The Announcement of the Results of the Assessment by the Taskforce to Review the Agreement on Comfort Women Issue reached between the Governments of Japan and the ROK
(Statement by Foreign Minister Taro Kono)
December 27, 2017
1. On December 27 the Taskforce to Review the Agreement on Comfort Women Issue reached between the Government of Japan and the ROK under the direct jurisdiction of Ms. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK), published a report stating the results of its assessment of the December 28, 2015 Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue. The report criticizes the negotiation structure in the ROK in the lead-up to the agreement and also the content of the agreement, and presents to the Government of the ROK a way of thinking that casts doubt on the agreement that has already been implemented in both countries.
2. Regarding the Japan-ROK agreement at the end of 2015, as a result of efforts led by the democratically chosen leaders of Japan and the ROK at every level including Director-General level talks between the diplomatic authorities, then Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida and then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROK Yun Byung-se confirmed the “final and irreversible” resolution of the comfort women issue and announced the agreement at a joint press conference. Furthermore, the “final and irreversible” resolution was confirmed in the Summit Telephone Talk held the same day, so this agreement is also an agreement between the leaders of the two countries. This agreement was formed through a legitimate negotiating process between the Japanese and ROK Governments, so we cannot conclude that there was any problem in the process leading up to the agreement.
3. The Japan-ROK agreement is an agreement between the governments of Japan and the ROK, and it is highly appreciated by the international community as well. The position of the Government of the ROK regarding the Japan-ROK agreement is not included in the report, but the position of the Government of Japan is that if the Government of the ROK attempts based on this report to change an agreement which has already been implemented, the Japan-ROK relationship will become unmanageable; therefore such an attempt cannot be acceptable whatsoever. The Government of Japan will strongly urge the ROK to ensure that the Government of the ROK continues to steadily implement the agreement as a “final and irreversible” agreement.