March 1, 2018 / 2:27 AM / 9 months ago

Japan lodges protest after South Korea's Moon says 'comfort women' issue not settled

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attends a news conference at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan May 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan said on Thursday it had lodged a complaint with the South Korean government after President Moon Jae-in said Tokyo was in no position to declare the issue of wartime “comfort women” settled.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described Moon’s comments as “extremely regrettable”. Suga, speaking at a regular briefing, also urged cooperation between South Korea and Japan to tackle North Korea.

Japan agreed to apologize to former comfort women and provided a 1 billion yen ($9.38 million) fund to help them under a 2015 deal between the two countries. South Korea later said it failed to meet victims’ needs and called for more steps.

Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the peninsula and the use of comfort women, Japan’s euphemism for women - many of them Korean - forced to work in its wartime brothels.

($1 = 106.6500 yen)

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Tim Kelly; Editing by Paul Tait

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