[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [BBC profile; official website, in Japanese] said Monday that the 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, "is not based on objective facts." Last Thursday, Abe denied [JURIST report] that the Imperial Japanese Army forced women into prostitution during World War II, and said that there was little proof that any of the approximately 200,000 comfort women [SFSU backgrounder] were coerced into prostitution.
Abe's statements echoed the sentiments of Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who last month described the proposed House resolution as "regrettable" [JURIST report] and not factual. South Korean foreign minister Song Min Soon characterized Abe's comments as being "not helpful" to Japanese-Korean relations, and urged Abe to "face the truth" about Japan's militant past, in which many Korean women were allegedly victimized. Many Japanese nationalists have urged the Japanese government to revisit the 1993 Kono Statement [text], in which the government offered its "sincere apologies and remorse" to the victims. In 1995, Japan established the private Asian Women's Fund [official website] to compensate the surviving victims, but many have rejected the compensation due to its unofficial nature. The fund's mandate expires at the end of the month. Bloomberg has more.