Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

China urges Japan to responsibly deal with comfort women issue

China urges Japan to responsibly deal with comfort women issue

Officials noticed the panel was missing from the Boeing 747, one of two jetliners used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for foreign trips, after it flew from Tokyo to its base on the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, a spokesman for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.

"This is not only related to Japan's image, but also to historical justice", the spokesperson said.

Abe's remarks, the first from the Japanese leader since South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the apology during a recent New Year's press conference, came despite Seoul not requesting a bilateral deal on the issue be renegotiated, Xinhua news agency reported.

The 2015 agreement was "a promise between the two nations. We can not accept South Korea's unilateral demands for additional measures", Abe told reporters. Follow-up measures for victims of Japan's sexual enslavement, which the Korean government called for, are likely to be discussed during the meeting. Keeping this promise is an worldwide and universal principle. "It is also important to deal with Korea's relationship with Japan carefully".

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

"This issue can not be resolved through a give-and-take deal between governments struck over the victims' head", he said.

Moon invited Abe to attend the PyeongChang Olympics to be held here next month, but he will reportedly not attend the opening ceremony in what could be a sign of Japan's unease over latest developments regarding the deal.

The re-emergence of a long-simmering issue has poured cold water over improving bilateral ties, as the two United States allies seek closer cooperation to cope with regional security threats such as North Korea. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary later played down the report, saying it was not yet decided.

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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