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Japan's Abe Expects South Korea to Stick to Deal on Comfort Women

Japan's Abe Expects South Korea to Stick to Deal on Comfort Women”

Both Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine in Seoul and the consul-general in Busan will be temporarily recalled, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.

The term "comfort women" is a euphemism for girls and women, from South Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere, who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the second World War.

"We regret that the talks on the Korea-Japan currency swap deal was suspended due to political and diplomatic issues", the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a statement, adding, "It is desirable that the two countries continue bilateral economic and financial cooperation regardless of political and diplomatic relations".

Japan withdrew its ambassador to South Korea Friday over a statue symbolizing "Comfort women" was placed outside the Japanese embassy in Busan. Critics, however, argue that the deal does not go almost far enough to provide direct compensation for the women. There are believed to be 46 surviving victims in South Korea. Tokyo last recalled its envoy to Seoul in August 2012, when then-South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited a pair of disputed islands.

South Korean activists opposed to the 2015 agreement installed the statue in Busan late last month, one year after the pact was reached.

Japan says the statue violates a previous agreement on the issue.

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The 1.5m (5ft) tall bronze statue depicts a young woman sitting in a chair barefoot.

Kim Bok-dong (left), a former "comfort woman", approaches a statue of herself during the weekly rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday.

Another 37 are said to exist in South Korea, while in Australia a similar statue has sparked a row between Korean and Japanese community groups.

The statue in Busan was originally removed by city officials on December 28 soon after it was installed.

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said in a statement Friday that South Korea and Japan should both carry out their agreement of 2015.

The "comfort women" statues issue has always been a matter of serious concern for Japan.



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