Japan rejects S.Korean call for extra steps over 'comfort women'

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The president said the issue can not be resolved in a mere "give-and-take manner", and called on Tokyo to "accept the truth" and work with the worldwide community to ensure nothing like that ever happens again.

South Korean President Moon Jae In has urged Japan to make a honest apology over the lingering issue of wartime sex slaves even as he conceded that a 2015 "final and irreversible" accord to end the dispute was not renegotiable.

"What the victims all wish for is a genuine apology [of Japan's] own accord", Kang added.

Moon said he thinks the victims will forgive and this issue can be completely resolved when Japan accepts the truth, makes a heartfelt apology to the victims, learn lessons and cooperates with the worldwide community in preventing a recurrence of such an incident. Under the agreement, Japan apologized to victims and provided 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a fund to support them. "Victims want an apology from Japan and legal compensation", he said. Japan's foreign minister, Taro Kono, said that the deal was a promise between two nations, irrespective of changes in government, and that he will issue a strong complaint to Seoul.

Japan called Tuesday for continued pressure on North Korea regardless of the first formal meeting between the two Koreas in over two years. "It's very important to maintain good relations with Japan", he said.

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"At a time when we are confronting the threat from North Korea, the Japan-South Korean agreement is an indispensable base for Japan-South Korean cooperation in various fields and the creation of a future-oriented relationship", Kono said. "The victims were disappointed by the government's decision not to seek a renegotiation of the deal", said Ahn Shin-kwon, director of the House of Sharing, a nursing home for nine surviving victims. The comments came after South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Seoul was not seeking to renegotiate the agreement, but that Tokyo needed to make further efforts to help the victims "regain honor and dignity and heal wounds in their hearts", Reuters reports. But the Japanese government is considering not accepting the invitation.

Instead of using Tokyo's fund, however, Seoul will now pay victims with its own money.

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.

South Korea has said that it will take a "two-track" approach in which it will approach the historical issue separately from diplomatic and economic relations.

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