December 30, 2015 09:40
The government is trying to seek understanding from the victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery over a statement signed between the two countries on the way to settling the long-smouldering issue.
Many people besides the victims have complained that the statement is deliberately mealy-mouthed and dodges important issues.
The victims are reportedly upset because they were not consulted ahead of the deal despite campaigning intrepidly for decades.
Vice Foreign Ministers Lim Sung-nam and Cho Tae-yul on Tuesday visited the shelters for the elderly victims in Seoul and Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, which are run by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
The officials told victims they quite understand that they may be disappointed by the deal, "but the government tried its best to restore your honor and dignity."
"What's important is that the Japanese government admitted responsibility, apologized and promised to take follow up on the deal," they said. These three points are definite signs of progress.
But some victims remained unconvinced, saying the government struck a backroom deal with Japan and deliberately kept them in the dark.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will also go and visit the victims soon, a government source said.
The Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family will set up a foundation that will support the victims from the additional money Japan pledged under the deal.
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