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Japan foreign minister regrets draft US bill urging 'comfort women' compensation

[JURIST] Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso [official website] Monday rejected a US House of Representatives proposed resolution [text; H Res 121 summary] which urges Japan to apologize to women who were forced into sexual slavery [JURIST report] during World War II. Aso said the US resolution was "regrettable" and not factual after three women testified last week before the US Congress that they received apologies from the Japanese government but were not given compensation. The Asian Women's Fund [official website] was created by Japan in 1993 after the Imperial Japanese Army [Wikipedia backgrounder] admitted its role in the use of "comfort women" [SFCU backgrounder] to provide sex for its soldiers. Nearly 300 women received payments of approximately $20,000 and apologies from the country's prime minister at that time.

The US resolution may negatively impact the normally strong relations between Tokyo and the US and comes ahead of a visit to the US by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [BBC profile] scheduled for later this year. Similarly, another US bill has tested US relations with Turkey after Turkish leaders Sunday opposed [JURIST report] a resolution [PDF text] being considered by the US Congress which recognizes the WWI-era killings [BBC backgrounder] of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide. Reuters has more.

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