President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech in a ceremony marking the 99th anniversary of the 1991 March 1 Movement at Seodaemun Prison on March 1, 2018. (Yonhap)
Seoul (People's Daily) - S.Korean President Moon Jae-in strongly urged Japan to face its wartime wrongdoings on Wednesday, also saying the country has no right to claim settlement of its sexual slavery of Korean women.
"As the perpetrator, the Japanese government must not say that resolving the comfort women issue is 'over'”, Moon said in a speech marking the 99th anniversary of the 1919 March 1 movement at Seodaemun Prison. He stressed that inhumane violation of human rights during war cannot be covered by saying it is ‘over’".
Moon said what his country and its victims wanted to see from Japan was a sincere apology, even as he seeks a forward-looking relationship between the two nations.
On March 1, 1919, tens of thousands of Koreans staged street rallies to declare the country's independence from Japan's colonial rule.
Asked to comment on Moon's speech, top Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a regular press conference: "President Moon mentioned the comfort women issue although we confirmed the final, irreversible conclusion in the 2015 agreement between Japan and South Korea."
Park Geun-Hye, Moon's ousted predecessor, struck a deal in 2015 with Tokyo under which Seoul promised not to raise the issue again and Japan paid 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) to a foundation dedicated to supporting the victims.
The agreement, in which Tokyo fell short of taking legal responsibility, angered some victims and after taking office Moon condemned the deal as a "wrongful" solution and urged Japan to make a "heartfelt apology".