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S. Korea urges Japan to acknowledge painful history

March 1, 2014 at 2:46 PM   |   Comments

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SEOUL, March 1 (UPI) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye Saturday urged Japan to confront its history in an effort to mend strained relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

Park's comments came during a ceremony to mark South Korea's 1919 uprising against Japanese colonizers, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

South Korea was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945. During World War II, more than 200,000 young women, many of whom South Korean, were forced into sex slavery at the Japanese military brothels.

"I believe the Japanese government should make the right and courageous decision so that the two countries will be able to overcome the painful history and move toward a future of new prosperity," Park was quoted by Yonhap as saying.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday the Japanese government plans to re-examine a 1993 statement issued by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that acknowledges that women were forced into prostitution at Japanese military brothels, the Japan Times reported.

The Kono statement is based on testimony of 16 South Korean former "comfort women" who said they were forced into prostitution.

"We will re-examine it while maintaining the confidential nature of the testimony. Then the administration will consider how to handle this issue again," Suga said.

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