"If Japan acknowledges the truth, offers heartfelt apologies to the victimized women and works with the worldwide community to prevent a recurrence based on a lesson it learned, the women then will forgive Japan", he said.
While saying it is "undeniable" that the 2015 deal is an official agreement between the two countries, the president said Wednesday the "erroneous knot" with Japan over the comfort women issue must be untied.
He added that it had excluded the opinions of the victims. The agreement provoked an immediate backlash from some survivors and civic organizations, who claimed Japan should take clearer legal responsibility by paying reparations.
South Korea has announced it would not seek renegotiation of terms of the landmark sex slavery deal with Japan in a sharp U-turn from its earlier position.More news: Donald Trump seemed to forget the words to the United States national anthem
Japan rejected South Korea's demand for more efforts to support the former comfort women. "It's very important to maintain good relations with Japan", he said.
"It can not be denied that the 2015 deal was an official agreement reached between the governments of each country, and our government will not demand renegotiation", Kang said in a prepared statement.
Kono also said it was "utterly unacceptable for the South Korean side to demand additional measures from Japan when the comfort women issue was confirmed to have been finally and irreversibly resolved [with the 2015 agreement]".
"Truth and justice are key to resolving the issue, but it is not possible to renegotiate the deal".More news: Prince William speaks about being best man to 'best mate' Prince Harry
While Seoul does not plan to renegotiate or scrap the deal, Kang encouraged Japan to "accept the truth as it is, according to universally-accepted standards", to help restore the honor and dignity of the victims and heal the wounds in their hearts. The Japanese Foreign Ministry also said it "can't accept" Kang's statement. There were 47 of them when the deal was reached, but the number has since fallen to 33.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in won an election a year ago after promises on the campaign trail to renegotiate the deal.
Japan says the matter of compensation for the women was settled under a 1965 treaty.
Instead of using Tokyo's fund, however, Seoul will now pay victims with its own money.More news: Dramatic increase in California flu deaths
South Korean President Moon, who took office in May, and his administration, however, have said they are revisiting the process under which the accord was made under the previous government, noting that the pact does not reflect the will of the majority of South Korean people. The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday reiterated it would continue to seek to "harmoniously" and "peacefully" tackle the historical issues while pursuing a future-oriented relationship with Japan.
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