34 former 'comfort women' express intent to accept Japan's compensation

Kevin Song, Dec. 23, 2016, 9:51 a.m.

SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- A foundation dedicated to supporting South Korean women forced into wartime brothels for the Japanese military said Friday that five more victims have expressed their intent to accept compensation disbursed by the Japanese government, bring the total to 34 out of the 46 women still alive.

The Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, launched in July by the South Korean government, previously announced in October that 29 former "comfort women" had said they would received the money.

Under a landmark deal with South Korea, Japan expressed an apology for its colonial-era atrocities and agreed to deposit 1 billion yen (US$9.69 million) into the foundation to support the surviving victims.

The deal reached on Dec. 28, last year, marked a milestone in Seoul-Tokyo ties often marred by history-related issues.

On Friday, the foundation convened a board meeting and decided to pay 100 million won in cash to two of the five women by the end of this year. For the remaining three, it is taking steps for the payment.

The foundation, which has finished giving compensation to the other 29 women, is in contact with the remaining 12 comfort women to confirm whether they will accept.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese troops during World War II. Most of those in South Korea that are still alive are in their late 80s.

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