• Kyodo

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North Korea denounced as “self-contradictory” and hypocritical Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call at the U.N. for Pyongyang to return all Japanese nationals it abducted and for an end to sexual violence against women, pointing out that Japan itself engaged in such behavior in the past century yet remains utterly unrepentant.

“This is a cynical ploy to cover up the despicable true colors of Japan as the arch criminal which perpetrated so many abduction cases and enforced sexual slavery, and evades responsibility for redeeming its crime-woven past,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary Friday.

“By origin, Japan is a criminal state which is not entitled to talk about ‘abduction’ and ‘sexual violence,’ ” KCNA said.

Abe, in his Sept. 26 address to the 68th U.N. General Assembly in New York, demanded that North Korea “return every Japanese national it abducted” and said normalizing bilateral diplomatic relations “remains unthinkable without the resolution of this issue.”

He also condemned sexual violence against women during times of armed conflict as an “outrage” and vowed that Japan will do “everything possible” to prevent such crimes and support the victims.

KCNA called Abe’s remarks “disgusting” and dismissed them as “an unpardonable mockery and challenge to justice and human conscience,” considering Japan’s own actions before and during World War II, and especially during its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

“Japan took away more than 8.4 million innocent young and middle-aged Koreans as cannon fodder for a war of aggression and forced them to do slave labor,” the commentary said. “It, at the same time, forced 200,000 Korean women into sexual slavery for its aggressor troops, committing all sorts of sordid atrocities which made even brutes blush.

“The crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists in the past are unheard-of, monstrous crimes for which Japan should pay a thousand times.”

The commentary said Japan could have “turned over a new leaf” after the war if only it had “knelt down” before the international community, admitted its sins, apologized sincerely and made full reparations to the victims.

However, KCNA added, it is not too late for Japan to redeem itself, saying: “Japan would be well-advised to lend an ear to the (global) public criticism and refrain from making disgusting remarks, such as ‘the issue of abduction’ and ‘the rights of women.’

“It should bear in mind that its (atonement for) the past is essential for (North Korea)-Japan relations, and make a prompt and honest apology and reparation for all its past crimes — including sexual slavery.”

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