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Japan to uphold 'comfort women' remarks

By Agencies in Tokyo | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-25 08:36

Japan reiterated on Monday that it will uphold its apology for wartime sex slavery after an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested over the weekend that there could be a new statement on the issue.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that Japan will not revise the 1993 statement - known as the Kono Statement - issued by then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono. Suga added that Abe had also pledged during a session of parliament to honor the statement.

In his 1993 statement, Kono acknowledged for the first time that the Japanese military was involved in recruiting women, notably Koreans, and coercing them into providing sexual services for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.

"(The government) will examine the statement, but we will not revise it. I have never heard the prime minister say otherwise, and he has said that clearly in parliament," Suga said.

Suga also denied the possibility of a new government statement on "comfort women", as suggested over the weekend by Koichi Hagiuda, a close aide to Abe.

Kyodo news agency and other Japanese media reported over the weekend that Hagiuda had suggested Japan could issue a new statement on comfort women if a review of the procedures that led to the government's apology uncovered new facts.

Abe earlier said that he would not revise the apology that recognized the involvement of Japanese authorities in coercing the women to work in military brothels - a point many Japanese conservatives dispute.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye then expressed relief over Abe's remarks, and the two leaders are now set to join US President Barack Obama in a three-way summit on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in The Hague starting on Monday.

Washington has been pressing its allies Tokyo and Seoul to improve ties, strained by South Korea's bitter memories of Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula and a territorial row over tiny South Korea-controlled islands.




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