort women agreement in a reliable and expedited manner,” said Chung Byung-won, director-general of the Korean Foreign Ministry’s Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, of his talks with Kimihiro Ishikane, director-general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

This is in accordance with a deal struck by the two countries on Dec. 28 to resolve the issue of the Imperial Japanese Army’s forceful recruitment of young women and girls into sexual slavery. The deal included an apology from the Japanese prime minister and a plan to establish a fund for the victims using 1 billion yen ($9.1 million) to be taken from Japan’s state budget.

“There was a lot of discussion over the biggest issue from the Dec. 28 agreement on comfort women, which is the establishing of a foundation,” said Cho June-hyuck, spokesman of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The agreement calls for our government to set up the foundation and the Japanese government to fund it.”

The deal itself has been met with some opposition from survivors, who felt their demands for Japan to fully acknowledge legal responsibility were not reflected in the deal.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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