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Japan PM says government will cooperate with WWII 'comfort women' probe

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [BBC profile; official website, in Japanese] said his government will fully cooperate with an investigation by ruling Liberal Democratic party lawmakers into allegations that the Japanese military forced women into prostitution [JURIST report] in army-operated brothels during World War II. Despite widespread evidence to the contrary, Japanese politicians have repeatedly denied the use of so-called "comfort women" [Amnesty International report] to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers during Japan's WWII occupations of countries like China, Korea, and the Philippines, although in 1993 Japanese leaders issued an apology [text] in 1993 for government involvement in the scandal. That apology was never ratified by the Japanese parliament.

Abe sparked outrage across Asia last week by denying that the comfort women were coerced into prostitution [JURIST report], instead maintaining that most were professional prostitutes acting voluntarily. The issue is particularly sensitive now, as the US House of Representatives considers a resolution urging Japan to formally apologize [JURIST report]. Abe has insisted that that resolution is based on biased and inaccurate information [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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