June 23, 2014 11:50
The Korean government plans to take aggressive steps in response to a stealthy campaign by the rightwing Japanese government to distance itself from an earlier apology for wartime atrocities
The current gambit is a report by a team of government-appointed experts stating that a 1993 apology for the atrocities only took its present form under pressure from Korea. The apology by then-Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono admits that the Imperial Army was involved, directly and indirectly, in forcing Asian women into sexual slavery for troops.
In a peculiar move, Japan's Foreign Ministry swiftly posted an English translation of the report on its website on Friday, even though it was compiled under the prime minister's office.
Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se chaired a meeting on Sunday contemplating a response. "A revision or any attempt to discredit the Kono Statement is totally unacceptable," a government official here said.
The Foreign Ministry is calling in Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho on Monday to lodge a formal protest and call on Tokyo to take sincere steps to compensate the former sex slaves.
At the same time, Seoul hopes to appeal to the U.S., China and the UN to step up pressure on Japan to halt the revisionist moves. Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong will raise the issue during Korea-U.S. strategic talks in Washington from Monday to Thursday.
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