South Korea's foreign ministry slammed Japan on Friday after the results of Tokyo's review of its landmark apology to the so-called comfort women.
"It's regrettable Japan ignored Seoul's calls that a review of the Kono Statement would be meaningless and unnecessary, when it already said it would uphold the statement. But it went ahead with the re-examination."
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The Kono Statement was issued back in 1993, by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, and acknowledged, for the first time, the forced sexual enslavement of some 200-thousand women by the Japanese military during the Second World War.
In February, the Japanese government began re-examining how the statement was put together.
Presenting the results on Friday, Japan claimed Korea played a role in the text of the Kono Statement, and said the testimonies given by 16 Korean comfort women, which were the basis of the statement, had not been verified.
Japan went onto say Seoul and Tokyo agreed, just before the Kono Statement was announced, to keep their dealings a secret.
In response, Korea said it had unofficially offered its opinion on the statement at Japan's insistent request and that the testimonies of the comfort women are still the strongest pieces of evidence.
"The testimonies of 16 surviving comfort women are clear proof of the Japanese military's use of forced sexual enslavement, stronger than any official document."
South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong is expected to address the issue when he meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Washington next week, and express concerns that Japan's denial of its historical wrongdoings is badly damaging regional stability.
Hwang Sung-hee Arirang News.