South Korea and Japan reached a deal Monday to settle the issue of former Korean sex slaves, euphemistically known as "comfort women,” according to media reports. The deal, which included an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a $8.3 million aid fund from Tokyo for the elderly former sex slaves, could ease the strained ties between two countries.
The deal was agreed upon after Japan's foreign minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Seoul for discussions with his counterpart Yun Byung-se. Kishida told reporters after the meeting that Abe offered an apology over the issue over the decades-long impasse over Korean women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II. Abe plans to call South Korean President Park Geun-hye later Monday to discuss the deal, Park's office reportedly said.
"Abe, as the prime minister of Japan, offers from his heart an apology and reflection for everyone who suffered lots of pain and received scars that are difficult to heal physically and mentally," Kishida said, according to BBC.
The issue of former Korean sex slaves has reportedly been the biggest recent reason behind the strained ties between Seoul and Tokyo.
South Korean's Byung-se said at the news conference that Seoul considers the agreement "final and irreversible," according to the Associated Press.