SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea has decided to use Japan’s comfort women fund to financially assist Korean women sexually enslaved by Japanese troops during Japan’s colonial-rule of the Korean Peninsula decades ago, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
The government will provide 100 million won (US$89,581) to surviving victims who were forced to serve in military brothels, and 20 million to family members of victims who have already passed away, according to the ministry.
The money will be made available once Tokyo transfers 1 billion yen (US$9.96 million) it has committed to provide in the landmark deal to settle the long-running diplomatic feud in December.
“The cash provision is intended to restore the honor and dignity of the comfort women victims and to heal their wounds,” the ministry said.
The exact amount of the money to be granted to each victim or bereaved family could vary depending on individual needs, a ministry official said. It will be granted mostly over a certain period of time but can be given in lump sum if necessary.
Eligible for the money are the 46 surviving victims and their families and the families of the 199 comfort women who were deceased when the deal was signed late last year. Six of the survivors have died since the signing. All were officially registered victims of sexual slavery.
The remainder of the money, estimated at around 2 billion won, will be set aside for projects to help all victims, the ministry said. The 1 billion yen promised by Japan is expected to be transferred to the foundation within this month, observers said.
“The projects for all victims will be determined by the foundation based off what each government thinks is appropriate and in line with what was agreed upon in the Dec. 28 agreement inked by the two countries,” the ministry said.