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Japan to Provide Cash Aid to South Korean Comfort Women and their Families

by YuGee / Aug 26, 2016 06:31 AM EDT
Some South Koreans do not approve of the agreement between South Korea and Japan on the comfort women issue. (Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)

On August 25, South and Japan agreed to offer 100 million won (US $89,600) in cash to every surviving Korean comfort woman and 20 million won ($17,900) to families of the victims who already passed away.

The Korea Times reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the two parties arrived at the said agreement during a meeting of the countries' foreign ministers in Tokyo this week.

However, the group involving the comfort women and their families has reiterated that what they want is not money, but a sincere apology from Japan.

A ministry spokesman said, "The money is to heal the wounds and recover the dignity of the victims who were coerced into sexual servitude for Japanese soldiers."

The official also mentioned more detailed plans will be created on how to use the 1 billion yen (US $9.97 million) given by Japan in July to the foundation for the victims. The official said, "The foundation will measure the demands and distribute the money based on that."

During a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Japanese government endorsed the plan to provide 1 billion yen to help and support the Korean sex slavery victims and their families. The plan started during the historic deal between the two countries in December 2015.

On December 28, 2015, South Korea and Japan arrived at a deal in which the latter expressed an apology for its colonial-era inhumanities and concurred in establishing a foundation that is focused on helping the victims of sexual slavery. It also committed to providing 1 billion yen for the said foundation.

The foundation is bound to engage in projects that would help sex slavery victims, for example, providing welfare and medical services.

However, the act is still seen problematic and raised issues concerning the money that Japan offered to support the comfort women.

For the South Korean government, they see it as a form of compensation according to Japan's admission of its responsibilities for the wartime brutality, but some of the actual victims and activists claim that the foundation lacks essence as long as Japan does not admit its "legal" responsibility for the sexual slavery. 

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