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Seoul to announce measures on 'defective' sex slavery deal

Lee Bo-ra and Han Jong-in carry the flag at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics held on Feb. 10 2006

South Korea will announce Tuesday its position on a deal with Japan over "comfort women" forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, the Foreign Ministry said, an agreement meant to "finally and irreversibly" settle the issue when adopted two years ago.

President Moon Jae-in criticized the deal last month as seriously flawed because the negotiations failed to reflect the opinions of the victims and the citizens.

After taking office last May, Moon ordered that a task force re-examine the process that led to the agreement, saying the majority of South Koreans did not approve of it.

Kenji Kanasugi, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, visited Korea's Foreign Ministry on Monday.

The task force also revealed secret agreements that had not been disclosed when the comfort women agreement was being announced to the public.

But Moon's claim that the issue remains unresolved could still be a stumbling block.

He told reporters Friday that Japan will "take all steps necessary", including cooperating with China and Russian Federation, to step up pressure on North Korea so it will give up its nuclear weapons and missile development policies.

It is expected that all these revelations will spark further controversy and doubts about the comfort women agreement in South Korea. The term was first suggested by the South Korean government with the intent of expressing the will to "never withdraw from apology".

He went on to say that while Tokyo will "swiftly protest" the new policy through the "appropriate channels" he was confident that South Korea "is aware that this agreement is one of the cornerstones of future-oriented bilateral relations".

Japan's government provided one billion yen, or about 9 million United States dollars, to a fund set up by the South Korean government to support the women.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party, however, railed against the measures.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not made any official statement on the matter.

In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono repeated his government's call for Seoul to uphold the pact, which he called "final and irreversible".

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said several times on January 4 that the agreement "will not move an inch", and deplored South Korea for "moving the goal post every time".

Seoul's Unification Ministry said earlier North Korea accepted Seoul's offer to hold talks on how to cooperate on next month's Winter Olympics and how to improve overall ties.