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Friday, August 26, 2005

Seoul holds Tokyo responsible for wartime atrocities - Yahoo! News

Seoul holds Tokyo responsible for wartime atrocities - Yahoo! News Seoul holds Tokyo responsible for wartime atrocities

Fri Aug 26, 4:23 AM ET

South Korea says Japan is still legally responsible for colonial-era atrocities, citing declassifed official documents including a 1965 treaty on normalizing diplomatic ties.

The allegation is likely to fuel a diplomatic row with Japan at a time when bilateral ties are already at a low over territorial disputes and the content of some current Japanese history textbooks.

Seoul renewed the claim for compensation for the victims of "inhumane crimes" including sex slaves after the foreign ministry on Friday declassified 35,000 pages of diplomatic documents including the 1965 treaty with Japan.

The government said the normalization treaty showed the agreement failed to address the issue of compensating suffers of abuses during Japan's 35-year colonial rule.

"The Japanese government is still legally responsible for inhumane crimes such as comfort women, which involved state power including the government and the military," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

Up to 200,000 Korean women are believed to have served as comfort women, who were sex slaves mobilized for Japanese troops during World War II.

"We will continue to seek diplomatic solutions to these inhumane crimes," said Yu Chong-Sang, deputy minister for planning of the Office for Government Policy Coordination.

But the government does not intend to demand that Japan renegotiates the normalization accord, he said.

Japan says the issue of compensation has already been settled by the normalization treaty.

South Korea received 800 million dollars in grants and loans from Japan under the 1965 agreement in return for giving up its demand for compensation for Japan's colonization of Korea between 1910 and 1945.

The money breaks down into 300 million dollars in economic aid and 500 million dollars in loans.

Although the purpose of the 300 million aid package was not specified in the agreement, it was intended to meet Seoul's demand for compensation for sufferings sustained by the forced laborers, the office said.

But South Korea spent only one 10th of the money for the victims of forced labor while using the rest for economic construction projects.

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