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LDP resolution seeks gov't calls for removal of 'comfort women' statue in Seoul

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Jan. 26 held a joint meeting attended by its Foreign Affairs Division, and compiled a resolution in support of an accord forged in December last year between Japan and South Korea over the issue of so-called "comfort women." At the same time, the resolution calls on the government to ask the South Korean government to remove a statue symbolizing comfort women from in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

    Participants argued that the statue "damages the peace and dignity of the overseas diplomatic mission." The panel will submit the resolution to the government in the near future.

    On the accord between Japan and South Korea, the resolution states, "The political decision of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and (South Korean) President Park Geun-hye is extremely important. The opinion emerged that the agreement should be appreciated in light of the situation in northeast Asia." It adds, "The party will support the future response of the Japanese government to the fullest extent," and states that "it is essential for both sides to steadily enforce" the accord. The resolution additionally requests that ongoing checks be made to confirm whether South Korea will carry out the agreement.

    Regarding support for former comfort women, with the Japanese government set to contribute about 1 billion yen to a fund to be set up by the South Korean government, the resolution requests that Japan and South Korea earnestly discuss the issue, and that "the responsibility to provide an explanation to the people of Japan be fulfilled."

    Some of the LDP members including Policy Research Council chairwoman Tomomi Inada originally said that the relocation of the statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul was a major premise in Japan's provision of roughly 1 billion yen for the fund, and had sought for this to be stated in the resolution. However, Seishiro Eto, chairman of the party's Headquarters for Regional Diplomatic and Economic Partnership, was wary of the resolution being turned into something criticizing the Japan-South Korea accord, and negotiations on its content subsequently became snagged. On Jan. 14, however, former Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshitaka Sakurada drew fire by saying former comfort women had been engaged in "business." It was accordingly decided by a majority that the party should clarify its stance that the LDP as a party supports the accord.

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