• Kyodo News


Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers said Wednesday they will step up their campaign for a rethink of the government’s 1993 apology for the sufferings of the “comfort women,” who were forced into sexual servitude for Japanese soldiers during the war.

The parliamentarian league, chaired by lawmaker Nariaki Nakayama, is seeking to rethink the statement in which then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono officially acknowledged that the Imperial Japanese Army was involved in forcing mostly Asian women into frontline brothels and apologized for their sufferings.

At Wednesday’s general assembly held at the party’s headquarters in Tokyo, the group decided to set up a panel, possibly next month, to study how the statement came to be issued and revisit the facts around the issue before producing a report and recommending a review of the statement to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the members said.

Abe made it clear before the Diet in October that he adheres to the views of previous administrations on the issue.

The group’s move comes against the backdrop of a remark made by Abe’s close ally, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura, in October that it is necessary to review the relevance of historical facts that led the government to issue the Kono statement.

South Korea expressed disappointment with the remark, and Shimomura later explained that he would study the issue personally.

The lawmakers’ group also took issue with a draft resolution that cleared a U.S. House of Representatives committee in September calling on Japan to formally acknowledge its responsibilities for the wartime acts.

The draft was “outrageously wrong in its interpretation of facts,” a group member was quoted as saying at the gathering. Another member said the draft was “very prejudiced in its contents.”

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