January 09, 2018 10:47
The government is poised to announce its decision this afternoon on a controversial agreement with Japan that indirectly compensates victims of wartime sex slavery, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.
The announcement will come one day before President Moon Jae-in's New Year's address.
A Foreign Ministry inquiry concluded last month that the Park Geun-hye administration had been furtive about details of the December 2015 deal, which was struck without consulting the former sex slaves, and kept several promises to Tokyo secret.
Moon said a day after the task force's report, "It was an official agreement by both countries, but I have to reaffirm that the matter can't be settled like that."
A government source said, "The government will not mention nullifying the agreement or holding renegotiations, but Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will make it clear that, although the agreement was reached between the two governments, it is not enough to resolve the issue."
Kang will explain what the government plans to do with the 1 billion Japanese yen Tokyo paid into a fund for the former sex slaves.
Her ministry said the aim is to resolve the matter while "developing" bilateral ties at the same time.
Japan's rightwing government is adamant that the deal must stand, chiefly because it lets Tokyo off without admitting direct responsibility for forcing thousands of Korean and other Asian women to work in brothels for the Imperial Army.
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