Abe denounces S. Korea’s decision to dissolve Reconciliation and Healing Foundation

Posted on : 2018-11-22 16:48 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Japan calls for S. Korea to implement comfort women agreement reached under Park admin.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

About an hour after the South Korean government announced the dissolution of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation on Nov. 21, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that “relations between states don’t work when international agreements aren’t kept.”

“[The comfort women issue] was finally and irreversibly resolved by our agreement with South Korea three years ago. Japan has faithfully carried out its promises as a member of the international community,” Abe said.

“We hope for responsible action [from South Korea as well] as a member of the international community.”

About 20 minutes after the South Korean government’s announcement, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Lee Su-hoon, South Korea’s ambassador to Japan, to lodge a protest. Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Akiba Takeo expressed his regrets to Lee, according to a report by NHK. Foreign Minister Taro Kono also said that “Japan simply cannot accept [the decision to dissolve the foundation].”

Japan is expected to respond by calling for the implementation of the agreement rather than its nullification. “Japan has carried out everything that it promised, and the international community considers it important for South Korea to do the same. We continue to urge the South Korean government to faithfully implement the agreement,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said during a press conference.

When asked whether Japan sees the dissolution of the foundation as being the abrogation of the agreement, Suga hinted that Japan will not make such an interpretation. “President Moon Jae-in has indicated diplomatically that this does not represent a demand to scrap or nullify the agreement,” Suga said.

Suga declined to comment specifically about how the 1 billion yen (US$8.85 million) donated by Japan would be dealt with and only said that Japan is not considering the option of taking the money back.

When asked about Japan’s relations with South Korea, Suga said, “This is a difficult situation, but we remain committed to making an appropriate response based on our consistent position on the comfort women issue and the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling [about compensation for conscript workers].”

By Cho Ki-weon, Tokyo correspondent

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles