Japan PM arrives in Europe amid N. Korea tensions

Japan PM arrives in Europe amid N. Korea tensions

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday urged Japan to deal with the comfort women issue responsibly.

Inoue suggested to Abe that Japan should not miss the current opportunities to improve Sino-Japanese relations, and should try to realize exchanges of high-level visits between China and Japan, according to Kyodo News.

The issue of women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops in World War II has roiled relations between the neighbours - both of them United States allies and both threatened by nuclear-armed North Korea - for decades.

"This is not only related to Japan's image, but also to historical justice", the spokesperson said. Keeping this promise is an global and universal principle.

His remarks came after President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday also called the 2015 deal "unsatisfactory" and demanded Japan accept historical truth and offer a honest apology to the victims in a nationally televised press conference.

Despite a recent cooling of tensions in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Shinzo Abe has insisted on "maximising pressure" on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programmes.

"During talks with leaders, I would like to confirm cooperation over urgent challenges facing the worldwide community, including the North Korean crisis, and advance economic relations", Abe told reporters at his office before departing.


The 2015 agreement was "a promise between the two nations".

"This issue can not be resolved through a give-and-take deal between governments struck over the victims' head", he said. "Japan should accept the truth, make a heartfelt apology to victims".

"We can by no means accept South Korea's unilateral request for additional measures".

Another Japanese daily, the Sankei Shimbun, reported a day earlier that Abe had decided he would not attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Games.

Mr Moon said a day later that Seoul will decide how to handle the money offered by Japan in consultations with the Japanese government and other relevent parties.

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.

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