Japan, South Korea reach deal over 'comfort women'

Japan, South Korea reach landmark deal for women abused in World War Two

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A statue representing the "comfort women" in front of Japanese embassy in Seoul, South Korea, December 28, 2015

Updated Dec 31, 2015

Japan and South Korea reached a deal on Monday to put an end to the controversy surrounding "comfort women" who were forced to work in brothels by the Japanese Army in World War Two.

The two countries are hoping to ease tense relations, as South Korea had asked for compensation for the victims for quite some time.

"Japan and South Korea will welcome a new era," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

"Both countries will cooperate together to open it," he said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with his counterpart Yun Byung-se in Seoul.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Seoul December 28, 2015

Following the meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologised to the victims.

"Abe, as the prime minister of Japan, offers from his heart an apology and reflection for everyone who suffered lots of pain and received scars that are difficult to heal physically and mentally," Kishida said.

Japan apologised and will pay 1bn yen [£6 million] to a South Korean-administered fund for the victims.

"The comfort women issue is an issue whereby many women under the then military's involvement bore deep scars to their honour and dignity, and from this perspective, the Japanese government feels acutely responsible," Kishida said in a joint news conference.

Around 200,000 women are reported to have been forced into sexual relationships with Japanese soldiers during Second World War. Only 46 of the women are still alive today.

Some of those who suffered "Comfort Women" seated during a conference in Gwangju, South Korea, December 28, 2015.
















Japan had previously claimed that a deal in 1965 led to $800 million in grants or loans to settle the issue. However, Seoul said that the treaty did not provide compensation for the war crimes or victims.

In 1993 Japan expressed "sincere apologies and remorse" to the abused women "who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."

TRTWorld and agencies