- Title: Japan warns South Korea over possible 'comfort women' statue on disputed island
- Date: 17th January 2017
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - 2015) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE'S OFFICIAL RESIDENCE JAPANESE FLAG FLYING
- Embargoed: 31st January 2017 09:11
- Keywords: Japan South Korea Takeshima Dokdo territorial dispute comfort women island
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZGXK5H
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Japan issued a warning against South Korea over local policymakers collecting funds to place a 'comfort women' statue on the disputed islands of Takeshima or Dokdo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said during a daily news conference on Tuesday (January 17).
The move by the group of South Korean lawmakers to build a statue on the disputed island comes after Japan temporarily recalled its ambassadors to South Korea earlier this year after a 'comfort women' statue was built near the Japanese consulate in Busan city in December.
Tokyo says the statue, and another near the Japanese embassy in Seoul, violate a December 2015 agreement stating the issue - which has long plagued ties - would be "irreversibly resolved" if all conditions are met.
"Comfort women" is a term used euphemistically to describe those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels.
"The efforts to place a 'comfort women' statue on Takeshima is contradictory to our understanding of South Korea's rights over the island and it's strongly regrettable. Since the media reports, we have issued a warning against South Korea. At the same time, both countries have reached an agreement on the 'comfort women' issue, so I think it's important to act on it," Suga said.
In 2015, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to take the opportunity to boost bilateral ties following the agreement, in which Japan made an apology and promised about one billion yen ($8.3 million) for a fund to help former "comfort women."
South Korea and Japan are also locked in a territorial dispute over small islands about half way between their mainlands.
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