Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday he regrets
plans by a US House panel to vote on a resolution demanding Japan
apologizes to wartime sex slaves.
"I think it is too bad," Aso told reporters when asked to
comment on the planned vote. "The prime minister has expressed
Japan's position and we stand by that," he said.
Aso's remark came after Kyodo News agency and public broadcaster
NHK reported that the House Foreign Affairs Committee has decided
to put the resolution to a vote on June 26. The House panel will
likely pass the resolution, which will then be sent to the full
The nonbinding resolution calls for Japan to "formally
acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility in a
clear and unequivocal manner" for the women's ordeal.
"It's nonsense for the US to adopt a resolution that is based on
complete fabrication and not on fact," ruling party lawmaker
Nariaki Nakayama told a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Historians say as many as 200,000 women, mainly from Korea,
China and the Philippines, worked in Japanese military brothels in
the 1930s and '40s. Many victims say they were forced to work as
sex slaves by military authorities and were held against their
After decades of denial, the Japanese government acknowledged
its role in wartime prostitution after a historian discovered
documents showing government involvement.
However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rekindled controversy earlier
this year by saying there is no evidence the women were coerced,
apparently backtracking from the earlier apology.
(China Daily via agencies June 20, 2007 )