SEOUL, March 1 (UPI) -- Japan has no right to close the book on the issue of its wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, South Korea's President said Thursday.
Marking the 99th anniversary of South Korea's March First Movement, when tens of thousands of Koreans declared independence from Japanese occupation, President Moon Jae-in called on Japan to sincerely reflect on its wrongdoings of the past.
Moon spoke at Seodaemun Prison in central Seoul where the Japanese government detained and persecuted nearly 100,000 Korean independence fighters, Yonhap reported.
The president reiterated his stance that a 2015 deal reached between the previous Park Geun-hye administration and Tokyo to settle the wartime sex slavery issue had been flawed, as discovered by a government panel investigation.
"In resolving the issue of sex slaves, the Japanese government as the perpetrator cannot say it is over," he said in his televised speech.
He said a true resolution for the now-elderly victims was a reflection of the "unfortunate past" and a sincere apology.
"Japan must face up to the truth of history and justice based on the universal conscience of humanity," he said.
Moon also called for Japan to retract its territorial claim on South Korea's eastern islets of Dokdo.
"Dokdo was the first to be taken by Japan during its invasion of Korea. Tokyo's denial of this fact is no different from refusing to reflect on its imperialistic aggression," the President added.
Following Moon's address, Japan strongly protested against the remarks on Japan's wartime sex slavery of Korean women, the Japan Times reported.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo issued a complaint to the South Korean government, calling Moon's speech "deeply regrettable" and "unacceptable."
Suga stressed that the two governments had reached a final and irreversible deal in 2015 and called on Seoul to stick to the original agreement.