The second round of reconciliation talks over the sexual abuse of South Korean women committed by Japanese imperial soldiers in World War II are scheduled to be held on December 15, Japanese media reported Friday.
Seoul hosted the first round of talks in mid-November between Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian affairs bureau chief Kimihiro Ishikane and South Korean Foreign Ministry’s northeast Asian chief Lee Sang-deok. Both diplomats are expected at the second round.
The December 15 timetable was agreed on at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye on November 2, the Kyodo news service said, citing diplomatic sources. The two leaders met for the first time since either of them took office in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Up to 400,000 women are estimated to have been forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories seven decades ago. Various reports on the survivors found that the so-called comfort women in Japan’s former colonies, most of them from Korea, China and the Philippines, were often beaten and tortured.
The wartime treatment of Korean women remains a thorn in the country’s relations with Japan. Seoul demands Tokyo to place additional efforts in restoring the women’s honor, while Tokyo deems its previous apologies have closed the matter.
Japan paid the equivalent of $500 million to South Korea in reparations as part of a 1965 bilateral agreement declaring the settlement of past disputes.
Japan is expected to seek guarantees that South Korea would refrain from raising the issue in the future and dismantle monuments dedicated to the comfort women.