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S Korea urges Japan to take "sincere" measures on former sex slaves

(Xinhua)

08:28, September 02, 2011

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea called in a Japanese diplomat in Seoul Thursday to urge Japan to take more serious action in compensating Korean women who were exploited as sex slaves under Japan's colonial rule.

The foreign ministry called in Nobukatsu Kanehara, Japan's deputy chief of mission here earlier in the day, to call for "more active and sincere" measures to address the issue, ministry spokesman Cho Byung-je said during a press briefing.

The move came two days after the Constitutional Court said the South Korean government violated fundamental rights of women, by making no conspicuous efforts to push Japan to compensate the former sex slaves, who are often euphemistically called "comfort women".

The top court dismissed the South Korean government's claims that the issue could turn into exhausting legal battles and cause a diplomatic row between Seoul and Tokyo, saying such "vague claims" cannot account for Seoul's inaction on the issue.

Korean wartime sex slaves, whose number the government in the 1990s said stood at 234, were among some 100,000 to 200,000 Asian women forced to provide sexual service to the Imperial Japanese Army.

Japan claims its 1965 Treaty of Basic Relations with South Korea, which formally normalized their ties, already addressed all legal issues concerning the comfort women.

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