SEOUL, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A 97-year-old woman, a victim of Japanese wartime military sexual slavery, died of old age on Friday.
The death of Ha Jeon-yeom leaves the total number of surviving victims of Japanese military sexual slavery during World War II -- euphemistically called "comfort women" -- at 27, down from a total of 240 victims officially registered, according to Yonhap News.
Ha was forced to serve in Japanese military brothels in several places in Asia where Japanese troops fought, including Taiwan; Hainan Island and Guangdong, China; Hong Kong; and Sumatra, Indonesia, according to House of Sharing, a shelter for sexual slavery victims.
Ha returned to South Korea in 1946, a year after the war ended and had lived in Seoul. She stayed at the shelter for later years of her life.
Surviving "comfort women" and activists have been staging a protest to demand an apology from the Japanese government every Wednesday in Seoul for 28 years.
The South Korean and Japanese government reached an agreement in 2015 to resolve the issue of South Korean "comfort women" victims. Under the agreement, the Japanese government contributed some $9 million (1 billion yen) to set up a foundation that oversees compensation to surviving victims.
The South Korean government launched the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation in 2016, only to see its operations come to a halt as its directors resigned.
Some South Korean victims have refused to accept the agreement and said the Japanese government is trying to get away with wartime crimes by paying money without making an official apology.
They have called on the current South Korean administration to scrap the agreement and disband the foundation.
On Thursday, South Korea's deputy foreign minister met his Japanese counterpart to discuss issues with the foundation.