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Seoul Promises to Seek Resolution for Wartime Sex Slavery Victims

Write: 2020-08-14 15:34:04Update: 2020-08-14 17:42:33

Seoul Promises to Seek Resolution for Wartime Sex Slavery Victims

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: The South Korean government held a ceremony on Friday to commemorate victims of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement. About 100 people, including the elderly victims, attended the annual Japanese Military Comfort Women Victims Memorial Day event. President Moon Jae-in sent a video message, vowing to seek ways to resolve the issue with Japan.
Kim Bum-soo has more. 

Report: 

[Sound bite: Actualities from Japanese Military Comfort Women Victims Memorial Day (Aug. 14, 2020)]

President Moon Jae-in says the wartime sex slavery issue will only have closure when the victims are content with the solution. 

Moon on Friday addressed the thorny issue with Japan in a video message sent to an annual event commemorating the elderly victims.

[Sound bite: President Moon Jae-in (Korean/English translation)]
"Taking a victim-centered approach is the most important principle in resolving the issue. Until the grandmothers say it is alright, [the government] will seek a solution that the victims are content with. [We will] seek more surveys, research and education to straighten history so that more students and citizens can share the pain of the grandmothers and stand together with them in alliance."

The elderly victims are at the center of a bilateral dispute over Japan's  35-year-long colonial occupation of Korea, demanding Tokyo's official apology for their forced sexual enslavement. 

[Sound bite: President Moon Jae-in (Korean/English translation)]  
"I am concerned about the health of the grandmothers. [The government] will make sure that the surviving 17 elderly victims can have healthy and stable lives."

The Japanese government has consistently denied state involvement and the forced nature of wartime sex slavery. 

Historians estimate up to 200-thousand women, mostly Koreans, were conscripted to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War Two.

The government on Friday also officially opened a digital archive at www.archive814.or.kr, providing access to more than 500 files of documents and materials attesting to Japan's wartime sex slavery.

In 2017, South Korea designated August 14 as Japanese Military Comfort Women Victims Memorial Day. On that day in 1991, the late Kim Hak-sun first publicly testified about Japan operating a wartime military brothel program during World War Two. 
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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