Japan Cabinet Reshuffle

Japan's new Foreign Minister Taro Kono hopes for steady roll out of 'comfort women' pact

Newly appointed Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks during a news conference at prime minister's official residence in Tokyo.
Newly appointed Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks during a news conference at prime minister's official residence in Tokyo.PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's new Foreign Minister, Mr Taro Kono, on Thursday (Aug 3) expressed hope for steady implementation of a 2015 pact with South Korea on the issue of "comfort women", forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

Mr Kono, 54, is the son of former chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono, who wrote a landmark 1993 apology to "comfort women".

Under the 2015 pact, Japan apologised again to former comfort women and promised 1 billion yen for a fund to help them. The two governments agreed the issue would be"irreversibly resolved" if both fulfilled their obligations.

"Regarding the issue of 'comfort women', Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, and an agreement between Japan and South Korea are everything," Mr Kono said.

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"I think it is desirable for the agreement to be implemented steadily."

However, South Korea's president Moon Jae In has said its people did not accept the deal reached by his conservative predecessor Park Geun Hye and Mr Abe.