2015 deal on ‘comfort women’ a political statement without legal power: Foreign Ministry

By Ock Hyun-ju
  • Published : Nov 5, 2018 - 18:16
  • Updated : Nov 5, 2018 - 18:23

The Foreign Ministry said Monday that the controversial 2015 deal between South Korea and Japan does not directly violate the constitutional rights of victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery because the deal is only a political statement. 


The victims of Japan’s sexual enslavement during World War II filed a petition with the Constitutional Court in March 2016, saying the government violated their basic rights by signing a deal against them with Japan.

The ministry, which was required to file its opinion, asked the court to dismiss the case in June, saying the deal is not legally binding and so does not directly breach victims’ basic rights.

“The statement is not meant to justify the 2015 deal, but it focuses on legal, procedural aspects of the petition filed by the victims,” said a Foreign Ministry official on condition of anonymity.

The ministry also stipulated in the statement that the deal cannot fundamentally solve the issue of the Japan’s sexual slavery of Korean women and that it has many problems in terms of content and procedure.

The Moon Jae-in administration called the 2015 deal “flawed,” but said it would not seek to renegotiate the deal signed under the previous Park Geun-hye administration. The government hinted, however, that it would disband a Japan-funded foundation created to help the victims, citing the victims’ opposition to it.

In the deal, Japan apologized to the victims and provided 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation in return for Korea’s promise not to raise the issue again at international forums. The two countries described the deal as “final and irreversible.”