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Japan recalls South Korean ambassador over 'comfort women' statue

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By Euronews
Japan recalls South Korean ambassador over 'comfort women' statue

Japan has temporarily recalled its ambassador to South Korea over this statue commemorating Korean women forced to work as sex slaves for the Japanese in World War II.

Tokyo is also suspending economic dialogue with Seoul over the issue.

The statue was put up outside the Japanese consulate in Busan in December, in protest at an agreement struck a year ago between the two countries which was aimed at settling the long-running controversy.

It is one of many such monuments but Tokyo claims the new one violates the accord, under which Japan apologised and promised to pay eight million euros to a fund for Korean women.

“The installation of the statute near the Japanese consulate in Busan will not have a positive impact on Japan-South Korea relations, and it is strongly regrettable as we believe it is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga.

The issue of the so-called “comfort women” has long damaged ties between the two countries.

An estimated 200,000 women, many from Korea, were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the war.

Others came from elsewhere in Asia, including China and the Philippines.