South Korean ‘comfort women’ to receive US$90,000 each from sexual slavery settlement fund
South Korea said on Thursday that surviving South Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s military in the second world war will be eligible to receive around 100 million won (about US$90,000) each from a foundation that will be funded by the Japanese government.
Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said that the families of deceased victims will be able to receive about 20 million won (US$18,000), and added it expects the Japanese government to soon transfer a promised 1 billion yen (US$9.9 million) to a foundation formally launched in Seoul last month.
South Korea and Japan agreed to set up the foundation in December as they settled a decades-long dispute over South Korean sex slave victims, often known as “comfort women”. Seoul says there are currently 46 surviving South Korean victims and 199 victims who had died.
The opening of the foundation’s office in Seoul was met by protests from activists and students who criticised the December agreement, which remains controversial in South Korea where many believe the Seoul government settled for far too less.
Under the agreement, which was described by both governments as “irreversible,” Japan pledged to fund the foundation to help support the victims.
South Korea, in exchange, vowed to refrain from criticising Japan over the issue and will try to resolve a Japanese grievance over a statue of a girl representing victims of sexual slavery that sits in front of the Japanese Embassy in downtown Seoul.