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Korea to keep working on UNESCO listing of documents on comfort women

Oct. 24, 2017 - 16:30 By Yonhap
South Korea's foreign ministry said Tuesday that it is making efforts to let the world know about women forced into Japanese wartime brothels by continuing to push for a UNESCO listing of related documents.

"Our government is working on the listing with the basic attitude that a lesson should be learned from the comfort women issue," foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told reporters during a regular press briefing.

Deliberation will get under way this week in Paris on a possible listing of the documents related to the atrocities by Japan on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.


The spokesman made the remarks in response to a question seeking comments on Japan's protest against the Seoul government's push. The Japanese said that pushing for UNESCO listing of related documents might run counter to the spirit of a controversial deal reached between the two countries to address grievances on wartime atrocities committed by Japan. 

In December 2015, the two countries reached the deal under which they agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women issue. Tokyo gave an apology for its colonial-era atrocities and agreed to contribute 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) to a foundation dedicated to supporting the victims.

According to historians, more than 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were coerced into sexual servitude in front-line Japanese brothels during World War II, when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony. Those sex slaves were euphemistically called "comfort women." Japan has long attempted to whitewash the dark history.

Saying that the deal lacks a public consensus, the Moon Jae-in government is currently reviewing the process by which it was reached under the previous administration, hinting that it could be scrapped or revised. Japan says that both countries have to faithfully enforce what was agreed upon by their governments. (Yonhap)