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S. Korea to add Japan‘s wartime sex slavery to high school textbooks

The education ministry is set to approve a set of revised guidelines for high school history textbooks that will mention Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japan’s World War II soldiers, an official said Wednesday.

The move comes as South Korea has pressed Japan to resolve long-running grievances over Tokyo‘s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, euphemistically called “comfort women.” Japan has adamantly rejected South Korea’s calls to hold talks to discuss the issue of compensation for the aging women.

Under the revised guidelines, the new textbooks will describe how Japan “intensely drafted (Korean) workers, soldiers and comfort women for the Japanese military during the Pacific War,” the official said on the condition of anonymity. The Pacific War refers to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean.

“The final guidelines will be submitted to the education ministry today,” said the official at the state-run National Institute of Korean History, adding the ministry will approve them next week. The new textbooks will be used from 2014.

The guidelines also included descriptions about activities by Korean women‘s organizations during the Japanese colonial rule, the official said. The Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony from 1910-45.

The subject of sex slaves is one of the most emotional and unresolved issues between South Korea and Japan.

Last week, five former sex slaves, now in their 80s and 90s, and hundreds of supporters held the 1,000th weekly rally that demands Japan make an official apology and compensate the victims individually in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

According to historians, up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were coerced into sexual servitude at front-line Japanese brothels during World War II.

Tokyo has acknowledged that its wartime military used sex slaves, but maintains that all issues regarding its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, including the comfort women, were settled in a 1965 package compensation deal under which the two countries normalized their relations. (Yonhap News)
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