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S Korea, Japan to hold talks on 'comfort women'

2015-01-16 13:08 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Senior officials from South Korea and Japan will hold talks in Tokyo on Monday to discuss the " comfort women" issue, Japan's sex slavery atrocity during the World War Two, Seoul's foreign ministry said Friday.

Lee Sang-deok, director general of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's Northeast Asian affairs bureau, will tour Japan to meet with Junichi Ihara, chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

The meeting comes after South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for Japan's attitude change toward history in her New Year' s press conference on Monday.

Park said a right atmosphere has not been formed yet to hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, citing little advance in the director general-level meeting over the "comfort women" issue.

According to historians, at least 200,000 women from the Korean Peninsula, China, Indonesia and the Philippines were coerced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese forces, during the War time.

The director general-level talks have been deadlocked, and Park has rejected to sit down face-to-face with Abe for his perception of history.

Next week's meeting would mark sixth of this kind since the two countries agreed to have such talks every month in 2014. The first meeting was held in April 2014, but no dialogue was held in June and August.

In June, the Abe cabinet announced the result of its review on the Kono Statement, an official apology made by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993 for the wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.

The review result said South Korea intervened in the wording of the apology, indicating that the Kono Statement was the consequence of closed-door political dealings.

On Aug. 15, Abe sent an offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine to mark the 69th anniversary of Japan's surrender in the World War Two, stirring strong backlashes from neighbor countries, especially from China and South Korea. The shrine is widely seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

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