Japan said Friday it had decided to recall its ambassador to South Korea in response to the erection of a new statue symbolizing victims of the Japanese military’s wartime sexual slavery, known as “comfort women.”
Tokyo pulled its ambassador to South Korea, Yasumasa Nagamine, from Seoul, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
Japan will also suspend talks on a proposed currency swap with South Korea, Suga added.
The “comfort woman” statue was erected outside the Japanese consulate in Busan City by a civic group in late December.
“We have repeatedly asked South Korea to deal with the resolution of this issue appropriately, but the situation has not improved, so we have taken this action,” Suga said.
Tokyo has long demanded the removal of another statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
Up to 200,000 women and girls were forced into sexual slavery to serve the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II, historians say. Many of the women were from South Korea, which was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 and 1945.