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UN panel concerned at lack of reparations to ex-'comfort women'

GENEVA (Kyodo) -- A U.N. committee on Monday expressed concern that Japan's reparations to Korean women who were forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels are insufficient.

The U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances unveiled the view in a report on Japan's implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which took effect in 2010.

The report said the committee is "concerned at the lack of adequate reparations to the victims...and regrets the state party's position that the issue 'is resolved finally and irreversibly.'"

An official of Japan's permanent mission to the international organizations in Geneva said the report paints a one-sided picture of the so-called comfort women issue based on misunderstanding and prejudice, and called the depiction highly regrettable.

The official also said that Tokyo has lodged a complaint with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights about the report, which has no binding force.

Japan and South Korea agreed in 2015 to "finally and irreversibly" settle the comfort women issue, and Japan has stressed the importance of following through on the agreement.

However, sources familiar with bilateral ties said last week that South Korea has notified Japan of its intention to dissolve a foundation set up as part of the agreement to resolve the issue.

The foundation was put in charge of handing out cash payments to victims and their families from a 1 billion yen (about $8.8 million) fund provided by Japan, but had been inactive amid a public outcry in South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae In told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September that the foundation was not functioning as intended and suggested it may need to be discontinued.

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