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Japan lawmakers demand retraction of US House 'comfort women' resolution

[JURIST] A Japanese group consisting of 13 right-wing parliamentarians and more than 200 local politicians, nationalist intellectuals and historians called on the US House of Representatives Friday to retract a proposed non-binding resolution [H Res 121 text; press release] asking Japan to formally apologize in a clear and unequivocal manner [JURIST report] for enslaving hundreds of thousands of women in East Asia and the Pacific to serve as "comfort women" [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, claiming that the resolution is based upon "wrong information" and contradicts "historical fact." The group, headed by filmmaker Satoru Mizushima, claims that the "comfort women" should not be referred to as sex slaves because the group believes they were generally compensated and therefore "business." Mizushima has in the past characterized the Nanjing Massacre [Wikipedia backgrounder] and other Japanese World War II-era atrocities as a myth propagated by China as anti-Japanese propaganda [Japan Times report].

In March, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [official website, in Japanese] denied allegations of forced sexual slavery [JURIST report], saying instead that the women were professional prostitutes paid for their services. Abe's statements echoed the sentiments of Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who made similar remarks [JURIST report] in February. Abe also later characterized the US House resolution as being "not based on objective facts" [JURIST report], but later issued a guarded apology [JURIST report], although stopping short of explicitly acknowledging the role played by the Japanese military and government in facilitating the brothels. Many Japanese nationalists have urged the Abe's government to revisit the 1993 Kono Statement [text], in which the Japanese government offered its "sincere apologies and remorse" to the victims after decades of denying official involvement. AP has more.

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