20:44 GMT27 November 2020
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Tokyo does not accept any possible changes to the 2015 agreement with Seoul on the issue of the so-called comfort women, who were forced to work in brothels for the Japanese army during World War II, and this has been long affecting the relations between the two countries, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Wednesday.

    "The position of the Government of Japan is that if the Government of the ROK [Republic of Korea] attempts based on this report to change an agreement which has already been implemented, the Japan-ROK relationship will become unmanageable; therefore such an attempt cannot be acceptable whatsoever. The Government of Japan will strongly urge the ROK to ensure that the Government of the ROK continues to steadily implement the agreement as a 'final and irreversible' agreement," the statement said.

    READ MORE: Japan's Osaka to Cut Ties With San Francisco Over 'Comfort Women' Statue

    Earlier in the day, the South Korean taskforce to review the agreement on the comfort women issue published a report criticizing the content of the agreement itself. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said that the agreement did not properly take into account the aspirations of Korean women, who had become victims of sexual slavery.

    Comfort women is a term used to describe women forced to work in wartime brothels for the Japanese military during World War II. With the exact number of women involved in the practice still a subject of debate, most of the women were taken from countries occupied by Japan between 1932 and 1945, mainly Korea, China, and the Philippines. Up to 200,000 Korean women became victims of Japanese sexual slavery, with only 37 of them still confirmed alive.

    In December 2015, Japan and South Korea reached a deal on the issue, ending the long-standing diplomatic feud over "comfort women," with both sides having agreed to set up a foundation for sexually enslaved Korean women under the deal, which the Japanese government poured 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) into for the support of the surviving victims and their families. In December 2016, civic group activists erected the comfort woman statue next to the Japanese General Consulate in Busan, which provoked strong criticism from Japanese authorities.

    Related:

    Japan Ambassador Returns to S. Korea Despite Comfort Women Statue Row
    Seoul, Tokyo Fail to Settle Comfort Women Dispute at G20 Meeting
    'Comfort Women' Statue 'Undesirable' Outside Japan's Consulate - S Korean FM
    Tags:
    brothel, comfort women, Taro Kono, Japan, South Korea
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