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Civic groups from two Koreas to discuss "comfort women" issue Updated: 2014-03-28 06:28:17 KST

Civic groups from two Koreas to discuss
In a rare show of cooperation, civic groups from the two Koreas will seek ways to demand Japan issue an official apology for its wartime sexual enslavement of women in the early 20th century.
The Seoul-based Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan said Thursday that it will meet with a North Korean civic group at the end of this month in the Chinese city of Shenyang.
Around 200-thousand women, mostly Korean, were forced to serve the Japanese military during the Second World War, and many are still waiting for a heartfelt apology from Japan.
The planned conference will be the first time in eight years for the Koreas put their heads together on the matter.
An official at Seoul's Unification Ministry said the South Korean civic group proposed to counter Japan's ongoing denial of its wartime crimes together and that the North agreed.
Twenty-four South Koreans, including one survivor of Japan's military sexual slavery, will meet 10 North Korean representatives.
Meanwhile, a diplomatic source said Wednesday that a Japanese government official met with a human rights activist taking care of the Korean victims for the first time last week in Seoul.
The Japanese government initially asked to meet with the comfort women to determine their demands ahead of a government-level meeting between Seoul and Tokyo next month.
The Japanese official reportedly said Tokyo wants to resolve the diplomatic feud, stressing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed his sincerity about the matter by stating his willingness to uphold Japan's landmark 1993 apology to the comfort women.
In response, the South Korean activist urged Japan to acknowledge Tokyo's legal responsibility for forcing the victims into sexual slavery.
The activist also said the Japanese leader should apologize to the victims on the international stage.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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