South Korean President, Park
Geun-hye, has warned Japan it will only bring isolation on itself if it reviews
a statement acknowledging its wartime use of sex slaves.
She called on Japan to
embrace “truth and reconciliation”.
Japan apologised in 1993 to
survivors of the many thousands of women who were forced into army brothels.
On Friday Tokyo said it would
set up a panel to review the evidence on which that apology was based.
Some conservatives in Japan
have claimed that the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women”, were
prostitutes – something fiercely denied by the women and by Japan’s neighbours.
President Park’s warning came
in a speech marking the anniversary of a 1919 uprising in Korea against
Japanese colonial rule.
“Historical truth is in
testimony from the survivors,” she said.
“Japan would only bring
isolation on itself if it turns a deaf ear to their testimony and sweeps it
under the rug for political benefits.”
President Park urged Japan to
follow the example of Germany in repenting its past wrongs so that their two
countries could “move forward for a new era of co-operation, peace and
“I hope Japan extricates
itself from denial of history and starts making a new history of truth and
reconciliation”, she said.