The Korean government may fall in line with the U.S. State Department in abandoning the euphemism "comfort women" for women drafted as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II, Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said last Friday.
Kim said the government "will consider using the term 'sex slaves," when asked about the matter by Democratic United Party lawmaker Shim Jae-kwon in the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee.
"I understand that the term 'comfort women' was coined in the past by taking into account the victims' opinions," he added, "but the government is ready to change the term after consultation with the victims."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told department officials to use the grammatically dubious but factually more accurate term "enforced sex slaves," instead of "comfort women," which is literally translated from the Japanese euphemism.
Meanwhile, Kim confirmed in the same session that Korea is claiming sovereignty over a potential oil field known as Sector 7 on an underwater continental shelf stretching south of Jeju. "We're submitting supporting documents to the UN. Japan is expected to raise objection, so it seems important to engage in talks with Japan over this matter."