South Korean Foreign Ministry Upholds 2015 Comfort Women Agreement After Court Ruling

SEOUL - In the wake of a recent Seoul High Court ruling, South Korea's foreign ministry affirmed its commitment to a 2015 agreement with Japan regarding wartime sex slaves.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the department is currently examining the details of the high court's decision. On Thursday, the Seoul High Court overturned a lower court's decision and ruled in favor of the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery, ordering Japan to compensate each of the 16 victims with 200 million won (US$153,800).

The 2015 deal between South Korea and Japan was intended to "finally and irreversibly" settle the issue of wartime sex slaves, also known as comfort women. Under this agreement, Japan apologized for its colonial-era wrongdoings and contributed 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million) to a foundation supporting the victims. Despite this, the issue remains a sensitive topic in South Korea, with deep-seated resentment towards Japan for its harsh colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

The Japanese government has expressed strong objections to the recent court ruling, summoning South Korean Ambassador Yun Duk-min to Japan and demanding immediate action from Seoul to rectify what it views as breaches of international law.

In a significant move earlier in March, South Korea announced its decision to compensate the victims independently, without seeking Japanese contributions, leading to a noticeable improvement in Seoul-Tokyo relations, including the resumption of reciprocal visits by their leaders.

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