Japan's PM Says Japan Will Not Provide New Compensation for Korean Victims of Wartime Sexual Slavery
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is standing firm. He says his government will not provide new compensation for the Korean women who served as sex slaves for the Japanese army during World War 2.
Korea says Japan's previous offerings were insufficient.
Noda told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that the Japanese people were upset by those claims.
The Japanese prime minister went on to say that the matter of wartime compensation was completely and legally resolved when the two nations normalized ties in 1965.
He also said that the Japanese government set up a fund with private donations in 1995 to provide the female vicitims with compensation.
But Seoul has repeatedly said that the fund should come directly from the government.
Noda did say, however, that he has been holding backstage negotiations with Korean government officials on the matter, but he did not elaborate on what the discussions were about.
Korea's foreign ministry, in response, said there had been no meaningful talks on the subject since July of this year.
The ministry told reporters on Monday that Tokyo has never paid any compensation to the Korean victims of sexual enslavement, based on its legal liability.
In contrast to the Japanese prime minister's insistence, the Korean government said the issue was not discussed when the two countries negotiated for a normalization of relations back in 1965.
Seoul added that Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean women, which was clearly a crime against humanity, could not be resolved through government-level talks like the ones that took place in 1965.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of a let up in the frayed China-Japan relations.
In a surprise move, China on Monday canceled a ceremony to celebrate the 40th anniversary of normalizing its relations with Japan, which had been originally scheduled for this coming Thursday.
Japan's purchase of islands in the East China Sea, claimed by both Japan and China, earlier this month has enraged China.
Over the past week, anti-Japanese demonstrations took place in more than 100 cities in China, Japanese factories were burned down and Chinese patrol ships entered territorial waters near the disputed island chain, known as Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China.
In efforts to patch up the frayed bilateral ties, the Japanese government sent its Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai to Beijing Monday.
Kawai is expected to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, on Tuesday.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org