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Sexual slavery victim calls for US help in efforts to pressure Japan to offer apology

An elderly South Korean victim of Japan's wartime sexual slavery paid a visit to a US Embassy office Wednesday and asked for help in efforts to get Tokyo to offer an official apology and compensation for the atrocity, activists said.

In particular, the 91-year-old victim, Kim Bok-dong, also stressed during her meeting with a US diplomat at the embassy office in Namyeongdong in central Seoul that a 2015 deal between Seoul and Tokyo on resolving the issue is unfair, the activists said.

Kim asked the US to point out problems with the agreement when it attends a Universal Periodic Review meeting of the UN Human Rights Council set to be held in November to review human rights reports of South Korea and Japan, according to the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
Kim Bok-dong, a victim of Japan`s wartime sexual slavery (Yonhap)
Kim Bok-dong, a victim of Japan`s wartime sexual slavery (Yonhap)

The 2005 deal, which was reached when ousted former President Park Geun-hye was in office, has been deeply unpopular among South Koreans amid widespread criticism that it failed to take victims' positions into consideration.

Kim was also quoted as saying during the one-hour meeting that she hopes the US will help pressure Japan to address the sexual slavery issue and that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will resolve the matter if the US puts pressure on him, according to the activists.

Wednesday's meeting was part of a campaign to raise international awareness of the problems with the 2015 agreement ahead of November's UPR meeting. The council plans to hold similar meetings with officials of the German and Canadian embassies set for next month.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Japan has long attempted to water down the atrocity. (Yonhap)
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