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Japan-South Korea rift

South Korea envoy should leave, Japan ruling party official says

LDP weighs options as 'comfort women' ruling squeezes ties

South Korean ambassador to Japan Nam Gwan-pyo outside Japan's Foreign Ministry on Jan. 8.    © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan should consider urging South Korean Ambassador Nam Gwan-pyo to return home after a Seoul court ordered the Japanese government to compensate wartime "comfort women," a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday.

Masahisa Sato, director of the LDP's Foreign Affairs Division, floated the option at a meeting with other members of the body.

"This situation is a grave infringement on Japanese sovereignty," he told reporters afterward. "The government must take visible action."

The Seoul Central District Court on Friday ordered the Japanese government to pay 100 million won ($90,900) each to 12 former comfort women. Japan has pushed back against the decision, arguing that sovereign countries cannot be sued against its consent.

Members of the LDP Foreign Affairs Division on Tuesday also cast doubts over Kang Chang-il, the new South Korean ambassador to Japan, whose appointment was finalized Friday.

"We should be reevaluate whether we accept him as an envoy," one member said.

The LDP Foreign Affairs Division will submit a proposed action plan to the government regarding the situation as early as Friday, which could include an appeal to the International Court of Justice.

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