South Korean President Moon Jae-in is once again demanding that Japan deal squarely with the issue of the "comfort women" who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese colonial forces.


Tokyo paid $8 million into a fund to support the surviving Korean women who worked in Japanese military brothels under a deal reached in 2015 under ousted President Park Geun-hye. The agreement also included an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the actions of Japanese troops during its brutal occupation of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945.


But during a speech marking the anniversary of the 1919 popular uprising against Korea’s Japanese colonial rulers Thursday, President Moon said the agreement does not mean Japan can simply declare the matter closed. He said the only way to resolve the issue "is to remember that history and learn from it."


In Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshiide Suga called Moon’s remarks "extremely regrettable," and said the government has lodged a formal protest with Seoul.