Constitutional Court to rule on 2015 Seoul-Tokyo deal on wartime sex slaves

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The  Korea Times – South Korea’s Constitutional Court plans to deliver a decision Friday afternoon on whether the government’s controversial deal with Japan in 2015 on Tokyo’s World War II sexual enslavement of Korean women is constitutional after nearly four years of deliberations.

The adjudication, due in a hearing set to start at 2 p.m., comes after 26 victims and 12 family members of deceased “comfort women” filed a complaint with the court against the deal in 2016.

In December 2015, the government of then-President Park Geun-hye reached an agreement with Japan to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the “comfort women” issue.

The deal calls for the establishment of a foundation dedicated to supporting surviving victims. Tokyo contributed 1 billion yen (US$9.1 million) to the foundation.

The petitioners said the deal violates the basic rights of comfort women who want Japan to take legal responsibility for the atrocities.

Seoul’s foreign ministry said the deal, which is not a state-to-state treaty, is not subject to a formal review by the Constitutional Court. In June 2018, the government asked the court to turn down the petition.

The liberal Moon Jae-in government dismissed the deal as “seriously flawed” and disbanded the foundation last year. Tokyo has protested that move, saying it’s a breach of the agreement.

The court’s decision is expected to have a significant impact on diplomatic ties between the neighboring countries.

Bilateral relations remain frayed over the issue of compensating Koreans who performed forced labor in Japan and Tokyo’s export curbs against Seoul. (Yonhap)

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