International - POSTED: 2007/03/26 18:15
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his sympathy and apologized Monday for the "situation" faced by so-called Korean and Chinese "comfort women" who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Abe stopped short of explicitly acknowledging the alleged roles of the wartime military and government in Japan in facilitating the practice. Until this point, Abe has been one of a number of politicians pushing for the government to revisit an official apology issued to victims in 1993 that was never ratified by the Japanese parliament.
Earlier this month, Abe denied allegations of forced sexual slavery in Imperial Japanese Army brothels, saying instead that the women were professional prostitutes paid for their services. A Japanese government probe this month also denied finding any evidence of forced prostitution.