SEOUL, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa said Wednesday the South Korean government seeks to hold an international forum on wartime sexual violence as part of its effort to support South Korean victims of Japanese military sex slavery during World War II.
"At an international level, we are seeking ways to contribute to the global discussion for wartime sexual assault so that painful history of 'comfort women' doesn't vanish," Kang said at a New Year's news conference.
"We plan to gather local experts for a workshop to discuss agendas and participants for an international discussion," she said.
The South Korean and Japanese governments reached an agreement in 2015 to settle the issue of South Korean "comfort women." Under what Japan called "final and irreversible" agreement, Japan contributed some $9 million to set up a foundation that oversees compensation to surviving victims.
However, South Korean victims refused to accept the agreement and said the Japanese government is trying to get away with wartime crimes by paying money without making a sincere apology. The victims called on the South Korean government to scrap the agreement and disband the foundation.
South Korea closed the foundation in November.
Kang said South Korea won't seek renegotiation with Japan as it respects the deal that the two neighboring countries made. However, the country has called on Japan to make efforts for sincere measures that victims can relate to.
"The fact that the agreement stays in place doesn't change," Kang said. "But we continue to stress that Japan should make an effort in the name of justice."
Thousands of women were 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, during WWII.
There are 27 surviving "comfort women" victims in South Korea, who have been staging a protest to demand an apology from the Japanese government every Wednesday in Seoul for 28 years.