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S. Korean councilors urge Abe to resign over rightward moves

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean association of councilors urged the Japanese prime minister Friday to resign to take responsibility for his rightward moves and failure to apologize for past wrongdoings.

Some 50 former and current councilors of municipal and provincial governments nationwide gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul and held a protest, demanding a halt to Japan's distortion of history and an apology for its brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

"Stopping its regression toward the militarism, Shinzo Abe should resign from the post," the association said, calling on Japan "to admit to and apologize for waging the war of aggression and enslaving women."

They also urged Japan to abide by the spending bill approved by the U.S. Senate on Thursday with an attachment calling on the U.S. secretary of state to get Japan to apologize for the issue of "comfort women," a euphemistic term referring to the victims of Japan's sexual slavery.

Up to 200,000 young women and girls, mostly Koreans, were coerced into providing sexual services at Japan's front-line military brothels during World War II, which remains an unresolved grievance between the two nations as Tokyo has refused to admit to its past wrongdoings.

South Korea has increased pressure on Japan to resolve the thorny issue, saying the matter is becoming increasingly urgent as most victims are well over 80 years old and may die before they receive an apology or compensation from Japan.

Japan, however, has been ignoring calls for official talks on the issue, claiming all matters regarding its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula were settled in a 1965 package compensation deal under which the two countries normalized their relations.

The councilors also demanded that Japan stop laying claim to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

"We will also send a letter of protest to the Japanese Embassy calling for responsible behavior," an association official said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140117/s-korean-councilors-urge-abe-resign-over-rightward-moves