South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, has warned Japan it will only bring isolation on itself if it reviews a statement acknowledging its wartime use of sex slaves.
She called on Japan to embrace “truth and reconciliation”.
Japan apologised in 1993 to survivors of the many thousands of women who were forced into army brothels.
On Friday Tokyo said it would set up a panel to review the evidence on which that apology was based.
Some conservatives in Japan have claimed that the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women”, were prostitutes – something fiercely denied by the women and by Japan’s neighbours.
President Park’s warning came in a speech marking the anniversary of a 1919 uprising in Korea against Japanese colonial rule.
“Historical truth is in testimony from the survivors,” she said.
“Japan would only bring isolation on itself if it turns a deaf ear to their testimony and sweeps it under the rug for political benefits.”
President Park urged Japan to follow the example of Germany in repenting its past wrongs so that their two countries could “move forward for a new era of co-operation, peace and prosperity”.
“I hope Japan extricates itself from denial of history and starts making a new history of truth and reconciliation”, she said.