Issue of WWII Sex Slaves May Be 'Finally Resolved'
But the wording of Japan, S. Korea's deal is a little vague
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2015 6:20 AM CST
Updated Dec 28, 2015 6:59 AM CST
Remedios Tecson, 85, a Filipino "comfort woman" during World War II, displays a placard as she joins a rally outside the Japanese Embassy in Manila in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
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(Newser) – South Korea and Japan say they've reached a deal to resolve a disturbing legacy of World War II—the issue of sex slaves, or "comfort women," forced to work in Japanese brothels for soldiers. An estimated 200,000 women, many of them Korean, were forced to take part, though only 46 remain alive today in South Korea, reports the BBC. Under the deal, Japan will pay $8.3 million to a fund to help victims, though the New York Times says the agreement has vague wording that doesn't "clarify whether the responsibility that the Japanese government acknowledged was legal or moral." Still, the countries say that if Japan does what it has promised, the issue will be "finally and irreversibly resolved." But the newspaper quotes one survivor who says it does not go far enough.

"I will ignore it completely,” says 88-year-old Lee Yong-soo, who wants Japan to unequivocally admit legal responsibility. The deal doesn't go that far, though it comes with an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: He "expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women," says Japan's foreign minister. South Korea says it will now consider removing a statue memorializing victims erected by activists outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011. The pact is expected to clear the way for stronger military relations between the two nations, a development that Reuters notes will be welcomed by the US because of an increasingly aggressive China.