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South Korea’s Ewha Womans University vows to sue politician over ‘comfort women’ remarks

The Democratic Party’s Kim Jun-hyeok, who is contesting the April 10 general election, made the claim on a YouTube channel last year.

Ewha, founded in 1946, called on the professor turned politician to withdraw from the parliamentary race and pledged to sue him for tarnishing the image of the university and its members, Yonhap reported.

Kim Jun-hyeok’s “unverified and speculative” remarks not only seriously damaged the reputation of the school, its students, professors and alumni, but were also based on a discriminatory and distorted view of all women, Ewha said in a statement.

The legacy of Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean peninsula remains politically sensitive for both sides, with many surviving “comfort women” – a Japanese euphemism for the sex abuse victims – still demanding Tokyo’s formal apology and compensation.

Tokyo has maintained the matter was settled under a 1965 treaty that normalised diplomatic relations between the two countries.

But the issues of wartime sex abuse and forced labour had inflamed ties for years, though Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have sought to bury the hatchet to tackle security challenges posed by North Korea and China.

The neighbours remain technically in a state of war since the Korean war from 1950 to 1953 ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.