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Japan recalls ambassador, suspends talks with South Korea over comfort woman statue

Japan recalls ambassador, suspends talks with South Korea over comfort woman statue

Japan said today that it had made a decision to temporarily recall its ambassador to South Korea to protest the placing of a statue symbolising victims of Japanese wartime sex slavery outside its consulate in the city of Busan last month.

As a result, Japan's government announced Friday that it was withdrawing not only its ambassador to South Korea, Yasumasa Nagamine, but also its Busan consul-general.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged South Korea to respect its deal on women that were forced to work at Japan's wartime military brothels. The women were repeatedly raped and often subjected to sexually transmitted diseases.

A statue of a girl symbolizing the issue of "comfort women" in front of the Japanese Embassy, Dec. 28, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.

It was placed outside Japan's diplomatic mission in the city of Busan.

South Korean activists opposed to the 2015 agreement installed the statue in Busan late last month, one year after the pact was reached. A similar statue was erected outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in 2011.

US Backs Turkish Support for Anti-Assad Rebels in Syria Fighting Daesh
Kaynak said that the Incirlik air base, "used by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the US -led coalition", was "on the government's agenda".

The statues - which depict a young, barefoot woman sitting in a chair - have become powerful symbols of the hardships those women endured.

Busan police initially removed the statue. South Korean activists estimate there may have been as many as 200,000 Korean victims.

Her visit drew harsh criticism in South Korea as well as China.

"Our government stresses once again that even if there are hard issues between the two countries, both governments, based on trust, need to continuously develop the relationship", the statement read.

However, critics of the deal say it does not go far enough in holding Japan responsible for its wartime abuses. "It is important that both the Japanese and South Korean governments take responsibility and carry out the deal", Abe said, adding that "backpedaling is not constructive".

Tokyo will also suspend talks on a new currency swap arrangement that will oblige the two countries to offer USA dollars or other currencies to each other during a financial crisis.


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