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S. Korea To Aid Former Sex Slaves

March 11, 1998

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea plans to compensate women who were enslaved in Japanese army brothels in World War II, then recover the money from Tokyo, officials said Wednesday.

Japan has offered privately donated money to all surviving sex slaves, but most South Korean victims turned down the compensation, demanding that it come directly from the Japanese government.

``The aging women will be paid first before they die, and then the government will try to recover the money later from the Japanese government,″ said Yang Mi-kang, a spokeswoman for 155 former sex slaves registered in South Korea.

The national news agency Yonhap, quoting government sources, said the women, most poor and in their 70s, each will receive about $39,380 by mid-April.

In December, Taiwan gave similar aid to its ``comfort women″ _ the Japanese army’s name for the enslaved women.

Historians estimate as many as 200,000 women _ mostly from Korea and other Asian countries _ were taken to front-line Japanese brothels. No one knows how many are still alive, because most keep their pasts secret.

Tokyo, which did not acknowledge the episode until just a few years ago, argues that all wartime compensation claims were settled through peace treaties. Instead, it arranged for the establishment of a private Asian Women’s Fund to extend financial assistance.

Update hourly