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Japan envoy recalled over statue flap to return to S. Korea

Japan envoy recalled over statue flap to return to S. Korea

Japan envoy recalled over statue flap to return to S. Korea

Kishida acknowledged that the recall did not result in the removal of the statue, despite Tokyo repeatedly calling on South Korea to fully implement the 2015 deal, which said the two countries would "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women issue.

Japan's Foreign Minister says his country is sending its Ambassador and a Consul General back to South Korea on Tuesday.

Japan's top envoy to South Korea, who was recalled to Tokyo amid diplomatic friction over a girl statue symbolizing its wartime sexual slavery of Korean women, will return to Seoul this week, a foreign ministry official here said Monday.

Before and during World War II, Japan forced many Korean and other women in Asia to work in brothels for the Japanese military in what was known as the "comfort woman" system.

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"As a way to show Japan's strong determination", Nagamine will meet with South Korea's Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on his return and urge the South Korean government to uphold the deal, Kishida said.

Japan's ambassador to Seoul and consul general to Busan are expected to return to Korea on Tuesday after being recalled to Tokyo almost three months ago to protest the installation of a statue symbolizing victims of wartime sexual slavery. It is important for the two governments to coordinate closely and exchange information amid ongoing missile threats from North Korea, he said.

With the recall of the envoy, Japan also postponed bilateral economic dialogue and talks on a new currency swap with South Korea. A comfort woman statue put up outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in 2011 remains in place, and activists installed a similar statue by the same sculptor outside of Japan's consulate in Busan in December days after the agreement.

Tokyo added to the tension with territorial provocations, stipulating its claim to South Korean easternmost islets of Dokdo in educational guidelines.

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