Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that he described “comfort women,” mainly Asian females who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers, as victims of “human trafficking” in a recent interview with The Washington Post.
The remarks provoked a backlash from South Korea. A South Korean official said Saturday that the remarks were a deception if Abe had been attempting to shift the blame for the forcible recruitment of the comfort women to private brokers and deny the government’s involvement.
In the interview, published Friday, the newspaper quoted Abe as saying the comfort women had been “victimized by human trafficking.” His original words in Japanese were not revealed.
During a Diet committee meeting on Monday, Abe confirmed he told the interviewer that comfort women were victims of jinshin baibai, which is usually translated as human trafficking.
“There has been a variety of discussions, and human trafficking has been cited in some discussions,” Abe said about debate on the comfort women issue.