[JURIST] The Japanese government has found no evidence that so-called Korean and Chinese "comfort women" [Amnesty backgrounder] were forced into sexual slavery during World War II, according to a cabinet statement [text, in Japanese] provided to a Japanese lawmaker Friday. According to the statement, the government has not come across evidence that "directly shows so-called 'coercion' on the part of the military or constituted authorities." Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [official website, in Japanese; BBC profile] earlier this month denied that "comfort women" were coerced into prostitution [JURIST report], echoing sentiments by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso [official website] last month that a proposed US resolution urging Japan to apologize for the alleged practice was based on bad information [JURIST report]. Other Japanese politicians have said they will ignore the US resolution [JURIST report].
The proposed US House of Representatives resolution [text; H Res 121 summary] urges Japan to apologize to almost 200,000 Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Filipino women who say there were forced into sexual slavery in army brothels during World War II. Japanese leaders issued an apology [text] in 1993 for government involvement in the scandal but that apology was never ratified by the Japanese parliament. Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers are currently conducting an investigation into allegation of forced sexual slavery, saying instead that the women were professional prostitutes paid for their services. AP has more.