The South Korean government said Tuesday that it would end its efforts to win compensation from the Japanese government for South Korean women forced into Japanese military brothels in World War II.
Instead, the government will pay each of the 152 registered "comfort women" $22,700, which will be supplemented by $4,700 each from victims' rights organizations.President Kim Dae-jung vowed that Seoul would continue to seek an apology from Japan, which reluctantly acknowledged in 1992 that Japanese military officials had been involved in setting up the brothels but has refused to offer compensation to the women.
"This does not mean the abandonment of demanding from Japan an apology and acceptance of its historical and moral responsibilities," a spokesman for Kim said.
The Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry in Seoul issued a statement saying that "a true future-oriented and mutually beneficial relationship between Korea and Japan can be achieved only if Japan recognizes past history and remorsefully reflects on its deeds."
In 1996, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan extended his "sincere apologies and remorse" to the women. But several experts contended that his letter was vaguely worded.