South Korea Still To Determine The Fate Of Japan's Fund For Wartime Sex Slaves

Heather Cheong, Jan. 23, 2018, 9:34 a.m.

South Korea has yet to determine the fate of a fund worth 1 billion yen (US$9 million) paid by Japan under a bilateral agreement to settle the issue of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, according to the foreign ministry Tuesday. "There's no final (government) stance made with regard to whether to disband the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation within this year," foreign ministry spokesman Nok Kyu-duk said in a press briefing.

He was responding to a press question on Gender Equality and Family Minister Chung Hyun-back's remarks in a press interview that she wants to break up the foundation in charge of executing the Japanese fund.

Following the bilateral deal inked in December 2015, Japan created the fund to help financially support Korean victims of the wartime atrocity.

But the new Moon Jae-in government suspended the operation of the South Korean foundation in charge of the Japanese fund after declaring that the 2015 deal was seriously flawed.

"The relevant ministry plans to come up with a decision on the fate of the foundation having broadly taken input from victims, related civic groups and the public," Noh said. "Currently, what action the government would take on the issue is in a review process."

The government will also consult with Japan about how to handle the 1 billion-yen fund, he added.

"The government (believes) that the wartime sex slave issue cannot be resolved through the agreement. Having made the stance, the government plans to resolve the issue based on a victim-oriented principle," the spokesman said.

The government will follow its principle that this historical issue should be handled harmoniously in consideration of the South Korea-Japan relationship, he added.

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