‘Comfort women’ fund will pay

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‘Comfort women’ fund will pay

Registered survivors of Japanese wartime sexual slavery will be eligible to receive 100 million won ($89,599) through a Tokyo-funded foundation established under a bilateral agreement last December, according to Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

Family members of victims registered with the Korean government who have already died are eligible for 20 million won from the 1 billion yen ($9.95 million) fund, to be transferred by Japan to a foundation to support the women who were forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Last month, the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation was launched in Seoul to support these victims, euphemistically referred to as comfort women. A Foreign Ministry official said it was agreed upon in follow-up negotiations to the Dec. 28 agreement that the fund was to be distributed in the form of cash payments as a means to help “restore the honor and dignity of the Japanese military’s comfort women victims and heal their wounds.”

The official said that this decision was made in an effort to reflect the views of the victims, who have expressed different requests, and that the amount that victims receive can differ or slightly exceed this amount depending on individual need. A small portion of the 1 billion yen fund will then go toward overarching projects by the foundation to help the cause of comfort women victims, he said.

There are 245 comfort women victims who have registered with the Korean government, with 46 survivors based on the date of the signing of the bilateral agreement and 199 deceased.

Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se met bilaterally with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo on Wednesday and reaffirmed the importance of a thorough implementation of the Dec. 28 agreement. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved the transfer of the 1 billion yen to the foundation.

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