UPDATE1: Noda writes letter to S. Korea's Lee on 'comfort women': official.
(EDS: UPDATING WITH COMMENTS BY S. KOREAN OFFICIAL IN 4TH-5TH GRAFS.)
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has written a letter to South Korean President Lee Myung Bak on issues including Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military in World War II, a senior Japanese government official said Friday.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsuyoshi Saito said in a meeting in Seoul with South Korean lawmakers that he brought with him the letter which is aimed at paving the way toward a successful summit between the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China to be held in May in Beijing.
Saito later told reporters he does not know the specific content of the correspondence, adding that he will hand it to a senior South Korean government official on Friday.
A senior official at South Korea's presidential office confirmed that the office received the letter from Saito but said it made no mention of wartime sexual slavery, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
''There is nothing related to comfort women,'' the official said on condition of anonymity, using the euphemistic term for the former sex slaves, according to the report. ''A letter between leaders is not supposed to be made public. There is nothing (in the letter) that the press might be interested in.''
In March, Lee urged Japan to ''resolve urgently'' the issue of compensation for former victims of sexual servitude. Japan has maintained the issue was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral ties.