Facing questions from an opposition lawmaker Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refused to comment on the government’s position on wartime sex slaves, but he did say he feels “heart-breaking pain” when he thinks of how their human rights were violated.

“In this sense, I’m no different than all of the prime ministers of the past. I don’t think this issue should be made into a political or diplomatic problem,” Abe told a Lower House session, answering questions from Japanese Communist Party chief Kazuo Shii about the “comfort women” issue.

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