Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Japan PM to explain sex slave stance to US

From Reuters. Keep in mind, there is evidence that US troops have a pattern of committing sexual assaults in areas such as Guam where they are based, and are often not held to account because of jurisdictional agreements that heavily favor US troops. While we should all deplore Japan's denial of its soldiers' past actions, but the US is in denial as well.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's prime minister said on Tuesday he would "continue explaining" his views to U.S. lawmakers after the House of Representatives called on Tokyo to apologize for forcing thousands of women into wartime brothels.

The House approved a non-binding resolution on Monday which was intended as a symbolic statement on the Japanese government's role in forcing up to 200,000 women into sexual servitude to its soldiers before and during World War II.

When asked about the vote, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: "I need to continue explaining to the U.S. Congress my views and what the government has been doing (on this issue)".

Abe, a conservative, caused an uproar in March when he said there was no proof that the government or the military had forced the women -- mostly Asian and many Korean -- into the brothels.

But he has since apologized to the "comfort women", as they are euphemistically known in Japan, and has avoided comment on the U.S. resolution.

The vote marked a rare rebuke by U.S. politicians of Washington's closest ally in Asia, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki also gave a low-key response.

"The Prime Minister went to America in April and explained his thinking on this problem again," Shiozaki told reporters.

"It is unfortunate that the U.S. House of Representatives nonetheless passed this resolution. Our government has dealt sincerely with the problem of the comfort women."

In 1993, Japan acknowledged official involvement in setting up and managing the brothels and established a fund, which collected private donations and offered payments of about $20,000 to 285 women.

But U.S. officials have criticized recent attempts by conservative Japanese politicians to deny that Tokyo forced the women into brothels, including a Washington Post advertisement stating that the women had worked as licensed prostitutes.

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