Comfort women fund is replaced

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Comfort women fund is replaced

South Korea approved a government budget Tuesday to replace a 1 billion-yen ($9 million) fund the Japanese government paid to settle the bilateral diplomatic row over the imperial Japanese army’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.

The move is in line with the Moon Jae-in administration’s dissatisfaction with the 2015 agreement between the two countries, forged under the previous administration of the ousted President Park Geun-hye, in which Japan agreed to pay the fund to help support the Korean victims of the wartime atrocity and their families in return for ending the diplomatic row once and for all.

A task force under the Moon administration reviewed the bilateral agreement and concluded that the deal failed to factor in the opinions from the sexual slavery victims, euphemistically called “comfort women.”

In its meeting Tuesday morning, the cabinet approved setting aside 10.3 billion won ($9 million) in a reserve budget to replace the Japanese fund, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

The budget will be drawn from the gender ministry’s fund for gender equality, and the government will come up with plans on how to spend it following consultation with the Japanese government.

“[Seoul] decided to replenish the Japanese fund of 1 billion yen with its own government budget in its first step to follow through with the review of the result of the [Korea-Japan] agreement,” Minister Chung Hyun-back said.

“The ministry will continue to take actions to follow through with the review of the result from the perspective of the victims,” the minister said, also vowing policy efforts to restore the reputation and the dignity of the victims.

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