• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday he has no plans to review a 1993 statement that admitted the Imperial Japanese military’s role in coercing “comfort women” to work in wartime brothels.

Comfort women were forced or coerced into sexual servitude under various circumstances, including abduction, deception and poverty.

The statement that Kishida referred to in parliament was issued by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono. It also offered an apology to the women, many of whom were from the Korean Peninsula.

The remarks by Kishida, who took office in October, came amid soured relations between Japan and South Korea over wartime issues.

Kono’s statement said the women “were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc.” and “suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds.”

“Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women,” he said.

Kishida reached an agreement with South Korea in 2015, when he was foreign minister, to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the issue of the comfort women, but South Korean President Moon Jae-in has since questioned the legitimacy of the accord.

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