Caroline Kennedy talks comfort women issue with Korean ambassador to Japan

SEOUL (Kyodo) — The U.S. and South Korean ambassadors to Japan, Caroline Kennedy and Lee Byung Kee, have exchanged views over issues concerning Japan-South Korea relations, including “comfort women,” Yonhap News Agency said.

Kennedy invited Lee to lunch at the U.S. envoy’s residence in Tokyo in their first one-on-one meeting on Tuesday, a diplomatic source was cited as saying Wednesday.

Lee conveyed to Kennedy the South Korean government’s position on the women recruited to provide sex for Japanese soldiers during the war, according to the South Korean news agency.

The envoy may have spoken of the importance for Japan to own up to a 1993 statement by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that acknowledged the Japanese military’s responsibility for the forced recruitment of women into sexual servitude during the war.

It remains unknown how Kennedy responded. The news agency said she is believed to have shown considerable interest in the issue as a woman known as a human rights advocate.

The two also exchanged views about measures to improve Japan-South Korea ties strained further by the recent visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Mainichi news paper

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