South Korea says ‘comfort women’ issue can’t be solved by ‘defective’ deal

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that the 2015 deal to resolve the issue of Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women was defective both in the way it was done and content.

It was more a political deal ignoring the views of victims and citizens.

Moon’s comments came a day after a task force set up by his government came up with a report saying the deal failed to take a victim-centered approach to a serious subject on women’s rights during wartime and also kept part of the deal secret from public to avoid criticism that concessions were made to Tokyo.

“Truth” matters most while dealing with historical issues. The truth about ‘comfort women’ — a euphemism for those who were forced by Japan to serve in frontline military brothels during World War II — may be painful but one has to face it squarely, Moon said.

While dealing with the historical feud separately, Seoul will continue its efforts to “future-oriented partnership” with Tokyo amid nuclear threats from Pyongyang, he said.

Moon did not say whether his government was going to scrap the deal or renegotiate. Japan made it clear on Wednesday that the deal should be left intact.

Moon’s office said the government will take a stand on the deal after listening to the views of former comfort women and groups supporting them.