TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe restated Tokyo’s opposition to revising a 2015 agreement on “comfort women” in talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, calling the deal a promise between nations and the basis of two-way ties.
Abe also said, however, that the two leaders had agreed the two countries needed to create a “future-oriented” relationship, which Moon also underscored in opening remarks at their meeting in Pyeongchang, where Abe is to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.
Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula and the use of comfort women, Japan’s euphemism for women - many of them Korean - forced to work in its wartime brothels.
A renewed feud over the issue has frayed ties even as America’s two key Asian allies confront the challenge of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Under the 2015 deal reached under Abe and Moon’s predecessor, Japan apologized to former comfort women and provided a 1 billion yen ($9 million) fund to help them.
South Korea earlier this year said the agreement failed to meet victims’ needs and called for more steps, but Japan insists the agreement should not be changed.
“The Japan-South Korea agreement is one that finally and irreversibly resolves (the issue). It is a promise between the two countries and the foundation of our bilateral ties,” Abe told reporters after meeting Moon in Pyeongchang, where he will attend the opening of the Winter Olympic Games.