Japan PM arrives in Europe amid N. Korea tensions

Shinzo Abe wife Akie while boarding the PM's official plane one of which has lost a wing panel

The two countries signed the deal on December 28, 2015, to "finally and irreversibly" settle the comfort women issue, which has always been a key source of tension between the two countries. "We can not accept South Korea's unilateral demands for additional measures".

"During talks with leaders, I would like to confirm cooperation over urgent challenges facing the global community, including the North Korean crisis, and advance economic relations", Abe told reporters at his office before departing.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday urged Japan to deal with the comfort women issue responsibly.

Officials noticed the panel was missing from the Boeing 747, one of two jetliners used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for foreign trips, after it flew from Tokyo to its base on the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, a spokesman for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his participation in the games would depend on his parliamentary schedule.

Japan has maintained the issue was solved under the 2015 agreement and any attempts to amend the deal could harm bilateral ties.

Foreign ministers from South Korea and Japan are to hold talks in Vancouver, Canada, next week on the sidelines of an worldwide gathering aimed at discussing more effective sanctions on North Korea.

There were 47 South Korean comfort women at the time the deal was struck, but this figure now stands at 33.

He said that although it was a political agreement, it excluded the victims and ordinary South Koreans.

The so-called "comfort women" issue involved soldiers from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during World War II, forcibly coercing and even kidnapping girls, some of them underage, and women, and forcing them to work as sex slaves, servicing Japanese soldiers at military brothels during the war. He said that in his talks with his counterparts, he hopes to seek coordination on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and other urgent issues that are facing the worldwide community.

Numerous women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese aggressors came from the Korean Peninsula as well as other parts of Asia, including China.

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