Beijing, Mar 1: China has urged Japan to act responsibly after a senior Japanese official announced plans to re-examine a statement offering apologies for Japan’s wartime sexual slavery.
“We hope Japan can take a responsible attitude and properly handle the issue, so as to comfort the living and help the dead rest in peace,” Xinhua quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang as saying during a press briefing.
He noted the dwindling numbers of living “comfort women”, a euphemism for those forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II.
The government plans to set up a team to re-examine an official statement made by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993, said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga during a lower house session Friday.
Kono acknowledged the crime of Japanese military forcing women from countries across Asia to serve in brothels and apologised for the practice.
Qin said the sexual slavery was a grave crime against humanity by the Japanese against victimised people and countries. It brought the victims severe mental and physical traumas that are difficult to heal.
Although estimates vary, leading historians maintain that Japan’s Imperial Army forced between around 200,000 and 400,000 girls and women into sexual service in the countries it occupied during WWII, including China, Korea, the Philippines, and a number of other countries in Southeast Asia.