Japan PM arrives in Europe amid N. Korea tensions

Japan PM arrives in Europe amid N. Korea tensions

Seoul's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that the Korea-Japan deal on "comfort women", a euphemism for women forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese military from the 1930s to the end of World War II, was flawed and failed to resolve the issue.

"It is a universal principle that bilateral agreements are followed", Mr Abe told reporters in his first public comments since the issue flared up again this week.

Officials noticed the panel was missing from the Boeing 747, one of two jetliners used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for foreign trips, after it flew from Tokyo to its base on the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, a spokesman for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.

The two countries signed the deal on December 28, 2015, to "finally and irreversibly" settle the comfort women issue, which has always been a key source of tension between the two countries.

Nonetheless, a months-long review started by President Moon Jae In's administration into the deal agreed upon by his disgraced predecessor Park Geun Hye found that it was "reached the wrong way" as it had not sought the opinions of survivors.

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He added that the issue will only be resolved if "Japan accepts the truth, makes a heartfelt apology to the victims, learns the lessons from it and prevents its recurrence".

However, Moon said in December that the wartime sexual slavery issue can not be resolved by the 2015 deal with Japan, as a secret agreement was found between the two countries after reviewing the procedure of the deal. "We want to continue to strongly ask South Korea to do the same".

Mr Moon said a day later that Seoul will decide how to handle the money offered by Japan in consultations with the Japanese government and other relevent parties. "The Korean government should communicate with the Japanese government to build mutual trust from now on", said Lee Myeon-woo, head of the diplomacy and security strategy research department at Sejong Institute.

"Xi spoke highly of the role of the China-Japan ruling party exchange mechanism in promoting bilateral relations, and hailed the efforts made by Nikai and Inoue to promote exchanges between the ruling parties of China and Japan, saying they have strengthened bilateral practical cooperation and friendship". He has pursued a "two track" approach of separating historical issues from current affairs to build a "future-oriented" relationship with Japan.

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