Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Japan refuses South Korea's call to do more for 'comfort women'

Japan refuses South Korea's call to do more for 'comfort women'

"I want to confirm our cooperation on North Korean and other urgent issues the worldwide community faces", he told reporters before he left.

The re-emergence of a long-simmering issue has poured cold water over improving bilateral ties, as the two United States allies seek closer cooperation to cope with regional security threats such as North Korea.

Officials noticed the panel was missing from the Boeing 747, one of two jetliners used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for foreign trips, after it flew from Tokyo to its base on the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, a spokesman for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.

The government also vowed to arrange its own funds to support the victims instead of using the money offered by Japan.

He added that the issue will only be resolved if "Japan accepts the truth, makes a heartfelt apology to the victims, learns the lessons from it and prevents its recurrence".

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The December 2015 agreement was negotiated, on Seoul's side, by the previous administration of President Park Geun-hye, who is now in detention after being impeached in early 2017. "Japan must address the concerns of its Asian neighbors and the global community, and deal with them responsibly". Seoul's foreign ministry said that a trilateral meeting among South Korea, the USA and Japan is also being considered on the topic of North Korea and the latest inter-Korean talks.

As a result, the comfort women issue, which had been dormant for two years at government level, could re-ignite, straining a wide range of bilateral links that extend far beyond diplomacy.

Under the agreement reached Dec 28, 2015, South Korea and Japan promised to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the so-called comfort women issue.

"How would the world be if each new incoming leader gets to change the rules just because he doesn't like what his predecessor has set?"

Abe also expressed hope to promote economic ties with these rapidly growing countries.

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