Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Mainichi Calls for Abe to Attend PyeongChang Olympics

Mainichi Calls for Abe to Attend PyeongChang Olympics

South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Wednesday called for a "heartfelt apology" from Japan to the victims of wartime sex slavery, condemning a 2015 agreement as a "wrongful" solution.

Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula and the "comfort women" issue is especially touchy.

The ministry, however, said it would not seek to renegotiate the deal.

But it said it would no longer use Japanese money to compensate the survivors. And Japan, increasingly anxious about digital threats from the likes of North Korea and China, is turning to the Baltic state for cooperation in fears of massive harm should such critical infrastructure as nuclear power plants be targeted.

Moon said at the time that a grave fault was found in procedures and contents of the 2015 negotiations between the two governments that proved to be a costly blunder. Keeping this promise is an worldwide and universal principle.

"This issue can not be resolved through a give-and-take deal between governments struck over the victims' head", he said. Following the ministry's announcement, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said that Tokyo could not accept South Korea's demands for additional measures. But the South Korean government has no closure.

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Moon invited Abe to attend the PyeongChang Olympics to be held here next month, but he will reportedly not attend the opening ceremony in what could be a sign of Japan's unease over latest developments regarding the deal.

Japan's foreign ministry press secretary Norio Maruyama told reporters in Tallinn that "step by step we understand which way North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can be a useful entity for Japan and in which area can Japan be useful for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation". The US allies are key to efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

But tensions are not likely to deteriorate further, given Japan's reaction was not "stronger" than expected, another expert said.

"I think that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation centre provides us with a kind of information and a way we can cooperate together", he added.

Moon had lambasted the agreement on the campaign trail and was elected president in May after Park was impeached and jailed over a massive corruption scandal. He has pursued a "two track" approach of separating historical issues from current affairs to build a "future-oriented" relationship with Japan.

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