By Kang Hyun-kyung
Seoul rejected Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s remarks made Monday that there was no evidence indicating that the Japanese military enforced sexual slavery during World War II.
A foreign ministry official told reporters that wartime sex slaves were a historical fact that cannot be denied, expressing regret over the Japanese leader’s comments.
“Through a statement by Chief Cabinet Minister Yohei Kono in April 1993, the Japanese government admitted this (referring to the forced nature of comfort women) too,” he said.
He urged Japan to take responsible and adopt sincere measures over the wartime crime.
This came shortly after Japanese Prime Minister Noda made the remarks, contradicting the 1993 statement.
Speaking to the Upper House, Noda was quoted as saying that there exist no documents supporting the fact that so-called “comfort women” were forced to serve the Japanese military.
He repeated Japan’s position that compensation for comfort women was paid in 1965 when South Korea and Japan signed a treaty closing wartime issues.
Regarding the Kono statement, Noda said it was released based on victims’ testimonies, and there were no corroborating statements from Japanese troops over wartime sexual slavery.
Through the 1993 statement, Kono admitted that the women “were recruited against their will, through coaxing coercion.”
“At times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments. They lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere,” it said.