South Korean Gender Equality and Family Minister Kang Eun-hee, left, meets elderly Korean women, former 'comfort women', at the House of Sharing, a shelter for the women, in September. Some 200,000 Asian women, mostly Koreans, forcibly served as sex slaves, euphemistically called "comfort women," for the Japanese army during World War II. Photo courtesy Yonhap News Agency/EPA
SEOUL, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Under a deal struck between Japan and South Korea last year, 34 former Korean "comfort women" who were sex slaves for Japanese soldiers in World War II will receive millions in compensation, officials said.
The Japanese government agreed to pay about $9.6 million to 34 surviving women, most in their late 80s, who were forced into brothels for members of the Japanese military. The South Korean government said it has identified 46 comfort women who are still alive and others may still agree to accept their share of the reparations.
The Japanese government has thus far paid about $85,000 per person to 18 former comfort women. Families of another 199 women who have since died have received $17,000 each under terms of an agreement reached last December.
South Korea set up an agency, the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, the mission of which is to restore the women's dignity and facilitate the transfer of funds.
Under terms of the agreement, the Japanese government also issued a formal apology for its colonial-era atrocities, including the sexual enslavement of women, most of whom were from South Korea. Historians estimate at its peak, there were 200,000 comfort women enslaved in Japanese brothels, most of which were Korean.