Moon's handling of comfort women issue disappoints victims.
The victims of sex slavery during the Japanese occupation of Korea have expressed disappointment in the Moon Jae-in administration's handling of comfort women issues, advocacy groups said Wednesday.
They said the government announcement Tuesday fell short of their expectations, adding it should have nullified the agreement with Japan on "comfort women."
President Moon initially said he would invalidate the Park Geun-hye administration's verbal accord with Japan during the presidential election campaign last year. He promised the comfort women at the House of Sharing that he would either cancel the agreement or renegotiate if he became president.
However, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Tuesday that the government decided not to abandon the deal but instead set up its own fund to support the surviving victims instead of spending the 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) that the Japanese government provided under the deal.
Three comfort women watched Kang's announcement on TV said they were furious and disappointed by the decision, according to House of Sharing Director Ahn Shin-kwon.
"It seems like because Japan is not changing its stance over the settled deal, President Moon will assist and protect the comfort women with domestic resources, but that is not what victims want," Ahn said. "Some people still call comfort women prostitutes, and if they cannot regain their impaired reputation, they will be branded as such. That is what the comfort women are most afraid of."
The director added that Moon should take a stronger stance on cancelling the deal and the government needs to take stern action on the sexual slavery issue.
Another representative organization for comfort woman, the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan maintained a steadfast position, demanding seven actions from Tokyo.
"Comfort women here have not watched Kang's official announcement yet and they are unaware of it now. But our victims desires remain unchanged in that the Japanese government should be punished according to international law on wartime sexual slavery and should compensate the victims," council head Yoon Mi-hyang said.
The organization's seven demands are acknowledging the war crime, revealing the truth on military sexual slavery, making an official apology and legal reparations, punishing those responsible for the war crime, accurately recoding the crime in history textbooks, erecting a memorial to the victims and establishing a historical museum.
Former President Park reached the controversial agreement with Japan in Dec. 2015 to settle the dispute over women coerced to serve as sex slaves during World War II.
However, Koreans, including surviving comfort women, refused to accept the ex-administration's deal, calling for a renegotiation.
The foreign ministry's fact-finding panel concluded the deal was "gravely flawed" and failed to reflect the views and opinions of the victims.
Japan has protested against the result of investigation and said the agreement is "irreversible."