S. Korea, Japan to Hold Sex Slavery Talks
    2014-04-13 20:12:10     Xinhua       Web Editor: Luo Dan
South Korea and Japan decided to hold director general-level talks in Seoul next week to discuss the issue of Korean women forced into sex slavery in the Japanese military brothels during the World War II, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

Lee Sang-deok, director-general of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, and Junichi Ihara, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau will attend the meeting next Wednesday as chief representative of each side.

The ministry said Japan has accepted South Korea's requirements that the talks should be exclusively focused on "comfort women," a euphemism of wartime sex slavery. Japan previously hoped to discuss a range of bilateral issues at the meeting.

More than 200,000 young women, many of them South Koreans, were forced into the sex slavery at the Japanese military brothels during the devastating world war triggered by the Japanese militarists. Among the 237 South Korean women who identified themselves as former sex slaves, only 55 are still alive.

South Korea's foreign ministry said foreign ministries of both sides have also planned to hold some other levels of official talks in future.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Seoul may insist on solving the "comfort women" issues according to the international law. It is likely to repeatedly call on Japan to resolve the issue through official apology and compensation.

But Japan always argues that all the liabilities stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula were settled through the 1965 normalization treaty. Yonhap expected that it was difficult for the two sides to narrow their gaps at the meeting.

It added that the talks, the first official attempt by the two governments to tackle the "comfort women" issue, will be a chance to repair the frayed ties between Seoul and Tokyo ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's scheduled visit to Asia in late April.

Japan's relations with neighboring South Korea and China have been strained over Japan's wavering repentance of its war crimes, including comfort women issue.
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