11:42 GMT +324 September 2017
    South Korean former comfort women Kim Bok-Dong (L) and Gil Won-Ok (R), who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II, sit under a yellow umbrella during a press conference outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul on June 23, 2015

    Japan Officially Denies WWII-Era 'Comfort Women' Practice

    © AFP 2017/ JUNG YEON-JE
    Asia & Pacific
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    Japan has officially denied the forced nature of the World War II-era "comfort women" phenomenon involving Asian women becoming sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, South Korean media said Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — With the exact number of women involved in the practice still a subject of debate, most of the women were taken from countries occupied by Japan between 1932 and 1945, mainly Korea, China and the Philippines. Young women from occupied territories were recruited via abduction of deceit, according to testimonies.

    "The government of Japan has conducted a full-scale fact-finding study on the comfort women issue since the early 1990s when the issue started to be taken up as a political issue between Japan and the Republic of Korea…Forceful taking away of comfort women by the military and government authorities could not be confirmed in any of the documents," the Japanese government's statement, submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), said, Yonhap news agency reported.

    The statement comes despite the late 2015 settlement between Japan and South Korea of the "comfort women" dispute. Japan issued an apology and agreed to pay over $8 million in reparation to victims of the practice still alive, while South Korea pledged to close the issue in a final and irreversible manner.

    The recent statement, coming in reply to a CEDAW request ahead of its 63 meeting in March, appears to backtrack on Japan's apology, citing researched documents and individual testimonies including "comfort station" managers, former military staff and the the Korean Council for former Korean comfort women, the report said.


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