Japan demands apology for S. Korean comments on emperor

A “comfort woman” statue in front of Japanese embassy is pictured in Seoul, South Korea. (Reuters pic)

TOKYO: Japan demanded an apology for “extremely inappropriate” comments from a top South Korean lawmaker, who said the Japanese emperor should personally apologise to women trafficked to the country’s wartime military brothels.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said at a news conference Tuesday that South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang should retract his statements.

Moon said in a Bloomberg News interview last week that he wanted Emperor Akihito, 85, to hold hands with the elderly former “comfort women” and apologise as “the son of the main culprit of war crimes.”

The two countries were already at odds over a host of disagreements mostly stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has moved to undo a 2015 pact meant to end the dispute over the comfort women, which was agreed to by his predecessor.