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S. Korea's Lee renews call on Japan to resolve dispute over wartime sex slaves

08-15-2012 13:01 BJT

SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday called on Japan to resolve the long-standing dispute over Korean women forced into sexual slavery under the Japanese colonial rule during WWII. "It was a breach of women's rights committed during wartime as well as a violation of universal human rights and historic justice, " Lee said in a speech marking the 67th anniversary of South Korea's liberation from neighboring Japan's 1910-45 colonial occupation. "(Chain) links tangled in the history of Korea-Japan relations are hampering the common march toward a better tomorrow in the Northeast Asian region, as well as bilateral ties," Lee added, urging Japan to take"responsible measures."

Some 100,000 to 200,000 Asian women, mostly Koreans, were forced to provide sexual service to the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII.

South Korea has repeatedly demanded Japan apologize and compensate the surviving victims, often euphemistically called " comfort women," while the former colonizer claims the issue was resolved by the 1965 treaty that normalized their ties.

The renewed call by Lee highlighted markedly sour relations between the two Asian neighbors, which remain at odds over a slew of historical issues.

Just a day ago, Lee said Japanese emperor Akihito should " sincerely apologize" to those who died for independence if he wishes to visit South Korea.

The remark came shortly after his high-profile visit last week to a set of South Korean-controlled islets claimed by Japan, known as Dokdo here and Takeshima in Japan.

The one-day trip to the sparsely inhabited islands lying equidistant between the two neighbors prompted Japan to summon its envoy from Seoul in protest.

Many South Koreans see recurring historical and territorial disputes as a sign of an unrepentant Japan.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source:

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