- Title: Japan protests against South Korea over 'comfort women' statue
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - 2014) (REUTERS) JAPAN'S PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICIAL RESIDENCE THE JAPANESE FLAG
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 03:56
- Keywords: Japan South Korea Comfort Women Statue Diplomacy
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN / BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN / BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0025XXZPDX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Japan will foresee high-level economic talks including a currency swap deal with South Korea in response to the installation of a 'comfort women' statue late last year in Busan near the Japanese consulate, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday (January 6).
The two nation's ties have been long plagued by the issue of "comfort women", as those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels were euphemistically known.
"The installation of the statute near the Japanese consulate in Busan will not have a positive impact on Japan-South Korea relations, and it is strongly regrettable as we believe it is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
"In response, as a temporary measure, the staff at the Japanese consulate in Busan will refrain from participating in local-related work, Japanese ambassador to South Korea Yasumasa Nagamine and head of Japanese consulate in Busan Yasuhiro Kosuke will temporarily come back to Japan, the Japan-South Korea currency swap deal talks will be halted, Japan-South Korea high-level economic talks will be foreseen, these are the measures we agreed to take," he added.
Scholars continue to debate the number of women exploited. Activists in South Korea say there may have been as many as 200,000 Korean victims, only a few of whom came forward.
Only 46 survivors remain of the 238 women in South Korea who came forward, and their average age is 89.
The bronze statue of a barefoot teenage girl in a traditional "hanbok" dress, sitting on a chair with fists clenched on her lap, symbolizes the women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War Two, and was erected in front of the Japanese Consulate on December 30, 2016.
The South Korean civic group held an unveiling ceremony of statue the next day, in the city of Busan.
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