S. Korea unveils secret talks on comfort women accord with Japan
Jiji -- Dec 28
A South Korean task force released on Wednesday a report elaborating on the contents of secret high-level talks between the South Korean and Japanese governments on the bilateral accord to resolve the issue of so-called comfort women.

The accord, announced on Dec. 28, 2015, was wrapped up largely in the secret talks, the task force of the Foreign Ministry said, announcing the results of its probes into bilateral negotiations on the deal about the women forced into prostitution for Japanese troops chiefly during World War II.

The high-level talks progressed consistently in the form of secret negotiations held separately from official bureau-chief-level meetings, bringing together then South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Lee Byung-kee, who also has work experience as ambassador to Japan and chief of the president's secretary office, and Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of Japan's National Security Council, according to the task force report.

The team criticized then South Korean President Park Geun-hye for not releasing contents that could be negative to her country.

The issue of comfort women will inevitably be rekindled even if the two governments declare that it has been resolved finally and irreversibly, unless victims in South Korea accept such a declaration, the task force warned.

News source: Jiji
Dec 17
More than 40 people were injured on Sunday when an explosion caused a fire at a commercial building housing a pub in Sapporo City on Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido. Police suspect a gas leak may be the cause. (NHK)
Dec 17
A famous hot spa resort is offering an online map showing "onsen" spots available for tattooed tourists traveling to the region for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan. (Kyodo)
Dec 17
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has revealed that the government plans to open about 100 support centers for foreign workers across Japan. (NHK)
Dec 16
Rino Sashihara, a leading Japanese idol singer, will leave the all-girl musical group HKT48, an affiliate of the country's entertainment giant AKB48, next year, she said Saturday. (Kyodo)
Dec 16
The education ministry plans to include ¥1.52 trillion in its budget for fiscal 2019 to cover personnel costs for teachers at public elementary and junior high schools, it has been learned. (Japan Times)
Dec 15
Japan's central government is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to relocate an American military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa. They've started full-scale land reclamation work despite strong local opposition. (NHK)
Dec 15
A court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison for a highway road rage incident last year in which a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured. (Japan Times)
Dec 15
The government will temporarily suspend an extra medical fee that pregnant women were required to pay out of pocket to see doctors, health minister Takumi Nemoto said Friday. (Japan Times)
Dec 15
Japanese education companies are expanding their language offerings overseas, seeing business opportunities in meeting growing demand for Japanese-speaking foreign manpower as the nation opens its doors to workers from overseas. (Nikkei)
Dec 15
Japan Post Holdings Co. plans to acquire a 7 to 8 percent stake in U.S. insurer Aflac Inc. for about ¥300 billion as part of its strategy to expand operations overseas, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday. (Japan Times)